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:

  1. Physiology of Childbirth
  2. Common Interventions and Evidence Based Care
  3. Comfort Measures for Childbirth
  4. Breastfeeding
  5. 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.

The Postpartum Doula

International Doula Institute defines a postpartum doula as a professional support person trained in the needs of the family in the days, weeks and months after birth or the addition of a new baby. The doula offers non-judgmental support, guidance, evidence based education and practical hands-on support immediately after birth through the first year. Doula originates from the Greek word meaning woman servant.

The Professional Certified Postpartum Doula is trained in 5 Core Competencies:

  1. Caring for and Understanding the Needs of the Postpartum Mom and Partner
  2. Caring for and Understanding the Needs of Baby/Babies
  3. Caring for and Understanding the Needs of the Siblings
  4. Caring for and Understanding the Needs of the Home
  5. Caring for the Whole Family Utilizing Emotional Intelligence

To Sum it all up: The Postpartum Doula mothers the new mother and her growing family. Anything from cooking to cleaning to caring for the family she can do whatever will create the most comfortable atmosphere to promote healing and love.

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