Have you been tossing around the idea of hiring a doula for your upcoming birth but have a few questions about what they do and how they can help you? You have found the right blog… read on to learn more!
A doula is someone who has been trained to offer continuous support during the labor process. A doula also provides support during the pregnancy and helps to prepare the couple for childbirth by meeting with them before the birth process starts. Doula comes from a Greek word that means “a woman who serves.”
The doula meets with the couple after they have hired her to get to know each other, practicing comfort measures and reviewing options and resources as needed. This also helps create a relationship so the laboring mother doesn’t see her doula as a stranger but someone she is comfortable with and feels supported by completely.
Once labor begins your doula is available by phone during early labor to provide support until active labor starts, this is when she usually joins the couple to provide in person support. Once your doula is there, she will not leave until you are ready. A doula doesn’t have an agenda for your birth—your doula is there to support your wishes and preferences. At Gentle Transitions we are here to provide nonjudgmental support!
A lot of times the partner is concerned that with a doula their role becomes obsolete. And that isn’t the case at all. A doula’s role doesn’t take over your partner’s role; the 2 roles are very different. I have been to births where the partner knows he wants to play a huge role as main supporter but I have been to births where the partner isn’t sure which role to play or how comfortable they are with the whole process. We work together to find how we all can support the laboring women best. After all, no one knows the laboring mother better than her partner, there are a number of times I look to the partner to know how to support her the best. This is another reason why getting together before the birth and talking over roles and expectations is very helpful.
Although a doula doesn’t prevent interventions from happening at births, research shows having a doula present decreases the need for common interventions. Evidence Based Birth pulled together research on doulas and they found that women with continuous labor support have an overall increase in satisfaction of their birth experiences. The research also found there was a 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin and a 28% decrease in the risk of a cesarean.*
It is also important to remember that while a doula is certainly a part of your birth team; a doula doesn’t provide medical support or advice. We won’t suggest going against your care provider’s recommendations. Our role in labor is to help with comfort measures like breathing, movement and positioning. We work on relaxation physically, mentally and emotionally. We can remind you of your birth preferences and help ask questions that help you make a choice that is best for you.
It is important to find someone you feel comfortable with and who you want to have with you on this wonderful day. The doulas at Gentle Transitions would love to meet with you and talk about how we can work together to support you and your partner during this time in life.