Skip to main content

Your Responsibility in Labor

Your Responsibility in Labor

I am bringing you my takeaway from recent births today on the blog. All of them had a layer of nature that we could not control, which is something I talk about all the time. You can control 90% of labor and birth, but that other 10% is nature. That's life, right? Those are the pieces that no matter how hard we try as humans or even medical professionals, we'll never be able to control nature. Nature will always kind of reign above us, because it's nature. We are the smaller beings when we think about nature and humans, humans actually depend on nature. Nature does not depend on humans. Nature will always have this way of playing its hand in birth. So your responsibility with that 10% is not to give up on it. Your responsibility is to know what could happen within that 10% of birth. To understand what your options are at each of those places.

When you find yourself in some of those situations, because remember it's inevitable, nature will always reveal its hand in labor. You want to feel in control and prepared. You need to do the work to educate yourself on your options, on the research, on your provider/hospital. We can help you do that work, as doulas and through The Birth Lounge Membership, but YOU have to take responsibility. You have to help carry through that preparation. So that since when. you do find yourself in a situation, you know how to respond and react.

The final piece of your responsibility in this is actually speaking up and advocating for yourself. Here's the deal: Your providers definitely have the space. There is room in birth for them to be in total control. This is oftentimes what we see in something called 'active management', where we try and actively control birth and control what happens in birth. And usually it's done under the guise of 'trying to prevent something bad from happening'. But really, if we look at birth and labor, birth is a natural thing. Birth is a very natural event. So what we actually see is when we intervene as humans, as medical professionals, as providers, we see our numbers kind of decrease in certain things. Our C-section rate is increasing. Meaning we are decreasing the number of vaginal births and vaginal births is obviously obviously the preferred birth method, because it's so much easier for the body to heal from.

Now don't get me wrong. I am SO grateful we have C-sections for those times we do need a C-section. But again, if we go back to the research (Check out Ep. 107 of The Birth Lounge Podcast!), I talk about the astronomical rate of C-sections in the US. I also cover what you, as a birthing person, can do to reduce your C-section. I chat with Dr. Neil Shaw, who is really pioneering the science on how do we use C-sections appropriately and save lives, but drastically reduced the number of unnecessary C-sections because it truly does have a soured aftermath for so many birthing people. It increases your risk of chronic pain, increases your risk of pelvic floor dysfunction, increases your risk of abdominal dysfunction, and increases your risk of infection. There's so many complications that are added on once we introduced the idea of a C-section. Your power here, your responsibility here is actually speaking up in labor. There is room for your doctor to be in control, but only if you allow them to be in control.

So let's play something out. Let's say your doctor comes in and says, 'You know what? I'm suggesting a C-section.' and it's the first time that you've heard this. And they say, 'I really think you need a C-section this is not going to happen for you'. And you're like, 'Wow, this seems kind of all of a sudden and I have questions about it. Can we have a few minutes?' And you ask for a few minutes and they come back in and they go, 'All right, let's get you prepped up for a C-section'. This is not consensual care. That is not informed consent. That's not shared decision-making. That is your provider being in control. There needs to be consideration for your birth goals, your thoughts, your questions.

I've seen this exact situation way more times than you would even believe. And there are two very distinct outcomes and the power in that totally lies in your hands. So in this moment, when you're having this immense pressure from your provider to make a decision that you're not even sure you want to make. The first place to start is to ask questions. You're gonna want to say, 'We're not sure that we want a C-section right now, we have a few questions that we would like to discuss with you'. What this does is it takes the control from your provider's hands and it stops the ball from rolling in the direction of a C-section and puts the control in your hands of asking questions until you're ready for the ball to roll. And at that point, you get to choose what path you go down.

It's hard in labor to not feel overwhelmed. It can be very hard to advocate for yourself. This is why it's extremely important to have the education and the preparation, but also to have someone there with you that can advocate for you, whether this be your partner, whether you join The Birth Lounge, whether you hire us for virtual services, or you hire us/a local doula to be present at your birth. Someone that you trust needs to be in that room. Someone who is not afraid to speak up, but can also speak to medical professionals in an educated and polite way so that you're more likely to get a provider to be open to your suggestions.

Now, I want to be extremely clear here. It is not up to your provider what happens to you. It is up to you, you get to make the decisions for your body and your baby. Of course, your medical professional is someone that you've hired. You're paying them for a service. You chose to have your baby with this practice. Or maybe even this particular doctor - so don't lose sight of that. But every now and then people do find themselves in what we call a 'bait and switch', meaning that all of your pregnancy went great. You were feeling supported and then all of a sudden, now that you're in labor, a switch has seemed to flip and your provider is not as supportive as they told you they were going to be. When you're 24 hours into labor, this bait and switch can be really hard when you find yourself in it, but you still have the power and you still have the responsibility to speak up.

You can speak up. Having discussions with your doctor and saying, 'I hear you. And I'd like to discuss my options, but I'm not sure X, Y, or Z is the right answer for me right now. I still have questions.' You can even say, 'I would like to take 20 minutes to discuss with just me and my partner. Please.' You can request a new nurse or a new doctor at any point in your labor. Please remember that nobody gets to do anything to you that you don't consent to, but it's your responsibility to set that tone, to hold that boundary, to ensure that no one does anything to your body without asking you.

That means if someone simply taps the inside of your leg in order to put in a catheter, which I have seen done before, the nurse did not even tell this patient what she was doing. You can take the control back here to say, 'Oh, I'm sorry, are you tapping my leg? Do you need to, do you need to do something?' You can be more direct and ask straight out, 'What is that? And what are you trying to do?' The control here is in your questions. The control here is understanding exactly what is being done to you before it is done to you. This is called shared decision-making. This is something that your provider should actively be engaging with you all throughout your labor. If you find that things are being done to you and they're not being explained, and consent is not being gotten, and discussion is not being had before these procedures are done- you have to do is take a pause and ask the questions. What are they doing? Why are they doing it? And are there any alternatives you might want to inquire about?

Remember that it's your responsibility as a birthing person to understand normal birth variations, common practices, and what your options are at each of those twists and turns. When you do encounter them, you can control 90% of labor. The rest of that 10% is totally up to nature. 100% out of our control. But, what we can do is be prepared to be able to respond and react no matter what comes your way in labor. This is exactly what I teach you in The Birth Lounge. If you are reading this the week it is posted- you are in luck! Our doors are open for Spring members through the first week of March! Join us here!

Also, don't miss out on our free training: How to Avoid a C-section!


  1. I am FRED and i want quickly recommend DR NCUBE for a Job well done by
    curing me from the genital herpes disease that have be giving me sleepless night. if you want to contact him, Simply do that via email or
    call/whatsapp +2348155227532
    he also have #herbs for

  2. Hello everyone, I am from Wembley, Britain. I want to write this testimony to tell others and thank Dr. Odunga for what he has done for me. The first 12 years of my marriage I had 5 miscarriages and I was called all sorts of names by my mother-in-law and this made my marriage life very hectic and a burden of sorrow. I contacted Dr. Odunga for help and I will say that he is a very strong and honest man and he indeed helped me solve my problem. I saw his email in a testimony and I contacted him, little did I know it would be the end of all my problems. After 2 days of contact, I received a fertility herb and he told me to use it. The herb worked and my husband even loved me more and bought me expensive things. One afternoon, I went to a nearby hospital and came back home with the positive result of my pregnancy and after 9 months I gave birth to a baby boy. Ever since I contacted Dr. Odunga, my story has been different. I have 3 children at present and I am very happy in my marriage. Please, contact him at odungaspelltemple@gmail. com OR Whats App him +2348167159012 to help you too


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Do Inductions Really Rise Around the Holidays?

Do Inductions Really Rise Around the Holidays? As long as I can remember in my doula career, I have been told, both seriously and sarcastically, that inductions rise around the holidays because doctors want to control the births they will have to deliver on..let’s say Thanksgiving day or Christmas Day.  I have to be honest in that I never really paid much attention to it because our team typically takes off the end of the year! It has been an intentional decision in years past to not take births in the months of December and January. This provided us with the time to disconnect, visit family and friends, and wrap up one year + dive into the next with a solid foundation. As you well know, 2020 has changed so much of what we knew and, for us, this meant not having the space to disconnect without leaving birthing people vulnerable in a global crisis and not traveling for this holidays. With this, we decided to work straight through 2020 into the start of 2021. And in this moment, the enti

Sexual Wellness with Rebecca Alvarez Part 1 of 2

Sexual Wellness Products with Rebecca Alvarez (Part 1 of 2 of our interview derived from The Birth Lounge Podcast Episode 130 ) You GUYS. I am SO excited to bring this interview to life here on the blog. Did you know that 98% of all feminine care products has at least 1 toxic ingredient? That's scary! Rebecca Alvarez earned her BA in Women’s Health & Sexuality from UC Berkeley and her MA in Sexuality Studies from San Francisco State and is the founder of The Bloomi. She is joining me to dive deep into what’s wrong with traditional sexual wellness products, how to spot harmful ingredients and false labeling, and what you need to know about long term effects of these issues in sexual wellness and women’s health! So Let's have Rebecca introduce herself! Rebecca : I consider myself a sexual wellness expert. I'm also an entrepreneur and my passion is bringing clean intimate care products to women and femmes. I'm sure we'll talk about why that's important and wha

Vagina Whispering: Everyone's Doing It

Meet The Vagina Whisperer [This is also an episode of Friday Free Talk on The Tranquility Tribe Podcast on iTunes. Listen  here .] Hey Tranquility Tribe!  I’m so excited to bring you this episode of the Tranquility Tribe podcast!  Today, Hehe talked to Sara Reardon, also known as the Vagina Whisperer.  As you may be able to guess from her nickname, Sara is an expert in all things vagina, which means that this episode is full of super essential and often understated topics! Who is the Vagina Whisperer? Sara Reardon is a physical therapist who currently practices in New Orleans.   She specializes in men and women’s pelvic floor health, and she is passionate about speaking up when it comes to treatment and prevention of pelvic health issues.   By bringing humor to the often sensitive topic of staying healthy “down there,” Sara helps to unpack countless vagina-related topics that many women have experience with but few are comfortable talking about.   In addition t