As a nurse and a doula, medical inductions for non-medical reasons are at the top of my list of things that make me cringe. In the birthing community, I have seen the concern growing with others also. More and more, research has been coming out to show some of the problems associated with it. What I have seen in response, though, is a trend towards trying to use more natural methods of induction, including more doulas advocating or being a part of the natural inductions. I am not making a list here of all the ways to induce someone naturally, but rather exploring what role, if any, a doula can or should have with a natural induction.
First off, we all know that doulas do not provide a medical diagnosis or interventions. That means that a doula should not tell a client that they need an induction or don’t need one for medical reasons. That’s pretty straight cut when it comes to using pitocin for induction, but it becomes more gray when we are talking about natural induction methods. From my point of view, doing anything with the intent to cause labor to start before the body is ready is medical and thus outside the realm of what a doula should do. This goes for anytime the topic of induction comes up, even if the doula feels the method is safe, or if her client wants to avoid a medical induction.
So what does a doula do? Well, the same thing she would do with anything. She presents her client with data, resources, options, perhaps even suggest a second opinion from a medical provider. A doula can provide her client with research she has found, discuss what the client’s care providers talked to them about, and make sure that her client is fully informed about the pros and cons of different natural induction methods. In essence, she provides information and then allow her client to make a choice. After that choice is made, a doula provides non-medical support and continues to facilitate communication between her client and the client’s care provider.
For more information on doulas and natural induction methods, check out these other posts: