What Could Make It All Different? (Spanish)

All people deserve a safe and positive birth experience, but all too often that is not the case for people who have language barriers. Meet doulas and midwives who reflect on how to ensure that every person has respectful, culturally aligned care that meets their needs and keeps them safe.

  • How structural and system factors shape the birth experience for English language learners
  • How to take an active role and get the support you need
  • Everyone deserves respectful care.
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Terms in this Chapter
Advocate (noun)

someone who speaks up or asks questions on behalf of themselves or someone else

Advocate (verb)

to speak up or ask questions on behalf of yourself or someone else

Birth center

a home-like facility that is not a hospital where healthy people with low-risk pregnancies can give birth in the midwifery model of care

Birth plan

a plan listing the birthing individual’s preferences during labor, such as medical interventions, options for pain relief, and labor positions

Birth worker

someone who is professionally trained to be a resource for information about pregnancy and childbirth who also cares for the well-being of pregnant people; a general term that usually includes midwives, doctors, and nurses who care for birthing people as well as supportive team members such as doulas or lactation consultants

Birthing person

the person who will give birth to the baby. See also birthing person; pregnant person

Care coordinator

a trained healthcare professional who helps arrange clinical care and connect birthing people with educational and support resources

Cesarean birth

a surgical procedure (used instead of vaginal birth) to deliver a baby by cutting into the abdomen and the uterus. Also known as a C-section

Culturally aligned care

care that honors and integrates a person’s cultural identity and preferences, provided by people who share the culture or are knowledgeable and respectful of the culture


a trained professional who provides physical, emotional and informational support before, during and shortly after birth (birth doula) or in the postpartum period (postpartum doula). Doulas with full-spectrum training may also support people during and after pregnancy loss or abortion. Doulas do not have medical training, are not medically licensed, and do not provide medical advice.

Group care model

prenatal care in a group setting with other people who are at a similar stage of pregnancy. In this model, you can learn from and build relationships with other expecting parents who are going through a similar experience.


to intentionally start the birthing process by using medications or devices instead of your body’s and baby’s physiological processes, to begin labor. An induced labor is also called induction.

Informed consent

a process where the birthing individual gives permission or chooses a decision based on the principle that they have all the information they need from their healthcare provider prior to making that decision. Informed consent involves a discussion around the benefits, risks and alternatives of procedures or medical actions you are asked to agree to.

Informed refusal

a process where the birthing individual refuses treatment or services based on the principle that they have all the information they need from their healthcare provider prior to making that decision

Integrated model

a model of care where midwives and doctors work closely together for care of patients with both low- and high-risk pregnancies.


making milk in the breasts, and/or feeding a baby from the chest.


a licensed healthcare professional trained to provide reproductive and primary care including care during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. Midwives specialize in low-risk pregnancies and well-person care, and may collaborate with physicians and other healthcare providers in the care of people who need advanced medical care or surgery.


a way of being that helps you slow down, observe your emotions, and be more aware of your thoughts and feelings.


illness, injury, or poor health


OB is short for obstetrician and GYN is short for gynecologist. An obstetrician is a healthcare professional who delivers babies and provides pregnancy-related care, while a gynecologist is a healthcare professional who specializes in vaginal care and reproductive health


around the time of birth


a bodily response to maintain health or promote normal function


a medication, chemically the same as the hormone oxytocin, used to cause or strengthen contractions at the time of childbirth


after childbirth


before birth / during pregnancy


a trained healthcare professional who diagnoses patients and provides treatment. Includes doctors, midwives, nurse practitioners, and physicians assistants.


speaking up for yourself, your needs and your desires so you can make informed decisions and have your decisions respected

Shared decision making

when a provider and a patient work together to make a health care decision that is best for the patient. The optimal decision takes into account evidence-based information about options, the provider’s knowledge and experience, and the patient’s values and preferences.

Support people

anyone in the pregnant person’s life whose purpose is to physically or emotionally support them


WIC is short for Women, Infants, and Children. WIC is a federal assistance program designed to provide nutrition and nutritional information, including lactation (breast feeding) services, to parents and children in financial need.