Friday, January 12, 2007

Bad Press for Doulas: this time from Canada

Another article emphasizing the potential for conflict between doulas and hospital staff. Fortunately it's not one-sided. In fact, it explores the gray area in which doulas work. Nonetheless, there are some clear boundaries for doula care. Adherence to policies like the DONA Code of Ethics will help keep doulas a welcome part of births. Unlike this doula from the above article:

Jacquie Munro, who has been working as a doula for 19 years in Vancouver, once spoke to a doctor standing outside of a delivery room who was in tears. "She said, 'Do you know the doula who is in there?' I said, 'No sorry, I don't.' And she said, 'Well you have to go in there because she just asked if I was old enough to have a medical degree and said her client was not going to agree to a Caesarean, but the baby is doing so poorly, we have no other option.' I said, 'I can't go in, but you go in there and ask the woman what she really wants.' "

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4 Comments:

Blogger mm said...

ugh... what a horrible article.
The gal who car pools with my husband told her ob that she was writing a birth plan.
The ob's response.
"Oh. Well, next you are going to tell me that you are going to have a doula too!".
-not in a friendly fashion either.
So she has decided that obviously doula's are only for homebirthing freaks like our family...
My bet for an iotrogenic c/s has just solidified.
We don't read the National Post, so thanks for bringing this up. I might have missed it!
K
congratulations on all the clients!!!

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the National Post article. While it isn't exactly flattering, it makes it very clear that the problem really only exists when doulas cross the medical boundary line and/or speak for their clients. I am very thankful for DONA's well thought out code of ethics and standards of practice. I know that being a DONA doula results in being a different kind of doula - different enough that nurses asked me "what I was" and when I told them I was a (DONA birth) doula they were astounded, because they had never seen a doula like me before (and since it was an epidural birth I wasn't even super 'active'). I'll be keeping my ears open for reactions to this article.

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Susan Martensen said...

As a follow up to your post on the National Post article in Canada, we did manage to get a response from DONA published in the letters section.

Section Letters

Page A17

Source National Post

Byline Susan Martensen

Outlet National Post

Date Wednesday 10 January 2007

Headline Doulas and doctors, working together

Re: Aggravated At Birth, Jan. 4.

Doulas and medical care providers both aim to support women giving birth. Finding the way to complement each other's services is the only way to support women in labour. We might all consider our part in creating a supportive environment for birthing women through the following measures:

- Doctors, midwives and nurses should consider the significant body of research bearing evidence that doulas' continuous emotional, informational and physical support offers clear benefits and no known risks to labouring women and their babies. When a doula attends to a labouring woman's emotional needs, some obstetric outcomes are improved.

- Doulas should comprehend their appropriate role in the birthing room and uphold the highest ethical and professional standards. DONA International, the largest professional association of doulas in the world, advocates a standard of practice that restricts members from performing clinical tasks, diagnosing medical conditions and offering medical advice. The doula's goal is to help produce a safe and satisfying birth, as defined by the birthing woman. She should not impose her own philosophy of birth on her clients.

Susan Martensen, president, DONA International, Ottawa.

10:20 AM  
Anonymous naomi dagen bloom said...

here's some good press. my daughterinlaw just had a wonderful experience in new york city. her doula was in the hospital room with her for 19 hours and very much appreciated. you can see mom and child right after the birth on my blog.

this is the third good doula experience in our family; other two were portland, oregon.

10:42 PM  

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