Sunday, February 13, 2011

Considering a Doula? This Should Solidify Your Decision

Several bloggers discuss the new Lifetime show "One Born Every Minute." I didn't get a chance to view the episode they are referring to, but reading about it really got my blood boiling. 

Gina at the Feminist Breeder got the ball rolling with her post Lifetime TV Shows Us There’s One (Unnecessary Intervention) Born Every Minute.
She goes through the outrageous things that happened in the show, which, admittedly, was edited for the most outrageous content. The show perpetuates all the ideas that the media do these days about childbirth, and its no huge surprise that birth advocates would watch a show like this (like A Baby Story) and yell and shake fists at the screen. But the thing that really got a lot of people angry was the way they portrayed a couple that was informed about evidence-based medicine, wanted a low-intervention birth, and brought a doula. From TFB:
Mom/Dad/Doula are all chanting “open, open, open” during her pressure waves.  The nurse has NEVER seen anything like this and wants to know what they’re doing.  Then we see the rest of the staff looking visibly annoyed because they can hear the mom vocalizing her labor.  This is NOT the WAY they like doing labors here, and they make sure she knows it. But the mom is changing positions and using a birth ball, and working hard with her team to keep her labor going the way she wants it.  The nurse then suggests that the mother lay on her back, and the doula responds that the mother preferred being upright.  The mother agrees that she prefers to be upright, and the nurse gets an attitude.  The nurse goes back to her station and complains incessantly about the doula getting on her nerves and preventing her from “managing” the mother’s labor.
Gina writes that everything in this show "is 100% REAL LIFE, and the things happening on that show are absolutely representative of what’s going on in EVERY labor and delivery unit where the staff and providers do not practice evidence-based medicine or the midwifery model of care."



Then Public Health Doula wrote a commentary about Gina's post and the show, which can be seen here: 100% real life, as seen by doulas
In this post she includes content from a follow-up post that Gina included with more information about the interactions between the only couple on the show who brought a doula and practiced evidence-based medicine... which caused their nurse to get very upset with them.  There is also a video, and PHDoula writes, "In a follow-up post, Gina has a clip of one of their interactions with said nurse - or more accurately, their doula's interactions with the nurse. If you are planning to give birth in a hospital setting you suspect or know will be hostile to an unmedicated, low-intervention labor, you need to watch this."
And if you click through to Gina's follow-up post, you will see that she had an interview with the mother from the show, who talks about how wonderful her doula was despite the hostility she had to deal with.

Kristen at Birthing Beautiful Ideas also writes a wonderful post about this show called Dear Lifetime: It’s not Weird, it’s Normal
In this post, Kristen writes out the "behaviors and choices that are, in my opinion, completely normal during labor. But "One Born Every Minute's" producers would have you thinking that they are a) abnormal, b) cah-RAZY, and/or c) worth of finger-pointing, eye-rolling, and general balls-to-the-wall mocking." Its a great read!


And Danielle at Momotics wrote about how the show really does perpetuate ideas that the couple "defying" the nurse by bringing a doula and being in the shower instead of the bed and refusing vaginal checks was really totally crazy, because women on mommy forums really are saying things like "The hippy couple drove me nuts" and "I was upset for the couple who seemed to have it out for the nurse the whole time." Read Danielle's post Normal? What is Normal in Childbirth? for more. 

This is all an excellent portrayal of the state of maternity care and the ideas our culture perpetuates about childbirth. If you plan to give birth with wishes of low-intervention, full social support and evidence-based practice, BRING A DOULA.

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