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 What is a Monitrice?

During the third trimester of pregnancy, a monitrice educates you and your partner about preparing for labor and delivery, exercises to help stretch and strengthen your key muscles, what should be on hand for a more comfortable labor and possible early signs of labor. You call your monitrice when you think labor is probably beginning. Then the monitrice:

  • Comes to your home

  • Checks maternal vital signs.

  • Checks fetal heart rate with a fetascope or ultrasonic doppler

  • Performs a vaginal exam for fetal position, presentation, station, effacement, dilation and possible membrane rupture.

  • Observes the progress of labor.

  • Discusses the need for the monitrice's presence with you and your partner. If the monitrice determines that early labor will probably continue for many hours, you might prefer to get as much rest as you can by yourselves, in which case the monitrice leaves and checks on things periodically.

  • Remains present during the more active phases of labor and through delivery.

  • Recommends measures which can help alleviate pain in specific situations.

  • Periodically throughout labor makes further fetal and maternal assessments.

Thus, you can determine when it's time to leave for the hospital. You're much less likely to leave prematurely, either to be sent back home or to extend your hospital stay and thereby increase the probability of medical intervention.
The monitrice remains in the labor and delivery room through the early postpartum period.
Thus, monitrice support provides important continuity of care which starts at your home. Most expectant mothers, not just those with a special need, would be better off laboring longer at home.

What is  Doula?

Labor/birth support doulas are trained and experienced labor support persons who attend to the emotional and physical comfort needs of laboring women to smooth the labor process. They do not perform clinical tasks such as heart rate checks, or vaginal exams but rather use massage, aromatherapy, positioning suggestions, etc., to help labor progress as well as possible.

 A labor/birth support doula joins a laboring woman either at her home or in hospital or birth center and remains with her until around 2 hours after the birth. Some doulas also offer several prenatal visits, phone support, and one postpartum meeting to ensure the mother is well informed and supported. The terms of a labor/birth doula's responsibilities are decided between the doula and the family.

In addition to emotional, physical and informational support, doulas work as advocates of their client’s wishes and may assist in communicating with medical staff to obtain information for the client to make informed decisions regarding medical procedures.

The doula is an ally and occasional mentor for the father/significant other. Their respective roles are similar, but the differences are crucial. The father or partner typically has little actual experience in dealing with the often-subtle forces of the labor process, and may receive enormous benefit from the birth-familiar presence of a doula in the vicinity. Even more important, many fathers experience the birth as an emotional journey of their own and find it hard to be objective in such a situation, and a doula facilitates the family process. Studies have shown that fathers usually participate more actively during labor with the presence of a doula than without one. A responsible doula supports and encourages the father in his support style rather than replaces him.



Who needs a Monitrice or Doula?

Every pregnant woman can benefit from the experienced support of a Monitrice or Doula during pregnancy, labor, birth and the postpartum period. They are particularly useful for first-time mothers, women having a VBAC, and women who have strong negative associations with previous births. Both are useful for women who desire a natural, unmedicated birth.