Saturday, April 18, 2015

Volume 2, Issue 3 - April 2015

Dear CBI Students,

What has been inspiring you lately?  As I wrap up my second term in my first year of midwifery school, I am finding that I need a lot of inspiration to motivate me to keep working toward my goals.  One of my inspirations to continue this work is seeing the world-wide caesarean statistics.  Did you know that April is caesarean awareness month?  What is the rate of caesareans where you live?  Do you feel that that rate is an accurate portrayal of how many women in your community need a caesarean?  What do you feel is driving the rate either up or down in your area?

As birth doulas, how can you help prevent caesareans, and how can you support a client through a surgical birth?  As postpartum doulas, what are some special techniques you might employ to help your caesarean-recovery clients?  As breastfeeding counselors, what are some of the effects a caesarean birth can have on the breastfeeding relationship, and how might you help that relationship?

The work you are doing makes a difference!  Studies show that continuous labour support significantly reduces the rate of caesarean delivery.  Women state that postpartum doulas significantly improve their post-cesarean emotional and physical recovery process.  Studies show that when women are supported in their breastfeeding attempts post-caesarean, they have long-term breastfeeding rates on par with their vaginal birth counterparts.  See how much difference this support makes?  Keep up the amazing work, birth workers!


 One of the biggest reasons I hear women become doulas is so that they can advocate for their clients.  Perhaps you had a beautiful birth experience and you hope to help other women experience the same thing you did.  Perhaps you had a rough birth experience and hope to save women from the same.  Either way, often times it's big feelings that drive women into this profession.  
While the idea of speaking up for our clients or empowering our clients is common in doulas as they start out, I would love to see you grow into a better understanding of your role in your client's experience.  The bulk of advocacy as a doula is best done in the prenatal time as you use your active listening skills to hear what your client really desires for her birth.  It is done as you help her explore her options and help her gather information on her choices.  Advocacy is walking a client through situations and practicing with her to enable her to speak up herself and use her voice. Advocacy is asking her in the labour room if she feels she has all of the information she needs to make a decision.

In the Communication Skills manual, it states that "enabling clients to make choices on their own is empowering and teaches them a skill that they can use in the future in many other situations.  Although it is tempting to want to 'guide' the process, this draws power away from the client -- it is the opposite of empowerment!" (pg. 75).

Megan Hendrickson, in her final communications paper, wrote so eloquently how CBI sees our work in advocacy and empowerment, I feel I need to share it with all of you:
"I no longer see it as my responsibility to empower women - but instead to help encourage them to find their own power that they've had all along.  I don't view myself as an advocate for my client - but rather as a support and reminder to advocate for herself.  I don't want to find myself in a position of authority or to be viewed as a hero - I want to serve women as they find authority within themselves and come out of their births inspired by their own strength and heroism and confident in their bodies and themselves." 
  In the visual above you see two people holding up another person who is speaking.  Where do you see the doula in that pyramid.  Is she on the bottom supporting the client as she speaks, or is she using the client as a stepping stool to voice her opinions?

In February, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), in collaboration with the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) published a paper in support of delayed cord clamping at birth.
"The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that for healthy women at term the cord is not clamped in the first 60 seconds and that it should be clamped before five minutes, although women should be supported if they wish this to be delayed further."
To read what they've found to be the benefits and risks of cord clamping, read here.


We are so glad that you have joined us on your journey

  • Jennifer G., Arizona, USA - Birth Doula, Postpartum Doula, Breastfeeding Counselor
  • Hannah R., Victoria, AUS - Birth Doula
  • Elanor D., NSW, AUS - Birth Doula
  • Marlee M., California, USA - Birth Doula, Postpartum Doula, Breastfeeding Counselor
  • Charla G., South Carolina, USA - Postpartum Doula
  • Lucie K., California, USA - Birth Doula
  • Radhika P., Ontario, Canada - Postpartum Doula, Breastfeeding Counselor
  • Rachael B., California, USA - Birth Doula

We wish you much love and success in your endeavors

  • Heather B., Louisiana, USA - Certified Birth Doula
  • Paige D., California, USA - Certified Birth Doula
  • Cathee J., Hong Kong - Certified Birth Doula