Today, Rochelle from Simply Supportive Doula Services, shares what a doula is and the benefits of hiring one of these gems. One point I especially appreciate about her post is that she mentions any mama-to-be can benefit from a Doula, even those who have planned C-Sections.
Although the number of doulas in our country continues to grow, many still don't know what exactly a doula is or how having one can help them achieve their birth and parenting goals.
Some may have heard of or know someone who had a doula, but think they're only for a certain type of woman or only for drug-free births. But doulas attend a variety of births from planned c-sections to homebirths and everything in between.
The word "doula" is derived from an ancient Greek word meaning “a woman who serves.”
In its modern usage, it refers to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
A doula does not replace nursing staff or do clinical work, nor do they speak for you or make decisions on your behalf. Instead, she strives to help you find your own voice and be empowered through informed choice so that standing up for your decisions come easily - even in labor.
We provide you with unbiased, nonjudgmental support to help you meet your goals, even as they may change throughout pregnancy and birth. We draw upon our knowledge of different positions for labor, massage techniques, and other comfort measures to help families through the hard work of labor.
Doulas offer breastfeeding assistance if needed, as well as help you find resources in the community like lactation consultants or La Leche League. Studies have shown that women who have doulas present tend to have shorter labors, are half as likely to have a c-section, much less likely to request pain medication or an epidural, and have higher breastfeeding success rates.
Sometimes, fathers may wonder why their partners would need additional support but it's important that they realize a doula is there to support them as well. When it's been 12 hours and the partner needs to get something to eat, drink some coffee, or even just take a bathroom break, they can do so without the worry or guilt of leaving their loved one unattended, knowing that their doula will continue to provide comfort while they're gone. It's been my experience that they usually end up being the most vocal supporters of doulas in the postpartum period.
When looking for a doula, it's suggested to interview multiple candidates before making a decision. You want to pick someone that is fitting with your philosophy and needs, but also your personality. It's important to find someone that you're going to be comfortable with during such an important and intimate time.
It's a good idea to begin the process of selecting a doula during the second trimester as popular doulas get reserved far in advance. The sooner that you begin your search, the more likely you are to find the best match. Online directories exist through each different certifying organization, websites like doulamatch.net, and local birth and doula groups in your area.