How my doula certification course teaches normal labor

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In my course, I teach a different model of  labor than the one that is taught almost every where else.  It has been my experience that the stages model of labor is not based on good theory or research and does not accurately describe how labor truly works.

Instead, I present a different model of labor.  I’ve outlined the major differences below.  So, while I may still refer to stages in posts, I do so only because it is how labor is understood by most women and care providers.  I do not, however, believe it is an accurate way to describe labor.

Stages of Labor

Labor contains distinct stages.

“True” labor is defined by cervical dilation.

Labor is characterized by a steady increase in

dilation.

Labor and birth can be predicted by how far

dilated a mother is and how often they are

contracting.

Your body should follow the curve regardless of

emotional aspects.

Cervical dilation gives you the ability to

determine when a woman should deliver.

A pathologic labor is one in which it is not

dilating at a specific speed.

All women follow the same pattern.

 Progressive Model of Labor

Labor has very indistinct starts and stops.

Cervical dilation is only one of the signs of

progression.

Labor is characterized by plateaus and hills of

progress.

Labor and birth are unpredictable

Emotional aspects play a role in the ability to

progress.

Specific signs (including cervical dilation) are an

indicator of progress, though cannot determine the

length of labor.

A pathologic labor is one in which either mother

or baby is in distress.

Each woman has a unique labor pattern.

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One Response

  1. Janessa
    | Reply

    This is great, I truly appreciate this distinction!

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