My purpose as a doula is to help women have a safe, memorable, and EMPOWERING birthing experience.
What does a doula do?
The Greek word “doula” means “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced labor companion who provides the woman and partner continuous emotional support, physical comfort and assistance in obtaining information before, during and just after childbirth.
Most doulas will meet with the mother and partner once or twice before the birth. During this time a doula will learn how the current pregnancy is going, about previous pregnancies/births, what comfort measures and relaxation techniques will be most helpful, and what things may hinder a positive experience.
When labor begins, the doula will meet the woman at home or at the place of birth. A doula remains with the laboring woman throughout labor, giving continuous support. She will offer comfort measures such as walking, swaying, kneeling, squeezing hips, cold/warm towels, hand holding and massages. She will also use calming and reassuring words to keep the woman focused.
Laboring moms who have support from a doula are:
28% less likely to have a cesarean section
31% less likely to use Pitocin to speed up labor
9% less likely to use pain medication
34% less likely to rate their childbirth experience negatively
Statistics from childbirthconnection.org
What does the partner do if there is a doula?
A doula does not replace the partner, rather the role of the doula is to support both the birthing woman AND her partner. If a partner wants to provide hands-on support throughout labor, a doula will offer reassurance and possible suggestions as well as breaks when needed. If the partner is more hands-off, the doula will step in and provide hands-on support. In many situations the doula and partner work side by side to give the support needed.
What if I have an epidural or a cesarean?
The presence of a doula can be beneficial no matter the type of birth. Doulas work alongside medicated mothers to keep them informed and help them deal with potential side effects. Doulas may also help with other needs when medication may be inadequate because even with medication, there is likely to be some degree of discomfort. For a mother facing a cesarean, a doula can be helpful by providing constant support and encouragement. Often a cesarean results from an unexpected situation, leaving a mother feeling unprepared, disappointed, and lonely. A doula can be attentive to the mother at all times throughout the cesarean and encourage skin-to-skin connection with the newborn after the birth to encourage bonding. The doula can also remain with mother to free up the partner to attend to the baby if there are complications.