medication, medications, childbirth, epidural, pitocin, pain management medication

Medications and Doulas

Medications During Pregnancy

I cannot count the number of times clients have asked me about medications while pregnant. I’m sure other doulas will agree. It’s one of the most common questions asked on parenting forums, “Is this medication safe to take while ____________?” These people are not doctors! They aren’t pharmacists. They don’t know how you or your growing baby will react to these medications. They don’t know your medical history. They don’t know if you are taking other medications that could interact poorly with the medication you are asking about. The knowledge is simply not there for random individuals on a parenting forum to make an informed, medical decision.

The same is true for doulas. We are not medical professionals. We are not pharmacists. We don’t know your health history the way your care provider does. It is simply not within our scope to offer you that kind of advice. If we did, we would then be held liable for any consequences.

As doulas, it is our job to support, encourage, educate, and then urge you to make your own decisions that feel best for you and your family. It is not our job; however, to offer any form of medical advice.

Medications in Childbirth

There are so many pain management options for childbirth. From natural, holistic options, to epidurals, to intravenous medications, birthing individuals’ options have vastly improved over the years. However, deciding which pain management option works for you and your family can be both overwhelming and confusing. Rather than talking with your doula about what medications are best for your birth, talk to your care provider.

As doulas, we can direct you to the information itself, but we cannot give you advice on how to interpret that information. That would be considered medical advice and is completely out of our scope of practice. However, taking the information to your care provider shows that you are an active participant in your medical care. They can then help answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Medications While Nursing

Lots of questions tend to arise about the safety of different drugs during nursing. Understandably, parents want to make sure the things they put in their own bodies won’t hurt their babies. Professionally trained breastfeeding counselors can help clear up any of those questions. There are many websites available that offer a database of medications and whether they are safe to take while breastfeeding or not. Kellymom.com is one of our favorites.

Even if your doula has professional breastfeeding training, when she is acting in the role of your doula, she can only direct you to the information. It is up to you and your care provider to make the final decision as to what you feel is safe for yourself and your baby.

The Bottom Line

Only you and your care provider can decide what medications are safe and best suited for you to take during pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing. Your doula can direct you to the information, but it is ultimately up to you to make the final decision.

About the Author

Christine Santos

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Owner of Sun State Doulas, Christine is passionate about pregnancy, birth, and parenting issues that affect mainstream families. She is mother to 3 girls and is an active member of the roller derby community. Her favorite quote is, “Not my body, not my baby, not my birth, not my choice.”

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