What is a Doula?
A birth doula a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother and partner before, during and after birth. A birth doula is a support person, not a medical professional.
What does a Doula specially do?
In a technical sense as a birth doula I provide 1 free consultation to get to know you, 2 prenatal visits to build a relationship with you by discussing your thoughts and concerns, birth preferences, labor positions and techniques, breastfeeding information, birth plan building and anything pertaining to your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum journey.
In a relational sense as a doula, I work to protect and honor the sacred space of birth, by bringing a peaceful, confident, and joyful presence into practice. I am an integral part of the team, a steady hand to hold in a sense. In the unknowns of labor and birth, I remain a constant. Each birth story is unique, so what a doula is for each woman and partner is different and somewhat intangible. It’s experiential.
Is a doula like a midwife?
No. A midwife is a medical professional similar to an obgyn. Just like an obgyn a midwife is a medical provider for low-risk pregnant women who provides prenatal visits that include vaginal exams, vital-checks, lab-work/tests, and other clinical services. A midwife attends to you intermittently during labor and delivery, but under most circumstances, won’t arrive in person until you’re closer to delivery. A doula on the other hand is with you (if you prefer) much earlier on and focuses on the non-medical aspects of labor. Together both of these professionals can help your birth be “whole”.
Will a doula replace my partner?
The role of your partner differs from the role of your doula. Doula’s in no way can replace your partner because your partner has intimate knowledge of you, whereas your doula has intimate knowledge of birth. The role of partners differs widely for each couple and birth and so there is no formula for what a relationship between doula and client/s looks like. A doula can help your partner relax and focus on doing birth with you, rather than trying to remember all the techniques and knowledge of birth. A doula will strive to help your partner grasp their efficiency, by providing and demonstrating information on comfort measures.
Is a doula just for an un-medicated birth?
No way! Labor & Birth is unpredictable.
With an EPIDURAL there is a physical block of pain, but it doesn’t relieve the essential need for emotional and informational support and guidance. A doula offers indispensible knowledge on positions to encourage labor progression with an epidural and support during the pushing phase as well.
For an INDUCTION birth, a birth doula is a perfect guide to inform you what to expect and many times induction results in a labor similar to spontaneous labor. However sometimes inductions last longer, hard labor is sudden and more intense, and overall more difficult. A birth doula is there to support a positive birth experience for you. Like any birth an induced birth is still unpredictable and the skills and knowledge of a birth doula can help you navigate through the unknown.
A C-SECTION is a more unique delivery with its own unique challenges. A birth doula will assist you with what you can expect before, during, and after delivery, help you with initial breastfeeding, and also is another support person for you if your baby has to go to the NICU if/when your other family support go with the baby.
With any birth, a doula is an indispensable person, who is there to inform and support you with your unique needs, ensure your birth plan is respected, and to help you path the way for a positive experience regardless of the unpredicted nature of labor and birth.
What are specific benefits to having a doula?
Evidence shows that the benefits of having a birth doula are:
25% shorter labors
60% reduction of epidural requests
50% reduction of c-section rates
40% reduction of Pitocin use
40% reduction of forceps during delivery
30% less analgesia/pain relief use.
Stronger sense of security and confidence during labor and delivery
Stronger Maternal/paternal confidence
A higher success rate of breastfeeding
An easier time adapting to new family dynamics