Ouch. It’s difficult to not take this letter personally. Patients of Kingsdale Gynecologic Associates (in Columbus Ohio) received a copy of this letter recently.
The team at Kingsdale Gynecologic Associates is so pleased that you are expecting. We look forward to helping you enjoy your pregnancy and hope to provide a meaningful and safe birthing experience.
Because of concerns for increased risk to you or your baby, the doctors at KGA have made a thoughtful, unanimous decision not to allow doulas to participate in the birthing process. It has been our experience that they may serve to create a state of confusion and tension in the delivery room, which may compromise our ability to provide the safest delivery situation possible for you and your baby.
Again, with safety in mind, we have created a Kingsdale Birth Plan (which can be viewed in the obstetric packet provided at your initial visit), outlining the philosophy of our doctors with regard to labor and delivery. It is our opinion that other birth plans are unnecessary. We feel that our many years of obstetric experience in a setting of modern day challenges (larger babies, more difficult deliveries) enable us to provide sound judgment with regard to each woman’s particular needs during her course of labor.
Thank you for your understanding in our hopes of facilitating a safe pregnancy and birth process.
Kudos to the docs over at KGA for their blatant honesty. They do not want doulas present when they are delivering their clients of their babies. So let’s have some honesty equaling their honesty. It does not benefit doctors for their patients to have knowledge of the research that doulas can provide to their clients about common interventions. My role as a DONA doula is not to create tension or confusion in a labor room. It is to provide well-researched evidence for couples that must make decisions about their child’s birth. My role is to provide emotional support as well as help my client with comfort measures. My role is not to speak on my clien’ts behalf to medical staff. So where does tension come from? Doctors who don’t practice evidence-based medicine vs. doulas who provide evidence and research. This is not to say that there may not have been a renegade doula who came into conflict with one doctor too many over at KGA. A renegade doula is a doula by name, but may not be under a certifying organization, or if she is she doesn’t stick to their scope of practice. Too bad.
It is too bad for KGA’s patients planning on having labor support at their births. Thankfully they can find supportive care (see Women’s Contemporary Health practice), and maintain their will to be informed and educated about their bodies and the birth process during the birth of their child. Thankfully KGA decided to show their true colors and can now be seen as what they are: doctors in control of labor instead of allowing their patients to be in control of their labors and bodies.