Evidence-based birth is so important
‘Should I hire a doula?’
I saw this question posted on a popular online mommy group a few weeks ago. A long and divided string of responses followed and a heated debate followed. We often hear about disputes when discussing breastfeeding, circumcision and co-sleeping – topics that have helped coin the famous ‘mommy wars’.
But when it comes to hiring a doula? Really? It’s not that surprising though when you think about it, as birth is such a personal matter.
The Yes and No Camps Divided
The ‘yes’ camp was very favourable and and those who had doulas did not regret their decision. Yeah, doulas! The help received most often allowed them to have positive experiences and the benefits greatly outweighed the costs.
The ‘no’ camp, however, was adamant that a doula was not necessary. Many of these women, who also experienced lovely births, believed that a doula costs too much money, the nurses do the same thing as a doula, it’s better to be just you and your partner, and my favourite, ‘Just get the epidural!’
Everyone has an opinion
When I was pregnant, many people – men and women – told me what to do. Do this. Do that. Take the epidural. Go natural. Breastfeed. Don’t breastfeed. They then proceeded to tell me the worst horror stories ever about birth! You know the ones: ‘My cousin’s wife almost died during her birth….so you should do x, y and z.’
Well, you know what? I didn’t need to hear it. Just like I didn’t need anyone telling me what to do.
Base your decisions on evidence-based information – not on others’ opinions
It’s normal to ask around for advice from family, friends, social media. But I think it’s important to remember that opinions are different than evidence-based information. ‘It was so painful, I got the epidural. Just get it as soon as you can!’ is definitely not evidence-based birth info! And unfortunately, nowadays, many people are getting their information from the wrong sources, such as friends and family, television and movies.
What to say and not to say
I have no idea if the mom who asked ‘Should I hire a doula?’ actually hired one or not, but here are my takeaways from that exchange:
If you are talking to a pregnant person:
- Don’t tell scary birth stories. Ever. You can bond over them after baby is born!
- Only give advice if it’s requested.
- Speak about what you know.
- Be respectful and don’t tell other people what to do.
- Do listen and be supportive and non-judgemental, even if you didn’t or wouldn’t make the same decisions.
If you are an expectant mom:
- Make your own decisions about your birth and don’t base them on someone else’s birth experience.
- Get informed, and then make the decisions right for you and your family.
- Walk away when people start telling you scary birth stories. (Tell them you need to pee! That’ll stop them.)
- Don’t post such questions on social media if you are looking for non-biased and evidence-based birth information.
- Listen to your intuition! You know yourself best and know what’s right for you.
Here’s to a beautiful and positive birth,
p.s. Join our growing community of parents who birth and parent with confidence! You can find us on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram and please sign up for our newsletter. Looking forward to connecting with you!