Doulas: Service in Childbirth

If you are currently pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, you are probably considering your birth choices. Having the right support during childbirth is central to a positive birth, and for this reason you may want to think about hiring a doula. The use of a doula spans thousands of years, but has decreased in popularity with a surge in the medicalization of birth. According to one sample, only 6% of women are selecting a doula. Often, this is because the role of a doula is confused with the role of a midwife or birthing partner. We hope to shed some light on what it is a doula does and why you may benefit from having one.

What is a doula?

A doula is a professional who has been trained in childbirth and everything that goes along with it. They are experienced in providing both physical care (e.g. massages) as well as emotional care. Birthing a child is an enormous undertaking and doulas can prove to be an excellent resource for the mother and her family. They are also able to provide general education about pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period.

Doulas have to undergo formal training before gaining their certification. There are multiple types of doulas, and they specialize in different aspects of childbirth such as postpartum and antepartum. However, the most commonly associated version is that of the labor doula. These doulas typically begin work during pregnancy and work to create a relationship with the unborn child as well as the mother. This cultivation of a relationship allows the mother to trust in her doula. Feel free to ask your doula for more information on their specific training and expertise.

Why is a relationship important?

Ultimately, a doula is a companion for a mother while she experiences pregnancy, childbirth, as well as the joys and challenges of being a new mother. They strive to create a comfortable, memorable, and healthy birthing experience. They are accessible when a mother needs them and are trained to provide exceptional emotional support for whatever the mother and her family may need.

Moms-to-be often find that as they progress into pregnancy there are dozens of questions they’ve abstained from asking their midwife. This is where a doula may be helpful. The doula can listen to and address any concerns or problems the mother may have. Doulas are highly experienced in all aspects of maternal care and can provide fact-based information on any of the pregnancy or postpartum journey. They can also craft a viable birth plan with you. Doulas will be there for every step of the journey and can provide resources and empowerment along the way.

Ultimately, a doula is a companion for a mother while she experiences pregnancy, childbirth, the joys and challenges of being a new mother. They strive to create a comfortable, memorable, and healthy birthing experience. They are accessible when a mother needs them and are trained to provide exceptional emotional support for whatever the mother and her family may need.

Other than answer questions, what does a doula do and not do?

The abstract thought of childbirth can be difficult for a new mother to wrap her head around (after all, you’re growing a person inside you!). As previously mentioned, doulas will work with you to make a birth plan on the type of birth you desire. It will include information like your preference on administration of medication, who is allowed in the room, or even how bright the room ought to be. Each birth is unique, and a doula ensures that the experience is the best, healthiest, and most comfortable possible for that situation.

To be clear, doulas do not administer medical care. Aside from massages, they do not provide physical health care. However, that does not mean they cannot be helpful during childbirth. They can help guide you through birthing positions that are comfortable and effective. Many are trained in mental health support that may provide significant stress relief. Stress has been known to manifest itself physically, but the management of that stress will ensure a physically healthier mother and child.

In addition to mental and physical health, doulas are also typically present during the birth. Having a trusted, professional presence can help ensure the most comfortable birthing experience for the expanding family. This being said, doulas do not seek to replace or fill the role of a partner. Instead, doulas are the special companions who are able to keep a level head and ensure the wishes of the mother are fulfilled while she handles the birthing process!

Are doulas right for me and how do I find one?

Doulas are compassionate, level-headed, calm, knowledgeable, and provide emotional and mental support throughout the entire childbirth process. They are available when many doctors are not and can provide the professional answers and care that a mother might need. They aim to create the healthiest, most comfortable birthing experience possible.

Doulas fill many roles. They are encyclopedias, confidants, coaches, but most importantly, companions. Finding a doula needn’t be difficult. There are many websites you can use to connect with the right doula for you. One such database can be found by clicking here. Alternatively, your midwife or healthcare team may work closely with a selection of local doulas for you to consider. If you are interested in finding out more about doulas and how they can assist you in childbirth, ask a trusted health care professional or click here.

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