Welcome to Birthyourway's Blog. This space is intended to serve as an interactive site for Doula related stuff based in Ottawa and around the globe. The archive links on the right hand margin will help you identify topics of interest to you. Your pictures of real pregnant bodies- stretch marks and all- would be most appreciated as contributions. Share your birth stories, concerns and comments by submitting to

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Music as medicine and gate keeper

I had a really fantastic experience with music within the birth environment this week. We had been using music as a relaxation technique and the parents chose Vivaldi and a shamanic dream cd for spiritual meditation. The music was helpful in creating a peaceful environment and was useful as a distraction, it helped the time pass and it was good for doing some positioning/belly dancing to. The most interesting thing was not necessarily how well the music worked for meditative or medicinal purposes for the mother but in how it created a powerful environment. It was very interesting how the field of energy in the room surrounding the mother and myself intimidated the nurse. I really liked the nurse we got for the most part, as did the mother and we certainly did not intend to intimidate her. It was the nurse who mentioned it stating that she felt awkward since she knew that the mother and I had built a strong relationship and had certain ideas about how the birth was to unfold. I was happy that the nurse felt comfortable in sharing these feelings with us as opposed to becoming aggressive towards us which sometimes happens when the nurse feels like an outsider in her own work environment. (this is what happened with the second nurse who came in at 7:20 am when the shift over happened. Baby was born by then and I was helping mom get a good latch when the nurse came in and said that I shouldn't be showing the mother how to breast feed?!!)

In any case, the reason we used this music was to create a relaxed atmosphere and because we believe in the power of music as medicine. After all, humans are made of energetic molecular structures and music also vibrates and has it's own energetic properties. As a good friend of mine said: "it's proven physics!"

I'm always interested in encouraging my clients to own their experience. With hospital births, one of the first things I do when we get in the room (time permitting) is to give a tour of the stuff in there. Humans are symbolic creatures and all this stuff is filled with meaning. Until we become acquainted with stuff, all we have is our perception of what it is. When we meet and greet the stuff, we can attribute new meaning to it. I try to present the stuff in a positive way and make the room as friendly as possible despite the threat of the IV drip, forceps and invasive medical supplies. I find that the mind is often set at ease when we familiarize ourselves with the unknown.

The second thing I do is to personalize the room. I recommend that the mother wear her own clothes while in the hospital. I recommend that their own music be played, that they place their birth art in the room and so on so as to change the room from its original state. When women want to have an intervention and drug free birth, I suggest that they put a sign on the door stating their intentions: "drug free birth, please respect and do not offer". This way, those entering the room know the intentions and are also made aware of the fact that this room is not the room they were last in. Also, I find it sometimes works better than a code word when a mother is serious about requesting an epidural for example. When a mother is serious about diverting from her birth vision she can ask to remove the sign on the door. This way everyone in the room can support her in her boundaries. It also helps her support people advocate for her.


  • At 11:29 p.m., Blogger Milliner's Dream, a woman of many "hats"... said…

    Welcome to blogging! I will add you to my growing list of doula blogs on mine...perhaps you will reciprocate!


  • At 11:19 a.m., Blogger Kristina said…

    Hey, I just found your blog through your comment on Hannah's. I'm not a doula but considering working as one. Anyway, your post reminded me of a conversation I had with an L&D nurse while scrapbooking one day. I asked her how she felt about doulas. Her answer was, and the other L&D nurses echoed her feelings, that "some are great and some aren't". When I pressed her for more information, she gave an example of a doula and mom that had set up a room with personal stuff including music and candles. Her argument was that an open flame is not allowed in the hospital, but you could tell that she didn't appreciate the change in her normal work environment, either. As I envision me working as a doula someday, I am having a real conflict on how to make the mom comfortable without intimidating the staff of the hospital - I need them as references, and need them to remember me positively at the next birth! Hopefully I'll be able to draw that line clearer soon as I educate myself further.



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