This is a survey that I made to elicit responses from women and men about the circumstances surrounding the birth of their children. I'm starting a business the aim of which is to support women and their partners through pregnancy, childbirth, and new-parenthood. I am currently in training to become a birth doula, a childbirth educator, and a lactation educator. As part of my self-education, I'm asking people I know to send me the answers to the questions below along with a birth story in their own words, in order for me to understand more about what happens in real-life situations and how people feel about them.
ALL OF YOUR ANSWERS WILL BE KEPT COMPLETELY CONFIDENTIAL. I PROMISE!!
I'll write more about this whole new career thing in my next post, but for now, here's the survey!
If you've found yourself here because you want to help me out with this project, let me just say a big THANKS!!
In addition to that, if you could ask your spouse to fill this out as well I would really appreciate it - I'm desperate for some both men and women's perspectives!
So just copy this survey and then click here and it'll open an email to me, where you can paste and complete it. - Please, whatever you do, don't answer the questions in the comments section
Below are some questions about your pregnancy and childbirth experience. Please answer as many or as few of them as you want to and/or feel comfortable with about one or more of your pregnancies (Please don't feel like you need to fill this whole thing out 4 times if you have 4 children. If you would like to, I’d love to hear your birth story or birth stories in addition to your answers to the questions. Gentlemen, in order to make things here simple, read “you” as “your partner” or as the plural “you.”
First off, do you know what a doula is? If you don't and you'd like to learn please follow this link.
How many children have you had?
Was your birth a scheduled induction or a scheduled c-section? If so, why was it scheduled?
Who was present during labor? Delivery? What was each person’s role? (witness, support, coaching, etc.) Did you want these people there? Did you feel pressure for them to be there? From whom? Did you feel like any of them were interfering or was their presence helpful?
Did you have an ob/gyn or a midwife or was it different for different pregnancies? If you've experienced both, what made you choose each one? Did you have a preference? What did you feel the differences were? Would you use any of these people if you were to have another child?
Did you read any books or reference any websites to prepare for pregnancy? birth? parenthood? Which ones? Did you feel that they were valuable?
Did you have any preferences for your birth experience(s) that you informed your care provider of? Were they written or conveyed verbally? Do you feel that your care provider and the nurses took these requests seriously?
Were you at a hospital with 1:1 nursing care or did you have a doula with you? Do you feel that you benefited from this experience? Why/how?
Was there anything that you disliked about the service that was provided?
Would you use a doula/this particular doula again? Why or why not?
What did you have with you when you gave birth? What do you wish you had had with you?
What comfort measures did you take (epidural, changing positions, shower/bath, visualization, music, lighting, touch, massage, etc.)? Which ones worked?
Was yours a “high risk” pregnancy? If so, why?
Did you have any complications before, during, or after labor? What was the problem?
Were you allowed to eat and/or drink during labor?
What medical interventions did you have (stripped membranes, IV fluids, pitocin, narcotics, epidural. spinal block, or other drugs, c-section, enema, induction, external or internal electronic fetal monitoring (intermittent or constant), directed pushing, episiotomy, etc.)? Did they work?
Were the risks and benefits of any interventions thoroughly explained to you in language that you could understand? Do you feel that you gave “informed consent?”
From 1 – 10, one being “you need no help coping” and ten being “not coping at all,” where do you feel you feel at different points in your labor?
Were there any complications with the baby during labor or delivery or shortly thereafter? If so, what were they and what was done about them?
Were you able to have immediate skin-to-skin contact with your baby when he or she was born? If not, why? Was your husband/boyfriend/partner able to hold the baby immediately if you were not?
Were you given time to be with your child after birth before he or she was taken to the nursery? How long was the child allowed to stay with you? If you breastfed, did you breastfeed immediately/within the first hour?
Did you baby stay in your hospital room around the clock or did it stay in the nursery part or all of the time?
Were you advised about the benefits of breastfeeding over formula feeding?
Were you given formula samples? If you did, did you stick with that brand of formula once you’d left the hospital?
Did you breastfeed? Why or why not? If you did, what age was/were the child(ren) when they were weaned?
Did you supplement breastfeeding with formula? If so, what was the reason for the supplementation?
At what age did you add solid foods to your child(ren)’s diet(s)?
If you chose to breastfeed, did your baby receive supplementation with formula or sugar water while in the hospital? Did anyone ask you if they could do this? If your expressed birth plan stated that your baby should only be nursed, was that wish respected?
Did you ever attend any support groups for new or nursing mothers? If so, which one(s)?
What kind of support did you get from family members and friends when you got home?
Did you suffer from the “baby blues” or postpartum depression? Did you seek treatment?
On the whole what did you like about your birth experience(s)? What do you wish had happened differently? Did these feelings change with successive pregnancies?
Have you told your child(ren) their birth story/stories? Why or why not?
If you haven’t told him/her/them, do you think that you might at some point?
Your Birth Story: