Informed Decisions... They are yours to make!

As I sit here today working on my next childbirth education class, I keep thinking about how parents don't know that they have a choice about who their care provider is. That they don't know that they have a choice of where they have their baby. That they don't have a choice other than to follow the protocol of their care provider. They don't know that they have options. And to me.. that's sad! A lot of parents state that when they have attended childbirth education classes "I didn't learn anything." They say that it was a "waste of time." I, myself, attended classes with my first child, and I would have to agree. I didn't learn anything that was helpful and that is saying a lot considering the fact that I had no clue about labor and delivery back then. I think that it is wonderful that some insurance plans will cover a class if it is offered by a hospital or doctor's office but, are they really helpful? Do they really teach what is needed? Do they allow the parents to make an informed decision on how they want their birth to go? In my opinion, it is the goal of the educator to provide their clients with a full range of FACTS so that the parents can make a true informed decision. Parents need to be informed about hospital policies, midwife practices, and labor support that is offered to them. They need to have a list prepared to give to clients that has local support that is offered in their area. I also belive that OBG-YN offices should have a standard paper that they hand out to every parent about the pregnancy, labor & delivery options that are offered in their area, not just what is offered in their practice even if that means that they lose the client. How can we expect better labor and delivery outcomes if it is only 1 sided? When I am being interviewd by a client for the services that I provide, I make sure that I inform them that they have a choice of whom they choose as their Doula, their Childbirth Educator, etc. I feel that a client has the right to choose from a list of providers to see which one fits best for their family. I even provide the first interview free of charge just in case they want to choose another caregiver. There are many parents or soon to be parents that do not know they they have a choice. They feel that even if they don't like their provider that they have now, they are stuck with that provider. They often choose a provider who accepts their insurance and then never leave even if they have a bad "vibe" with the provider. I say, get a list of local providers that are approved by your insurance and interview each one of them. Find out their policies, find out where they have hospital privileges, find out if they allow the laboring mother to move around without restrictions (if there are no known health issues). Go into your appointments with a list of questions and interview the provider just like you would interview a person for a job. You wouldn't have someone work on your car if you felt they were not qualified or if you didn't trust them would you? Why should this be any different? This is one of the biggest milestones in your life... don't hire your provider because you feel obligated to them. You hire them because you like them! If you don't like them, find a new one! It's the same with a Doula, interview many different Doulas. Don't base your choice because of the fee's. The Doula with the lower fee's might not provide the same services that the Doula with the higher fee's would. Likewise, a Doula with the higher fee might be setting their fees too high and the Doula with the lower fee, might be setting their fee's too low. Ask for references, ask ahout their experience, ask where they were trained, ask about their policies. Again, you are hiring them... make sure you hire the one that fits you and your needs. Don't base your decision on worry that you'll hurt their feelings. Sometimes personalities just don't match and that's okay. I have always told my clients to interview as many Doulas as they want, then make an informed decision based upon how they feel about the Doula.

Educate yourself.. read about pregnancy, labor and delivery. Read books and articles with different opinoins or views and then base your opinion on how you feel about it. Learn the facts, don't just read one book or one article, read many. Ask questions! Be infomed! You have a choice! You are not just a number or another pregnant lady... You are a person... A person that has an opinion... A person that has the right to decide on what they feel is right for them.