As a doula, you’re with your woman. She’s in labour. This one is a home birth. Everything appears to be going as planned.
Mum is happy, dad is happy.
You’re waiting for the midwife to arrive but you don’t know who it’s going to be.
Mum is hoping that it’s the really, really nice one she met at an appointment once but she doesn’t know for sure.
There’s the element of unknown.
Continuity of care in this trust is not yet provided.
Behind the scenes, some of the midwives comment they aren’t that keen to come out to this one. On the board in the office, the words ‘doula’ in brackets make one or two feel uneasy.
The words are right next to the woman’s name:
Jane Doe (DOULA)
There’s that element of unknown again. They haven’t worked with a doula before and may not know what to expect. Perhaps they may think the doula is there to take over?
She isn’t. She may be there to provide reassurance, a familiar face who has got to know her over time and understands her view. She may be there to support dad to support mum or look after the dog. She may be there to assert the woman’s choices and to advocate for her when she’s at her most vulnerable. In fact, there can be many, many reasons why someone would want a birth doula. But she isn’t there to take over.
One or two of the midwives are really excited to work with this woman and her doula. They know that having a doula there; someone who has got to know the woman and her wishes, knows about birth and isn’t going to panic has clinically meaningful benefits; increased chance of spontaneous vaginal delivery, less need for pain relief and reduced risk of instrumental delivery to name but a few.
If the midwife and doula are able to form a great relationship from the off this makes for a better environment. There will be more oxytocin; more love in the room.
And I LOVE love!
So, with more love in the room than the last dance at a school disco, mum will have a better chance at being able to focus on what she needs to do and concentrate on birthing her baby. There will be no weird vibes to consciously or unconsciously process. She can just do her thing.
So here are 6 things that might make for a great midwife/ doula relationship:
1. Visualise a great working relationship; you guys are going to be instant best friends!
2. First impressions count: show massive love and gratitude especially at that first introduction
3. Be open to the idea that you are going to work in perfect harmony; you are all there for different reasons
4. The woman may be really clear about what she wants and what she doesn’t; be really clear to follow her birth preferences and respect her wishes
5. Be mindful: be in the moment; stay centred, whole and grounded; breathe and smile
6. Arrange a local doula/ midwife introduction, preferably with cake; it’s always nice to work with a familiar face
Sharing best practice, working in seamless harmony and creating environments where women are given the very best chances to get the birth they want will always produce better outcomes.
And if you have any more tips and tricks or comments for creating a doula midwife dream team… do post them down below:-)