What is a Doula you ask? Guess what, we don’t catch babies. Wait, what? If you are still unsure of what birth doula services include keep reading…
The word ‘doula’ — pronounced ‘doo-la’ — is a Greek word meaning ‘woman servant, caregiver, or Mothering the Mother’.
It refers to someone who offers education, emotional and physical support to a woman and her partner before, during and after childbirth.
She enables a woman and her partner to have the most satisfying birth experience possible, from pregnancy into motherhood. This type of support allows the whole family to relax and enjoy the experience.
Doulas are trained and/or certified and experienced in childbirth and are usually mothers themselves. For me, I have had two births myself and countless experiences with client’s births.
This part is very important-
While we have good knowledge and awareness of the birth process, a doula does not support the mother-to-be in a medical role.
That is the job of the midwife or OB.
A doula helps the mother-to-be to achieve the birth she hopes for, no matter if it’s an all natural birth, a medicated birth, or a c-section birth.
This makes a doula a valuable addition to the birth team. Should a birth become complicated and require medical assistance, a doula will remain calm and stay along with her client helping in other ways necessary.
She will not make decisions for those she supports, but she will assist them through the decision making process, providing balanced information so the couple can make their own choices. Often times, these decisions are made before labor begins but other times it’s a game day decision. It’s nice to have someone constant, knowledgeable, and trustworthy to help the couple (along with their care provider) make the best choice for their family.
A doula may provide some or all of the following services, dependent on her training and skills. Often doulas are also qualified in other therapies too, so it always helps to ask!
- Childbirth education and preparation, including birth planning
- Discussing previous births
- Massage and other comfort measures including relaxation techniques
- Optimal fetal positioning
- Suggesting and practicing positions to help ease pain and facilitate a smoother, more effective labor
- Provide reassurance and encouragement
- Talking through emotional blockages which may come up during pregnancy and in labor
- Keep your desired birthing ‘environment’ consistant – aromatherapy, music, candles etc
- Assisting you with negotiation of your preferences
- Photography and/or video of the birth itself, as well as the precious golden hour as a family
- Breastfeeding Information and Support
- Support while parenting a newborn
- And so much more!
What About The Mother’s Birth Partner?
Reports are showing: rather than diminishing a partner’s participation in the birthing process, a doula’s support complements and reinforces her partner’s role. We can help your birth partner learn relaxation techniques and comfort measures during pregnancy as well as learning some vocabulary to help understand how things are going in the birthing room before the baby’s birth day. Being prepared can be so very helpful to everyone.
What will my provider think if I hire a doula?
Most OB’s are very open to having a doula as long as we are respectful of their role as an important part of the birth team. My client’s carefully choose their provider and I respect that have chosen who is best for their birth. Midwives are also very open to having a doula present and often have a good relationship with many doulas in the community so we naturally work very well together.
So, ultimately you have learned…Doulas are awesome, we do not catch babies, and we work well with others…well most of us. Choose your birth team wisely. This is a very important day for you, your partner and your baby.