"Ask me for strength and I will lend not only my hand, but also my heart."
~ Unknown

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On Ethics and Beliefs

Hello, Readers!  I realize it has been some time since we've posted to the blog.  We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are now enjoying spending joyful winter days with your family.  The following post is based upon recent concerns I have had in practice as well as in the birth profession overall.  Enjoy!

On Ethics
In September 2011, we authored a post pertaining to the distribution of product samples and coupons to our clients.  Mothers-to-be are often given samples of baby lotions, diapers, coupons for private ultrasound companies, etc. from a variety of sources including doctors offices, formula companies, and maternity stores.  We, too, have provided certain sample products to mothers in our client packages which we hand out at our initial consultations.  Our primary sources had been from companies such as Lansinoh, Medela and Seventh Generation.  We are revamping our policy on samples for the following reasons:
  1. Medela is no longer compliant with the WHO/UNICEF Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes; therefore, we cannot in good conscience distribute their product(s).
  2. While we support companies that are WHO Code Compliant, we will no longer distribute samples of their products unless requested by our clients.
  3. We feel that we have a responsibility to families to provide them with excellent care, support, and evidence-based information that is not coloured by commercial sources.
On Beliefs
Please note: The following are my personal beliefs and are not necessarily the opinions of my colleagues.

As I grow and continue to learn in my role as a doula, and through my personal life experiences, my beliefs regarding pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenting continue to evolve and become more clarified.  Therefore, I wanted to share with you what is in my heart.
  1. I believe that woman were created to birth without unnecessary interventions.
  2. I believe that women are strong.
  3. I believe that pain is subjective, yet also that fear and tension exacerbate pain.  See The Fear Tension Pain Cycle - based on the research of Dr. Grantly Dick-Read.
  4. I believe that families deserve complete evidence-based information on all potential interventions in pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding in order to make truly informed decisions.  I believe I would be remiss if I did not assist them with finding this accurate information.
  5. I believe that birth is safer and healthier for mothers and babies when medications are not used.
  6. I believe that babies are active participants in their own births.
  7. I believe that babies are born wired to be breastfed.
  8. I believe in the WHO Hierarchy of Infant Feeding Choices.
  9. I believe breastfeeding is possible for the majority of mothers and infants with knowledgeable and compassionate support.
  10. I believe birth belongs to mothers and babies, not to any caregiver or system.
  11. I believe mothers will birth in their own time.
  12. I believe babies will be born when they are ready.
  13. I respect technology and medical interventions, as they have their place in emergency situations.
  14. I believe birth is a natural process, not a medical event.
  15. I believe that I do not empower women, rather they empower themselves with strength, trust in their bodies and the process of birth, and knowledge of the benefits and risks of all of their options.
  16. I trust women!
I believe this list is not finished and that I will be continuously learning and evolving.  I am so thankful to all of the families I work with as it is they who truly teach me.

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