Many, or even most first-time mothers are anxious or afraid of childbirth. We can certainly put this down to the way we (as a society) portray birth, and the experiences that others share with women when they’re pregnant or even before that stage in their life. From a very young age, most women are conditioned to believe that birth is a painful event where they won’t have much of a say in what happens to them and their bodies. And it’s true, many people experience labour and birth like that.
Why are doulas becoming so popular in Australia? I believe that this could be because maternity care has changed and become more medicalised hospital maternity care.
This is not an attack on midwives, but on our broken maternity care system and the shift to become obstetric-led care. Since the movement from home birth to hospital birth, the role of the midwife is changing in many hospitals across our country from “being with woman” to one that has become more clinically focussed with charting, documenting and performing clinical observations and this is where doulas are being hired by women to give them that non-medical support and continuity of care.
Written by Odile Chaperon
Scenario: You have been in the birth suite for 6 hours during labour and your obstetrician has been coming in and out regularly during the last hour to check progress. He has indicated that things are not progressing as quickly as he would like and has suggested augmenting labour with syntocinon. Each time the obstetrician comes in you become anxious, stress and immediately begin to doubt your ability to birth. So, what support can a doula offer you?