Will a doula prevent me from receiving pain medication?
A doula does not make medical decisions for you. She will suggest techniques that can help you or give you information you need in order to make a medical decision. The final choices are entirely yours, this is YOUR birth experience. Should you choose to receive an analgesic or anesthetic during the course of your labor, she can still support you and your partner in other ways. Having an epidural does not change the fact that you are still in labor and still need support, both physically and emotionally. For examples, she can massage your feet or hands, help you to relax or sleep with music and guided imagery or adjust your labor environment to suit you (light, temperature, sound, etc.). As with all medications, those administered in the course of labor have side effects to both mother and baby. If you wish to avoid medications, your doula will certainly help you do that. Again, the choice is yours alone.
Delivering a baby is the hardest physical and emotional work you will ever do in your life. A doula understands this and recognizes a mother's vulnerability at this time. Whenever you are unsure, she will give you the options that are available to you, so that you can be in control of your birth experience. Every mother is different, every birth, every baby, every circumstance. If you feel in control of your experience you are more likely to feel satisfied with it and be empowered by it.
© Karen N. Kilson