Can I have some advice from doulas or midwives who have been in the field longer? When do you call it quits and call the back-up? What are the signs (besides fever and being crucially ill)?
Last winter, for instance, I had a pretty bad respiratory flu with a cough. First, I just laid around for a few days, pumping the vitamins and herbs, resting up since I had people due soon. When the births came a few days later, I felt much better but still had a bit of a cough. So I made sure to keep tissue on hand--when I felt a coughing bout coming on, I would grab tissue and try to get out of the birth room before coughing (at least as far from mom as I could). Cough into the tissue, then wash hands. I also brought extra clothes, changing them more often than usual.
I had 3 births in 30 hours...neither moms nor babies got sick. But again, I was feeling much better, no fever, cough was present but reduced by then. No way I would have felt ok going to those births during those days I lay on the couch sipping soup and ginger tea, coughing a lot, low fever, otherwise fatiqued!
Without a fever or other obvious signs of illness such as diarhhea, I would still go to a birth. Have done so--when feeling like I may be coming down w/something, or just getting over something. In this case, I make sure to take excellent care of myself during the birth (resting when possible, eating right, using supplements/herbs if called for). I also do a LOT of hand washing, and just try to be extra super mindful about germ transmission...more than usual!
Michelle married to my highschool sweetheart and mom to: DD '88, DS '90, DD '91, DD '94, DD '97, DD '98, DD '01, DD '08, and DS'09
(Non-profit Organization Director and Program Coordinator / Doula / Educator / Massage Therapist)
Missionary, birth-worker, midwifery student
Mama to DD (9yr), DS (3yr), & UC twin DDs (5yr)
If I felt like I was coming down with something, other than like a small cough, I would probably let mom know asap and let her know what state I was in, and give her the choice if she would like to call backup. Let her know I am willing and able, but that I understand if she would prefer me not there.
Doula mama, medic daddy and Tenley Harper born naturally 11/29/11
What I wonder about is whether or not to share with a mom if I am feeling a little under the weather and then ask her whether or not she feels comfortable having me be there. I wonder if it is a decision I should make or do I put the decision in her hands. I haven't been presented with this situation yet but it was really on my mind when I was very sick in April and on call. There was a stretch of about a week when there was NO WAY (i.e. I was the sickest I've ever been in my whole life) I would have been able to attend a birth, but then there was just a lingering cough and I kept wondering if I got called then, what I would say to the mother. Fortunately when it was time to go to this birth I didn't even cough once and I felt 99% better. Again, I'm not sure if I should be asking the mom to make that decision or not. Hmmmm . . .
CD(DONA) and Birthing From Within Mentor and Birth Doula
the other stuff I would stay clear of attending births if you know you are exposed to something that is contagious before fever and you are not immune- like chicken pox
I have gone with migraines and mild toothaches, allergies- but I also work with others so one of us can be resting while the other is paying closer attention that is often just enough break to perkup more and do what you can.
What I wonder about is whether or not to share with a mom if I am feeling a little under the weather and then ask her whether or not she feels comfortable having me be there. I wonder if it is a decision I should make or do I put the decision in her hands.
I always tell my client if I am even the slightest bit ill, and offer them the option that I am still happy to come (if I'm really feeling up to it, no fever, diarrhea, etc.), or I can call a back-up if they would prefer. At the mom's request, I have attended a birth with a minor cold before, just dosed up on decongestant and kept good track of hand washing. But it was rightfully the mom's decision. I would not go to a birth if I was coughing.