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Doula Digest: Intervention Needed?

By: Naomi Starsiak:

Naomi Starsiak

A word that comes up often, in regards to child birth, is “intervention”; which is a general term for several different things. An intervention is anything that changes the natural course of labor and can be either minor or major.

Minor interventions are self-contained procedures, such as getting a low dose of pain medication to “take the edge off”, have an IV drip because you’re dehydrated, getting a dose of Pitocin to augment contractions, continual fetal monitoring, and even laboring while laying on your back.
Major interventions are procedures that include several different aspects – some of which you might not be expecting. Having an epidural is more than just a shot: it’s also a blood pressure cuff, a catheter, and an IV. Major interventions include induction, epidural, episiotomy, vacuum or forceps delivery, or a c-section.

With any intervention there is also the chance of starting off a cascade effect. You take a pain med which slows your contractions down, so Pitocin is given to increase the contractions. The Pitocin brings on contractions that are so close together the baby isn’t handling it well and you end up in a c-section. Now this is just an example, but variations of this cascade are seen in Labor & Delivery departments every day.
When thinking about your labor, you need to consider every step that an intervention could occur and formulate a plan to avoid it. For example, if you are having pain in early labor, instead of taking pain medications you could try walking, a warm shower, or massage.

Some interventions are necessary, but if you have a plan to avoid as many interventions as you can your labor may go better for it.
Naomi Starsiak is a birth and postpartum doula, a placenta encapsulator, a natural birth consultant, and the co-owner of A Peaceful Birth doula & childbirth service. You can find her on Facebook at
Have a question? E-mail it to Naomi at

Utica Phoenix Staff
Utica Phoenix Staff
The Utica Phoenix is a publication of For The Good, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) in Utica, NY. The Phoenix is an independent newsmagazine covering local news, state news, community events, and more. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and also check out Utica Phoenix Radio at 95.5 FM/1550 AM, complete with Urban hits, morning talk shows, live DJs, and more.

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