The One Question That Can Ruin Your Birth

Many years ago when I took my first doula training I was taught how to help my clients through changes to their birth plan. I had one question to ask.  It is a valuable skill to have because many births do not go down the way a client initially envisions them.

I loved this question. When I asked clients this one question surely I was helping them have the best birth experience possible. There is so much power in words and I used it often. I was in the business of empowerment after all.

So what is the dreaded question?

“Do You Want More Information About That?”

It’s an innocent question. In fact, I am sure you are wondering “how could this sentence ruin someone’s birth?” It seems like the best question to ask when a client is faced with a decision during their birth. Why wouldn’t they want more information.

The thing is; this is a loaded question.

Imagine for a moment you are in the thick of labor and your care provider asks to break your bag of water. You have mentioned to your doula that you don’t want your care provider to do that, but you have changed your mind and agree to the procedure.

Your doula speaks up with “Do You Want More Information About That?” If you have already said yes, then chances are you don’t want more information. Moreover, now you have to wonder to yourself if there something they are not telling you.

This phrase has a tone of judgement, as if to say ” I don’t agree with your decision, so I am going to try and sway you with information.” Now the laboring person is left wondering “Is my doula judging my decision?”

Feeling judged about your decisions during labor is one of the top causes of a negative birth experience. Your doula should be working to help you feel safe and not judged.

I have learned a much better question to ask.

“How Do You Feel About That?”

Semantics you say, it is basically the same thing. But is it really? Let’s take a look at the two phrases.

The first question implies that you may not have all the facts, leading you to make a “wrong” decision. The second question gets to the root of how you feel. If you feel great about it then awesome, let’s do it! If you are not feeling so great about it, then we can talk about options and give you more information.

Words have power. We can use them for good, or we can use them carelessly. It is up to us as doulas to dig deep into the power our words have. I never want my clients to feel judged about any aspect of their birth.

I promise my clients will never hear the phrase:

“Do You Want More Information On That?”


Lancaster Doulas serves: Adams, Berks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Montgomery, Schuykill and York Counties

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