So maybe I'm crazy, but things that are "different" interest me. Things that, when mentioned, make people scrunch up their faces and look at you like you're crazy just for knowing it exists. Even crazier, I love researching things. Nerd status, I know.
My latest wacky, self-assigned research project is this: Dolphin Midwives. Let that sink in... Picture it in your mind... Dwell on it a bit... Feel free to scrunch up your face and look at me like I'm crazy... Done? Good, let's dive in.
First, we dissect the idea:
1) Water birth is not an uncommon idea, and has been around for quite some time. It makes sense, and isn't something I question.
2) I love dolphins. A lot. How could you not? Dolphin therapy is something that, though I have been aware of it, I never put a lot of thought into. I always just put it next to equine therapy in my mind and left it at that. It's a controversial idea (isn't everything?) that hasn't really had any long term success recorded. There is no denying that dolphins make people happy. They are right up there with cuddly puppies, bunny rabbits, and babies. They just make you smile and, in small doses, are remarkably relaxing. Also, dolphins have shown a tendency to be drawn to pregnant women over other humans. No one really knows why, but it's been recorded on several occasions.
Now put the two together. Water birth + dolphin therapy. One thing that we know works, and another that is still up in the air, but looking like it'll land in the Pessimistic Ocean.
Plus, we have to think about the effects that salt water could have on mom and baby, if any. The possibilities of infection from water that hasn't been treated or from the animal itself. And we must remember that though they do seem to love people, especially pregnant women, dolphins are still, and always will be, wild animals.
Dolphin Midwifery is a hard thing to research, when Googling it, I just came across blog after blog of some pretty hardcore hippies. Then I found this article from Seattle Times about gynecologist Dr. Gowri Motha. You may have read her books The Gentle Birthing Method, or The Gentle First Year. In the article she is quoted as follows: "We hope to make these children more in tune with nature, more in tune with the environment and able to communicate with other mammals who are as intelligent as we are." Dr. Gowri Motha said. The intent, she said, is to make birth "a joyous event rather than a technological event."
I totally agree with having a goal of making birth being a joyous event. I think it should be, I wouldn't be here otherwise, I'm just not sure if this is the way to go about it. And let's be honest, do you really want your baby coming out speaking dolphin?
Research and data haven't proven anything to me that make me say this is the way to go. Is it a cool idea? Absolutely. I would love to be able to tell my future kids that they were born with dolphins, but I think it'd be more worthwhile to take them swimming with the dolphins once they are old enough. (Hint, hint, Mom and Dad)
Conclusion: You are absolutely right to scrunch up your face at the idea. It is face scrunching worthy. I do wish the research had proven positive, but I think we would be hearing about it a lot more often if the idea had proven of any worth. It also goes to show that research is good. The trends come and go, but the facts will stand true forever
Feel free to watch the video that brought up the idea in the first place:
~ Emily Bull
There is great excitement when meeting a new family and it is awesome beyond words to be present when their baby enters this world. But the BIGGEST reason we work as doulas comes down to what we know (and wish every expectant mother knew) - If an expectant mother has a doula, statistically she will have*:
50% reduction in rate of c-section
25% shorter labor
60% reduction in epidural requests
40% reduction in oxytocin use
30% reduction in analgesia use
40% reduction in forceps delivery
Why is this important and what does it mean? It means there is a significantly decreased chance that either mom or baby have complications, they get to go home sooner, the risk of postpartum blues or depression is significantly decreased, and mom feels that she had more control of and is more satisfied with her birth experience. This is important because complications from labor and delivery can have lasting negative effects on mother, baby, and future births. It is also important because women remember and reflect on their birth experiences through their entire lives. This colossal event can cause lasting positive or negative effects.
What we want to shout from the rooftops is that "There is a super effective, simple, and proven way to help ensure a better birth experience and labor outcome." It's not magic, or voodoo, or even crunchy alternative thinking. It's a scientifically proven, educated, non-invasive, and time-tested practice that makes sense for every mom in EVERY birth situation. You are not excluded from the benefits of having a doula if you plan a hospital birth over one at home or a birth center. The benefits still apply to you if you are planning an epidural or other narcotic pain relief. If this is your second birth, third birth, fourth birth...you get the idea - the benefits of having a doula still apply to you and your baby! If you are expecting, trying, or even plan to have kids one day in the future, take the time to educate yourself about what a doula is and how having one is the best gift you can give yourself to help you through pregnancy, labor, delivery, and the early days of parenthood.
You may say I’m biased, spinning the statistics and reports to favor the practice in which I work. I would be lying if I told you I don’t have a vested interest in more women hiring doulas. We are doulas and more women hiring doulas would logically increase our demand and ultimately our bottom line. But as you delve into the information you will see there are many scientific studies that confirm the benefits of having continuous support from a doula during birth. You will also find that there are some doulas who offer discounted rates while they are in the process of attending their first births in order to be certified by the organization through which they received their training. There are also doulas that provide discounted services for those with spouses in the military, young mothers, or families that lack the financial resources to pay the full rate.
Whatever your objections to having a doula, I encourage you to take the time to research the benefits. If you believe the statistics you find, please take the time to interview multiple doulas, find one that best suits your personality and desires, and look for one that is offering discounted fees or free services if necessary. There is no way to guarantee that your birth will go exactly as you imagine, but you can certainly stack the deck in your favor. Think about it, take action, and then tell other moms-to-be so they can benefit from your experience and knowledge.
By: Stephanie Roberts
(DONA), and Certified Childbirth Educator (ACBE)
Graduate Nurse, Birth Doula
*Information from "Mothering the Mother: How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter Easier and
Healthier Birth", Klaus, Kennell, and Klaus