by Toni Hill, CD, PD, AWP, DEM, CLC
Madriella Advisory Board Member & Approved Workshop Provider

I will be the first to tell you that everybody’s dog is not my dog.  I share my home with Captain, a not so full bred springer spaniel who likes my 15-year-old son far more than he likes me, a turtle, and a lot of chickens (they live outside though).  We love our pets but, I can’t say I always love everyone else’s.  There was that one dog that ensured I was not getting back in the house.  HAHA!  That’s a story for a different time.  

When you decide to do birth work, you decide to share the experience of pregnancy, labor and birth with the family.  The entire family that is!  A lot of families have various family members that are not of the two-legged variety.  

Ways to prepare

  • Be honest with those you serve about how you feel about pets
  • Make a plan with them ahead of time
  • Don’t be scared when you meet animals for the first time.  Cautious but, not scared
  • Educate your clients about how the smells and sounds of birth change the way some animals react to guests and to their owners
  • Help your clients make a plan for where the pet can be during labor and their hospital stay if they are having a hospital birth

Remember your job as a doula is to ensure you provide the five facets of support for the entire family.  Every family member is important during the entire process and their experience should be valued regardless if they have two legs, four legs, or slither.