DONA international defines a doula as "a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible." This is such a great definition of what a birth doula does!
Continuous physical Support: Birth doulas have been trained to use a number of comfort techniques that can greatly help in labor. These techniques include massage, heat and cold, counter pressure, rhythmic movement and many more. These are all techniques that a birth doula can also teach to your labor support partner.
Continuous Emotional Support: Birth doulas hold space for you when you need it the most. Before labor when you are feeling anxious or concerned, during labor when you are getting tired or worried, after you have given birth and have so much to process. A birth doula provides a great, non judgmental ear for you. If need a hand to hold or some encouragement a birth doula provides that.
Informational Support: A birth doula has been educated on all possible birth interventions as well as the benefits and potential complications of those interventions. If at any time before or during your labor you would like more evidence based information we can provide it. Birth doulas will not make any decisions for you, nor will we attempt to sway your decision one way or the other. We believe in informed consent. We believe that you deserve all the information you want and need to make a decision.
This little list barely scratches the surface of what all a birth doula can offer.
Is a doula really beneficial when I have my partner?
Yes! A doula is never meant to replace the love and support of your partner during the birth of your child. Part of a doula's job is to support the bond between you and your partner by cutting out distractions and taking care of things your partner would be doing if not for your doula being present. A doula will ensure that both you and your partner are staying well hydrated, set the "mood" of the room by playing the music you would like, make sure the lighting is how you like it, ensuring you have pillows and blankets as well as many other "behind the scenes" stuff.
A doula is there when:
1. You need the extra support or additional comfort measures
2. When your partner needs to use the bathroom, grab and bite to eat or just needs some time to stretch and get some fresh air
3. When you need more information on interventions
4. To help guide you on laboring positions that support optimal positioning for the baby; making your labor faster and often times less painful
What is a Doula unable to help with?
- A doula cannot provide any medical care.
- A doula cannot make any medical decisions for you.
-A doula will advocate for you but will NOT stand between you and your medical team.
- A doula can encourage you to bring up anything with your care team that you feel is important, but we will not ask those questions for you.
If hiring a doula is something that you are considering please don't hesitate to contact me! I would love to chat more with you!