Meeting the Doulas

We have been advising women to strongly consider having a doula or birth coach present at their childbirth and to look for help for a postpartum doula when baby comes and more help is needed. Doulas provide personal and customized help to couples and support to attain their birth plans and beyond. My own experience of having a doula with me during childbirth (twice) was so important in getting the experiences that my husband and I wanted with the best possible healthy outcomes. We provide guidance to women in how to choose a doula.

I had the pleasure of talking with doulas who are members of the Central Texas Doula Association on December 3, 2013 in Austin. Each of the doulas has helped women who are age 35 or better in their work and were interested in the focus of our nonprofit.

Central Texas Doula AssociationNotes from the meeting are shared below, which show the understanding and support that doulas have for women and their partners during this important time in their lives.

“Founder Sharon Munroe of the Advanced Maternal Age project shared with us today. She became a mom for the first time at age 40, then fostered to adopt at age 42, then had second baby at age 44; she has experienced first hand the deleterious effects of modern medical care on the psyche of the advanced maternal age (AMA) mom. She is a market researcher by training.

The words commonly used to describe an AMA mom can be depressing. “Elderly primigravida”, you could be referred to the new specialty of “geriatric obstetrics”. In her experience, the OB automatically assumes the AMA is a high risk patient, when sometimes there are NO risks at all, mom may even be in great shape. Many moms come away feeling more distressed and scared due to more tests, that “warnings” may be standing orders, but it may be the norm for that particular practice, they just don’t know any better.

She wants everyone to know YOU CAN HAVE A HEALTHY BABY AT AGE 35 OR OLDER, and believes that the more women who defy the odds and tell their stories the better.

Her website includes info on how to choose: a doula, midwife, OB and is intended to be reassuring, reinforcing that women have multiple choices/multiple paths in prenatal and birthing care. She feels she is seeing a trend to using midwives, more about getting what they want in birth and to be treated as a woman, not just a patient. She also acknowledged that if fertility was an issue, those women tend to lean more to hospital/obstetric care and often have a significant amount of fear and sometimes loss issues.

Her desire is that we channel our AMA moms to the website and then after the birth (sometimes years later) have them tell their story.”