Obstetrician VS. Doula

There’s a misconception that Obstetrician VS. Doula is a battle that needs to be fought. This is a no-no.

The Obstetrician and the Doula are Both Client Focused

The most important thing to remember is that both the obstetrician and the doula work directly with their patient/client. We accomplish that in different ways. The obstetrician provides medical care to the patient. Amazing obstetricians also have a good bed side manner, are encouraging, and engage in knowing their client as best as they can. A doula does not perform medical tasks. A doula’s understanding of medical tasks is limited to understanding how a procedure is performed, all of the names by which it is known, and the potential benefits and risks. Let’s let the obstetrician do their job and focus on satisfying our own roles. It’s really not safe for you if your doula thinks she’s an obstetrician fighting super hero. I’m quite sure there are reasons the obstetrician is the one that performs the procedures.

Let The Obstetrician Do Their Job, Mind Your Own Scope of Practice, And Don’t Wage A War 

I’m a doula. I can tell you that as a doula, I trust that when I retain a client, they have researched the best doula to add to their birth team and have determined I am the best fit for their family. I trust that they have done the same process in finding an obstetrician. It is not my job to question an obstetrician! The only way that I am permitted to question an obstetrician is if I am a paying patient!  I do not like it when my clients have made a decision to hire me as their doula and then someone questions their decision. I’m not going to question your decisions, especially relating to the medical provider you have chosen to ensure the health of you and your baby.

If a doula enters a hospital room (as we do often), we are on territory that belongs to the obstetrician. Let’s not take a dump on someone else’s living room carpet. It’s not very etiquette friendly. There’s many ways that an obstetrician, a team of nurses, and a doula can work together. It starts by building bridges, being professional, and remaining client focused. We each have a job to do, and since we’re all professionals, we know how to do our jobs.

Aren’t you going to be my advocate and make my doctor do what I want?

It’s unfair to you if I fight your battles. Labor is a very intimate process that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. You need to know that you held all of your own power and made all of your own decisions. There’s a lot of worry and anxiety that goes through our minds when we’re pregnant and anticipating labor. You don’t need me to make the decisions for you, speak over you, or demand anything of you or your obstetrician. That’s gross.

The Doula Leaves Her Hangups At The Door

A professional doula leaves her personal birth stories, her hangups, and her birthing and parenting styles at the door when she comes to assist you. Your doula is supposed to be an open book of information from all angles that she provides to you so that you are informed and empowered to make your own choices. We learn these skills together in terms of how they apply to your family during our childbirth preparation classes and prebirth planning.

Let’s Build The Bridge, Not Burn It

If you and I are on the phone and you tell me you’re going to the obstetrician’s office at 9am on Monday and have three topics to discuss but you know you’ll forget, I’ll sit on the phone with you while you make the list. If pregnancy brain makes you forget the list you just said, I’ll repeat it to you for that, “Oh yeah! Thanks!” moment. But I’m not going to wear a cape or body armor to your birth. I’m going to help you bridge an open channel between you and your provider, but I’m not going to tell you what to say or influence your communication in any way.

Obstetricians Save Lives. Doulas welcome new lives.

The fact of the matter is that obstetricians have the ability to save lives. I don’t. If you need an emergency cesarean and you have consented, I’m not going to take precious moments that could save your baby’s life arguing with your obstetrician because I personally feel like cesarean birth is x,y,z. (No real feelings on the subject, just an example.)

How would you feel if I demanded something YOU DON’T WANT on your behalf?

I don’t get to have a say in your medical care. And that’s a good thing. What if you would really prefer to not have an episiotomy, I ask the doctor to do one on you under the assumption I have power over you, and he does it? Isn’t the idea of me having power over you the most terrifying thing ever?! Yeah, let’s not do that. Not only is it weird, but simple miscommunication happens in every day conversation every day. Don’t allow anyone to have your power. Don’t let someone else be your interpreter for something as important as the birth of your baby.

I’m a Five Year Doula (And Counting!)

I have no issue with women who want to become a doula. I have no issue with weekend trainings because we all have to start somewhere. However, when a doula hasn’t taken the time to really understand her career mission as a doula and is still focused on being a crusader, she ruins it for the rest of us. To really support a family, our focus needs to be on that family and not on ourselves. That is a process that takes time. We’ve all been there. The hospitals, and the obstetricians specifically, get to decide whether doulas are welcome or not. Our clients obviously want our support. We cannot provide them with the support they paid for if we are banned from a hospital because a rogue doula went on an argumentative spree. Being a doula is my career. It isn’t a hobby. It’s how I make a living. I love my career and I love my relationships with obstetricians and midwives. Please don’t go all cray. Our clients need our nonjudgmental support and the knowledge that their birth team is all on the same page.



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