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questions from a midwife

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I'm a home birth midwife with 15 years of experience.  For the first time, one of my patients will be using a doula for her upcoming first birth.  I have a few questions for the experienced doulas here.  On average how many hours do you usually spend with a first-time mom during labor? How much of that time do you expect the midwife to be there?  Do you meet with the midwife and patient together prior to the birth?  Do you do a birthing class? How do you handle the situation where you and the midwife have some basic philosophical differences about supporting a woman in labor and birth? Any helpful suggestions for me as a midwife that would make your job easier? 

post #2 of 3

I had a doula for the first time during my fourth birth and plan on and am studying for becoming a doula when my kiddos are a bit older. A doula will be with the mother as soon as she is called upon, whether the mother is a first timer or a veteran, through the entire labor until a few hours after the birth and possibly work with the mother postpartum with housework, cooking, some baby care, and breastfeeding. How long the midwife will be there depends on how she works. For example, I had 2 of my babies at an out of hospital birthing center and the midwife only came in the room to do intermittent fetal monitoring, ask me if I needed anything, or when I called (of course). Being that you are a HOME birth midwife, I'd expect you'd be there from the time the mother decides you need to be there or you think she is in labor until a few hours after the baby is born, or however you normally do it. The doula is only a support person for the woman. She doesn't do anything medical whatsoever. You could and it probably would be best to meet with both of them together prior, talk it over with your patient first though, but it'd be a great time to figure out where each of you stands regarding birth philosophies but remember, in the end its is the mom's choice. 

post #3 of 3

It is obviously different for each first time mom but usually the doula will be asked to join the mom first although at a home birth often we doulas are called to join the same time as the midwife. How long you are expected to be there would be determined between the client and yourself since we are only there for support and have offer no medical services so we don't palpate, listen to heart tones or anything like that. I have only been to 1 meeting with a client and her midwife. Normally, we just meet for the first time at the birth. Most of us have done birthing classes if we chose to certify. It's part of our training. Since our roles are so different I feel like any difference between the midwife and I is not really an issue. I am there to do the hands on support and if the midwife tells us or we are suspecting baby to be in a bad position we can help with trying to get baby in a better position with position, rebozo, etc... We work as a team with the midwife and may offer suggestions or shoot things off of each other (not regarding medical care). My advice would be to look at the doula as extra hands. She will take care of all the little stuff so you can concentrate on the client and her baby. If for some reason you two aren't working well together I would just discuss it with her in another room away from the client/patient. Our goal is to make things smoother and for everyone to feel supported (partner included). I think you will love having a doula at this birth. Good luck!

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