Why hire a doula?
A doula provides care aimed at making a mother or couple feel more at ease with the birth process, and to provide them with, education, emotional support and physical comfort. A doula is a supportive and reassuring presence for family and can help with the connection between her and her partner in welcoming their new child, before, during, and after childbirth.
From the moment you learn you are pregnant the preparations begin, questions will arise everyday. Today we are presented with so much information (often too much information!) and so many options of how and where to birth. Having normal fears and concerns are completely healthy, but fearing things you cannot control is exhausting and counter-productive. Negative states produced by fears affects birthing in several ways, including longer and more painful labors. A doula has an objective view point and can remind the woman to make decisions based not on fear but on her personal values.
Having a doula can promote open communication and a professional rapport between the family and their care providers. Pre-natal visits can seem rushed and women are left with an excess of conflicting information. A doula acts as a guide and often fills the gaps in our current care model. Your care provider is there to provide the best possible medical care and safety, your partner is the one who knows you best, and a doula is the continuous figure who knows birth well; together we make a great team!
Studies of doula assisted births worldwide showed decreases in:
- Cesarean birth by 51%
- Pitocin use by 71%
- Narcotics use by 35%
- Forceps use by 57%
- Length of labor by 98 minutes
Is a doula like a midwife?
This is a question I get asked alot. The answer is no, but there are similarities. While a doula and a midwife will often work together, there is a distinct difference between the two. Both roles are to offer support, education and compassion to families, however midwives offer clinical expertise for healthy pregnancies, examine, diagnose and treat medically. A doula’s role is simply to provide emotional, physical, and informational support through a woman’s pregnancy, in birth, and postpartum. Doulas do not have the responsibilty of assessing of medical and emergency care needs as a midwife does, which allows us to focus on other aspects of the birth that are equally as important.
Does a doula only attend natural births?
Absolutely not- this is just a myth! In fact, what one person defines as ‘natural childbirth’ will be defined as something entirely different by another. The right doula for you will support your desire to have the best possible birth experience; your doula will help create a low stress environment, help you make informed choices, and will be right there with you supporting all of the choices you make. Whether you are planning or not planning, choosing or not choosing pain medications or having a cesarean, you can still benefit from the support of a doula equally as much. A doula will help you stay on track, whether that is reminding you or your partner to stay hydrated or relaxed, rotate into possible positions, or simply supporting your decisions so you feel confident.
Why would we consider hiring an unfamiliar person to be present during our family’s intense and private time?
The birth of your child is a very personal, wonderful and intense time for a couple; it can come with challenges. Although at the outset, you may not feel comfortable including someone you don’t know very well, our relationship will grow over time during the pre-natal visits and phone contact throughout your pregnancy. More than not, a couple is extremely grateful to have had a constant and, familiar presence there to help them through this experience. In some birth settings women are assigned a caregiver, whom they may have never met before, and who is unfamiliar with your desires and needs for birth. Additionaly, this person may be caring for several patients at a time.
A doula, aside from your partner, is the one person who you can count on to be there for you and your partner through your entire labor and postpartum period. You can rest easy knowing she is very familiar with your priorities, has your best interests in mind, and is working only for you. A doula doesn’t have to perform clinical tasks so is therefore, able to offer the support that the medical team aren’t always able to provide.
Can’t my partner/husband be my doula? Will a doula replace his/her role?
A doula does not replace a father or a partners’ importance during the birth process, but can rather enhance his/her role when they partner together. By taking care of his/her needs as well and carrying some of the load, he/she too can enjoy the birth experience and participate at his or her comfort level. In the event complications arise or during, intense times, it can help to have an objective person whom is less emotionally attached; a person whom can keep their composure during times when a woman is experiencing discomfort or struggling.
While any loved one close to the laboring woman can provide necessary support, and while women have everything they need to birth their baby beautifully, having someone who knows the right questions to ask, who is updated on current evidence based practices, and who can stay calm if things get challenging can make all the difference! A doula:
- Enhances the partner to participate more fully
- Knows the questions to ask
- Reminds you of what is normal
- Provides sustenance for all
- Can stay with mother while father/partner takes care of last minute necessities, or vice versa
What is a postpartum doula?
A postpartum doula is trained and experienced in providing care during the first few weeks or months after childbirth. In other areas of the world, new mothers are cared for by their families and extended communities for 30 to 60 days postpartum. You dont have to handle everything in solitude! These services are to help parents transition after childbirth, and to nurture you, so you can concentrate on your new family. All services are customized to meet the individual family’s needs. We provide lactation support, resources, and a little extra love, so there’s still time for hot showers, herbal baths and a nutritious meal. We listen to you talk about your birth experience, we are a quiet presence who supports your decisions without judgement. We provide a variety of different resources. We are a constant reminder that you are wonderful parents.