What does it mean to be evidence based?
Evidence based simply means that the aspects, choices, and decisions you are contemplating have been researched, tested, and studied by scientists, doctors, and professionals who are able to interpret the data from that research. It’s data-driven and information based. In fact, there are whole groups and websites focused on providing a centralized location for finding that type of information.
However, one key element that is often forgotten as birth professionals push birthing individuals to choose “evidence based” care, is that not every individual makes decisions based on research, data, and evidence.
Let me diverge for a moment to tell you…
We won’t give you more information than you ask for.
Being involved in lots of doula groups online gives me the opportunity to see how other professionals work. What their process is for prenatals, how they answer client questions, and what they do when births don’t “work out.” It is equally educational and disconcerting at times.
One of the things I have noticed, more frequently lately, are doulas asking about links to provide information for their clients about x,y, or z. Now, that wouldn’t be bad if the posts started out along the lines of, “My client’s doctor is recommending an induction and they asked for more information about the various induction methods, pros, and cons so they can make an informed decision.” No. That would be too easy.
A lot of these posts proceed more along these lines, “My client’s doctor is recommending an induction and she’s only 38 weeks. Can you guys give me some links for research that shows her how bad it is to get an induction rather than just letting nature take it course? I can’t believe her doctor wants to induce her. She’s having a baby. She isn’t broken.”
First off, I guarantee the information coming back to that client is incredibly one-sided. Secondly, it often doesn’t sound like the client is asking for that information in the first place.
Of course, this is just one example. There are many, many others to be sure.
At Sun State Doulas, our doulas are taught to ask, “Do you want me to find some more research on that for you?” BEFORE giving our clients information overload. They are also taught to be very picky where they gather that information from. We want to be sure we are presenting our clients with unbiased, well-researched information from verified sources.
Now, back to what I was saying…
Different people make decisions different ways.
Some people really like research and love knowing their decisions are evidence based. Some people feel perfectly fine polling their circle of influence in order to make their decisions. Others would rather just leave the decision to their spouse or their primary care provider (whether that be their doctor or midwife). Some individuals would rather skip involving others at all and simply go with their gut.
So, if people make decisions in all these different ways, why do we continue to only push evidence based decision making for births? We don’t only push research for individuals making other decisions in their lives- what kind of car to drive, where to send their kids to school, what clothes to wear. No, we allow people to make decisions in a manner that feels best for them. The same should hold true for birthing individuals and their choices as well.
In conclusion, know this, however you make your decisions, evidence based or not, Sun State Doulas supports you. Your birth, your decisions, your way.