As my first blog post, I thought this was a great way to start! People ask me all the time, "Why do I need a doula?" ... Or, they may ask "what is a doula" ... even my sister created a song for me called "What's a Doula" ... and I'm reminded of my own births 25+ years ago when I didn't know what a doula was neither! So, I get it!
Having a trained professional labor Doula has great purpose and value! There have been numeral clinical studies that have found that a doula’s presence at birth tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications, reduces negative feelings about the childbirth experience, lessens the need for interference (synthetic oxytocin, forceps or vacuum extraction, and cesarean) and last, but certainly not least, reduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals (if that's what she chooses, of course!).
The word Doula is a Greek word and it means women serving women. Yes, we have a servant's heart – to serve these new families before, during and after the birth of their child. Pregnancy can be traumatic – sometimes fearful. With knowledge, comes power!
It's not only the birth of a baby ... it's the birth of a Mom and Dad ... and the birth of a Family!
Doulas have been impacting birth long before doctors and midwives. We’ve been the companion and supporter before all the labor equipment and monitors arrived and we’re here to stay!
We impact the birth experience in a positive way on several levels. First and foremost, we empower the Mother and her partner with knowledge and support. Doulas can also increase the chance that the mother will have a better and calmer experience because we are there with non-judgmental support every step of the way ... simply, we are continuous presence. We assist Mom with techniques to stay focused (visualization), relieve pain (breathing, massage, position changes, confident words, explaining circumstances - such as pain medicine choices, medical intervention choices [epidural, Pitocin, C-section], understanding and feeling better about the choices you make together by explaining through the sequence BRAIN (benefits, risks, alternatives, instincts, nothing).
And we are wherever the Mom and partner want us ... we can be in your living room, your bedroom, your hospital room ... birthing center ... we go where you are. It's about our presence ... wherever we need to be.
We also focus attention on the partner so they feel a part of this grand journey and remind them of the great impact they have and continue to have on their laboring partner and baby. This will start when the birth plan (aka birth preferences) is made and a cohesive effort between the Mother and Partner begins to form good communication and thinking in preparation of their baby. The Doula is orchestrating this bond with knowledge for their thoughtful evaluation. Empowering the two of them to understand the choices and make them together as a team. Thinking through choices such as breastfeeding, rooming-in, medical interventions, water birth, and the what-ifs, i.e. cesarean.
Doulas also have a positive impact on the new baby who’s on their way to a brand new world! To help Mother, baby and partner bond and guide with the breastfeeding initiation. And, lastly, labor support helps build a cohesive link between the Mother, Partner and medical staff (doctor, nurse, midwife) to promote harmony and above all confidence in each other to help guide a birth to the best completion within the circumstances and to be calm and satisfied with the journey.
Women mentoring women is very empowering. A Doula secures Mom’s belief and the power to trust herself in the most awesome experience in her lifetime and I am passionate about the opportunity to be a part of the experience.
Doulas nurture, support and offer guidance and doulas improve outcomes!
A doula is a trained and experienced professional also provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period. Evidence shows that the quality services of a postpartum doula can ease the transition that comes with the addition of a baby to a family, improve parental satisfaction and reduce the risk of mood disorders.
If you're considering a doula, or are fearful about your birth ... or have a friend who's pregnant and/or fearful, let me spend some time putting your minds at ease. That's what I do and it's a labor of love.