How to Choose Your Birth Team
During every BIG life changing experience it is good to have a support team. Sometimes these teams can be a large group of people cheering you on at the end of a Triathlon or there are other times like when you birth your children that you may want a smaller more intimate team.
Having support is a major component of a healthy and enjoyable pregnancy, labor, and birth. Selecting the right birth team for yourself will be the start of a great foundation for your journey. Selecting a birth team may sound like an easy/simple task to do, but it can take quite a bit of time and effort to find the perfect team. What is right for your friends and co-workers may not be right for you. The most important thing to remember this is YOUR TEAM and you need to feel 100% confident that they are their to support you how you wish to be supported.
What to Consider Before Selecting Your Team Members
What type of birth do you envision having?
Where do you plan on giving birth? (Home, Birth Center, or at a Hospital)
What are your local options?
Who do you want in the delivery room?
Once you answer these questions you will have a better idea of your vision for your birth and you will be able to narrow down who all you want on your team. I would suggest interviewing multiple birth professionals before making your final decision and know it is NEVER too late to change if your decide they are not working out for some reason in the future. Tour different facilities so you know if they have the right feeling you are looking for for your birth. Ask questions! No one in the birth industry should make you feel uneducated, unintelligent, or uncared for – so ask all of the questions you want. If they are not given suitable answers, move on to your next option.
Birth Team Members
Having your husband/partner, extended family, and friends in the delivery room can be a great experience as long as they provide you with a positive-stress free environment. If this is not the case you have every right to not invite them into this intimate space.
Additional Team Members to Consider
Doula: A doula does not replace your husband/partner or other main support person. A doula can aid in every birth situation, no matter the environment or birth style you choose. She gives support emotionally, mentally, and physically. She can calm you through relaxation techniques, movements, and positions. Having a well-educated doula is like have a really good guide to direct you through all things related to pregnancy, labor, birth, and beyond. She is comforting to both the laboring mother and the partner, ensuring that the partner has an active role in the birth. She will encourage your to advocate for yourself throughout labor. A doula is not a medical professional. She cannot diagnose or give medical advice. She also cannot legally deliver your baby. That being said, research greatly supports having a doula present at your birth. It has been proven that births with a doula present has:
50% less chance of an unnecessary c-section 25% shorter labor time
60% less chance of an unplanned epidural
30% less chance in needed an instrumental-assisted delivery
40% less chance of needing Pitocin
Obstetricians: The most common choice; an OB/GYN is taught and trained to focus on and find problems that may arise in pregnancy. They are surgeons and can handle cesarean sections of other not-normal pregnancy issues. Insurance is more likely to cover an OB/GYN over other birth care providers, and many couples feel safer being under their eye and in a hospital setting.
Certified Nurse Midwife: A certified nurse with extended study in midwifery care. Typically, a CNM works in a hospital setting and alongside an OB/GYN, but not always. All midwives are trained to support and aid pregnancies as a normal and natural part of life, instead of treating problems.
Certified Professional Midwife: A CPM handles normal, healthy pregnancies outside of a hospital, at free-standing birth centers and home births. She practices based on the Midwifery Model of Care. CPMs carry a small client load and provide a very personal and attentive relationship. They support, guide, and educate women to make informed decisions, and provide little medical intervention to pregnancy, labor, and birth.
Midwife Assistant: Attending the birth, a MA provides assistance to the midwife.
Optional Team Members
While these team members may not attend your birth, they are great to add to your lineup. They can play a significant role throughout pregnancy and labor – and after:
Pelvic Floor Specialist
Choosing your birth team wisely is very important and it will have a big impact of how your birth plays out. Your birth team has the responsibility to follow your wishes. Remember it is legally required that all details be presented to you for the best choices to be made. If you do not agree with something, your birth team legally must respect your wishes.
While there is still about 98% of women birthing in hospitals, more and more are choosing to give birth outside of a hospital setting. It is important that you know that you can make changes to your birth team at any point of your pregnancy. If you are not feeling supported or change your views, you may switch providers without feeling any guilt.
This is YOUR pregnancy and YOUR birth, and YOUR TEAM is working for YOU.
If you are considering adding a doula to your team please contact me for a Free Consultation.