Why I love to support childbearing women but hate being a doula

Childbirth is my passion. I talk about it every chance I get, to anyone who will listen. If no one will listen, I will talk to myself about birth.

So why would a lover of birth not take every opportunity to witness this miracle of life? Simple. I believe that every mother should be given the time, space, comfort, privacy and company she needs to have a physiologically normal birth. In my short doula career it quickly became apparent that birth is tinkered with in many out of home settings. This is where doulas are needed most. When a mother wants her birth and labor left alone she has to arm herself with a birth plan and a doula. Even that could put a target on her back as a ruthless and selfish “patient”. When she wants nature over intervention she is questioned, lectured and sometimes even threatened about her and her babies safety. All while she is working with her body to expel a human into the world. Mothers are violated in ways that out of a hospital would be completely inappropriate and maybe even criminal. In no other setting would a woman be drugged so she doesn’t feel anything, hooked to an IV, and then penetrated multiple times by strangers all disguised as saving both mom and baby’s life.

Birth happens differently when no one is managing the mother. When she is able to do what she wants, when she wants, and with whom she wants without having to ask permission or be questioned from her birth attendants, birth will happen most often uneventfully.

Doulas who attend moms who choose hospital birth are left to mediate between hospital policy, doctor and nurse practices, and parent wishes. All of these variables rarely line up in perfect harmony. Mothers are found negotiating one hospital policy in order for their other wishes to be granted. Doulas are stuck on a this line of teaching parents their options and staying professional in a hospital where doctors and nurses are in charge. Mothers are encouraged to give over all control and if they don’t they are labeled as bad parents.

I am officially taking off my doula hat. Even though I think that moms who choose or need a hospital birth should have a doula. Other women here in the Manhattan, KS area are better able to negotiate out of home birth settings for new moms who need a doula. For now I am going to study midwifery, encapsulate placentas, and work on my childbirth education series.

If an expecting mom has any questions or just want to talk about birth (my favorite subject) I would chat for hours. After all, I do love moms, babies, and BIRTH.


What is PUPPP?

PUPPP- Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy

Pruritic– Itch; a tingling or faintly burning skin sensation that prompts a person to rub or scratch. T20 p.1800

Urticarial– Pert. to urticaria- Multiple swollen raised areas on the skin that are intensely itchy and last up to 24 hrs; they may appear primarily on the chest, back, extremities, face, or scalp. Syn. Hives T20 p.2279

Papule– A small bump or pimple, typically larger than a grain of salt but smaller than a peppercorn, that rises above the surface of the neighboring skin. T20 p. 1585

Plaque– A patch on the skin or on a mucous surface. T20 p.1683

PEP- Polymorphic Eruption of Pregnancy

Polymorphic– Occurring in more than one form. T20 p. 1727

Eruption– The appearance of a lesion such as redness or spotting on the skin of a mucous membrane. T20 p. 735

PUPPP is an itchy rash that appears on pregnant women normally in the last month of pregnancy. It starts on the abdomen and spreads to the back, breasts, neck, buttocks, arms and legs. Symptoms normally last between 5-6 weeks but the intense itching normally lasts about a week. Mothers who are most likely to develop this rash are first time moms, carrying twins, or expecting boys. Up to 1% of pregnant women are affected. Although PUPPP is uncomfortable it is not known to cause harm to the fetus. In very rare cases the newborn may have a rash.

Currently there is no way to test for PUPPP and it is unknown why women are affected. Some theories are that the mothers are developing a resistance to fetal cells. One study found male DNA from biopsies of the lesions. Some believe that it is a hormonal reaction associated with pregnancy. Others believe it is caused by an inflammatory response to rapidly stretching skin.

Prescription Steroid creams, oral steroids and antihistamines may provide some relief. Some women have found that dandelion root and nettle tea reduces symptoms, possibly by cleansing the liver. Applying apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, and using Pinetarsol or Grandpa’s Pine Tar Oil soap may reduce itching. Avoiding heat, cool showers and ice packs may also reduce discomfort. On hot days wearing light cotton clothing may help. Women should be drinking lots of water and reducing sugar intake.


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