I’m sure if you’re here you either know what a doula is or are at least curious? I know you can visit the Birth Services Page or the Postpartum Services Page to read my general services, but below is an explain for the nitty gritty of it all. Defining what a doula is, what they do, and why you might want one.
What is a Doula?
“Like travel guides in a foreign country, birth and postpartum doulas help support new families through the life changing experience of having a baby!” – DONA International
Defined as “a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born.” by google. It was originally used in Greece to name a female servant but recently it has been redefined as a woman whom helps out a mother and family throughout the many stages of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.
The International Doula Institute defines a birth doula as a professional support person trained in the needs of the family during pregnancy and childbirth. The doula offers non-judgmental support, guidance, evidence based education and practical hands-on support during childbirth including comfort measures. Doula originates from the Greek word meaning woman servant. A birth doula recognizes the profound impact of childbirth on the mother.
The Birth Doula:
The birth doula does not provide medical care, clinical tasks such a cervical checks or fetal heart tones and does not speak on behalf of the client.
The Professional Certified Birth Doula is trained in 5 Core Competencies:
- Physiology of Childbirth
- Common Interventions and Evidence Based Care
- Comfort Measures for Childbirth
- Communicating with Medical Care Providers and Clients Utilizing Emotional Intelligence
To Sum it all up: During pregnancy your Birth Doula will meet with you to provide education. This education will include information on medical interventions that are commonly practiced and the evidence that supports or doesn’t support such practices. It will allow you and your partner to decide how you want your birth to go and create a birth plan (or birth wish list) as well as how/ what questions to ask your care provider. This education also tells you what’s going on in your body before, during, and after birth including comfort and coping methods for the discomfort of childbirth. Lastly your birth doula will help you establish breastfeeding if it is your wish to do so. They can also aide in pumping and bottle feeding.
What do Doulas Do?
The Embracing Mothers Mission Statement:
To Empower Women Throughout Motherhood.
This means that my goal is to support you throughout pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. I will put my whole heart and soul into providing you care to the best of my ability providing education, fact/study-based information, and unbiased support for all women no matter age, size, or cultural/ religious background. I support all birth types (home, hospital, cesareans), all I want is for you to have your best birth possible and know that it looks different for each mother.
The Birth Doula: Prenatal
As a doula, I will meet with clients a few times during their pregnancy. During these meetings we:
- Discuss birth fears or worries
- Create a birth plan
- Providing information regarding clients needs
- Go over comfort techniques
- touch relaxation
- light touch massage
- rebozo/baby shifting
- breathing patterns
- Prenatal massage
- Make a game plan for the Your Baby’s Birthday
By having these meetings we are preparing for your labor. It allows us time to get to know one another, build trust, and establish a good relationship. After all, I will be present on one of the most important days of your life; the birth of your beautiful baby! A relationship full of trust is very important for this event, you have to be able to fully trust me with your comfort and your experience on your baby’s birth day.
After the 37th week of pregnancy I am on-call 24/7, waiting for my client to alert me that she is in labor. Until this point, I am available via text, call or email during business hours if my clients have any questions or concerns leading up to delivery day.
Your Baby’s Birthday!
While at your birth, I will be using comfort techniques that we previously discussed, as you need them. Whether it be massage, light touch, aromatherapy, acupressure, use of the rebozo, or even just coaching you through. I am there for YOU. This is YOUR day. I can also help encourage your partner to help as well, so everyone takes part in this special time. I am there for most, if not all of your labor, and the delivery of your baby. I am there to help remind you of your birth plan, comfort you, and be your advocate.
Planning on breastfeeding, but have no support or don’t know where to start? As doulas, we also have training in lactation support, to best help jump start your journey into breastfeeding. If we feel you may need assistance past our expertise, we can refer you to an IBCLC (international board certified lactation consultant) to make sure you are getting the help you need.
Why would you want a doula?
“If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.”
– Dr. John H. Kennell
DONA International Founder
Countless scientific trials examining doula care demonstrate remarkably improved physical and psychological outcomes for both mother and baby. Doulas have a positive impact on the well-being of the entire family.
The most substantial results are below:
- Lower the Pitocin usage by 31%
- Lower Cesarean Births by 28%
- Increases Successful V-BACs by 12%
- Increases Non-Medicated Births by 9%
- Reduces the Need to Admitted New Borns by 14%
- Reduces the Rate of Dissatisfied Labor and Birth by 34%
To Sum the above: A birth Doula allows you the best chance to have the birth you want. You will remember all of your birth experiences for the rest of your life. While you should/ will be excited to meet your new baby and just want them to be healthy, the labor and birth are mostly all about you: the woman who is bringing the new life into the world.
The International Doula Institute says the following personal characteristics make great doulas:
- A love of and joy for babies
- A love of and joy for moms
Past work history that contributes to successful doula work:
- Social Worker
- Early Childhood Education
- Psychology Major
- Registered Nurse
- Licensed Practical Nurse
- Any helping professions
Thinking of the people whom have the above characteristics or have careers in those fields, would you like them helping you with your birth? I know I would. Who doesn’t want someone taking care of your every need, treating you like a queen, and watching your progress through labor and childbirth? A birth doula is trained in the proper progression of labor and birth, so they can reassure you that you really are doing a great job and that your decisions are right for you.
Now you may be thinking “Ok, well she just described a birth doula’s job and I can sort of see why I’d like one but what about a postpartum doula?” Well click here and I’ll tell you all about it!