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One of the assignments my students do is how a doula can help when their client is diagnosed with a particular medical diagnosis.  Below is one student’s response of a great way to see what a doula can do for those who have gestational diabetes.

Knowing a client had gestational diabetes, I would want to work on helping her understand some of the possibilities that that would bring to labor, such as more monitoring than she might like.

I would encourage her to talk to her doctor ahead of time on how he/she personally prefers to handle labor and if there is any leniency if the mama was able to show control of her blood sugar prior to labor. This might give her more motivation to endure the challenge of watching her diet and exercise prior to birth.

It would be good to discuss methods of pain management while being monitored as it appears that might be more likely. I would also want to talk about how she would like to process interruptions, as I assume there would be more people coming in and out of the room during labor, or at least more frequently (but maybe everything is monitored by machine).

Having “failed” a few glucose test myself, I know there is a lot of emotions that can go with the test, especially the feeling of failing (since they used that term). Therefore, I would also like to find a way to help educate [the client] on the possible complications of diabetes without causing her to be fearful. I think it is important to help her remember that knowing the diagnosis allows her to better care for her baby. Understanding why diet and exercise are so important, and how the monitoring and tests prior to and during labor help to care for both her and baby, could help her feel like part of the team. -J.A.

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Rachel has worked as a register nurse (BSN from University of Utah) since 2004 with a work history in Labor and Delivery, NICU and Postpartum Care. She is also the founder of New Beginnings Doula Training which she organized in 2011. When she's not busy being a mother and grandmother, she can be found reading research papers related to some aspect of childbirth.

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