5 Facts About Doulas

In years past, women gave birth with other women at their side. These other women were fundamental in providing the laboring mother with support and love and understanding in the hopes of making her birth experience one of spiritual importance and bonding. They also helped to guide her to find comfort to let her body do the work of birth.

As the years have flown by and we have come to rely on hospitals for birth, the landscape of our birthing experiences have changed tremendously. So much so, that some women want to trek backwards a bit and look into hiring doulas and midwives, and planning home births to mark the grand arrival of their baby.

Considering hiring a doula to support you in labor and birth is definitely a personal decision. While some women cannot say enough for the experiences they have had with a doula (or midwife), other women are completely happy with their hospital birth. Remember, each of us is different and what works for one may not be right for another. But if you haven’t considered a doula, check out these 5 facts about doulas that you may not have known.

1. Doulas are NOT medical professionals. Unlike midwives who are trained to help women give birth medically, doulas are there to provide emotional and physical support to birthing mothers during the end of their labor and birth. They are trained and certified like other health professionals, but are interested in your spiritual journey to motherhood. They are there to be WITH you for the duration of your labor and delivery. In fact their job is to keep you as comfortable as possible and they will do everything from provide you warm compresses or massage your feet to getting your partner a cup of coffee.

2. Doulas will come to your home, which means you can get through the initial parts of labor in the peace and quiet of your own home, if you wish. If you are planning a home birth, a doula will be there with you before the midwife, and will do everything possible to assist you. They are trained to know about the birthing process, and are essentially there to support you and your family members. Their total focus is on YOU. Whereas doctors and midwives may have other patients, may be on call, and may be in and out – a doula will stay with you, by your side, the entire time.

3. Doulas are an awesome source of comfort in the weeks leading up to your birth. As you try to find a doula, you will interview her in the hopes of making a personal connection. From there, she can be an amazing liaison to call when you are feeling anxious or not sure what is going on with your body. Women choose doulas who they feel connected to, and the doula becomes available to you even prior to birth. And, while you may not get your personal doctor in the delivery room as you had hoped, doulas guarantee that they will be there by your side. This can go miles to make you feel more comfortable, even during a hospital birth – having someone you know and trust by your side.

4. Doulas are certified. They learn about the normal course of labor, comfort measures, how to help a mom if something goes wrong, and more. They also red to have practical experience supporting women through births before becoming certified, meaning they have some experience once they get their credential. To find a certified doula near you, check out DONA.

5. Perhaps one of the greatest ways a doula can help is by providing post-labor doula hours. Many doulas offer postpartum hours where they will come to your home and help care for you, and help you care for your baby after delivery. For first time moms, and people who don’t have a lot of family members close by – a post labor doula can be a lifesaver.

Written By Stef, Mom of 4 @Momspirational

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.

Choosing a Birth Partner

Research shows that women who receive continuous emotional and physical encouragement during labor are less likely to need pain relief, medical intervention, assisted delivery, or cesarean surgery, and generally experience shorter labors. Additionally, after the fact, women who had supportive birth partners tend to view their birth experience in a more positive light, and some research even shows that they have less post-partum depression, and breastfeed easier.

Wow, right? That all sounds great. So how do you choose? Choosing a birth partner is not as easy as it may sound. Is your partner automatically the right choice? Would a female friend or family member, or someone who has been through labor and delivery before be a better choice? What about your mom? Are you worried about offending someone by not inviting them into the room with you?

The truth is that labor and delivery is typically a long event. Your partner, who may be just as nervous and anxious as you – and may not do very well in the face of blood and guts – may not be the best person to have at your side. This doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t be allowed or invited in the room, but perhaps having a good friend or trusted loved one by your side AS WELL, is a good option. In fact, there are many people who hire a doula for just this purpose – to help keep them calm, talk them through the labor and make the experience as beautiful as possible.

The last person you want to choose as your birth partner is someone who is overly anxious, or worried, or who would react badly in rough situations. And yet, you also want someone who knows what YOU want, and who will advocate for you. You want someone who is not afraid to ask questions of the medical staff, who isn’t afraid to intervene, and who pays attention to everything that goes on around you. Remember, you will have enough going on and you will need someone else there to help with the minor details. You should also choose a birth partner who is not afraid to baby you a little bit, and who is truly and earnestly concerned with your wellbeing. No woman wants a birth partner to stand beside her and tell her to ‘suck it up,’ or ‘calm down.’ You need compassion and assistance that is positive during this time in your life.

Many women prefer to have another female, especially one who has already had a baby, by their side when they give birth. Having someone who will make you laugh and will help you pass the time is a good way to stay distracted (or at least as distracted as possible during this difficult time).

If you are really lucky, your partner will be the perfect match. But if not, don’t fret. And don’t be afraid to ask a friend, loved one or family member to sit by your side and literally and metaphorically hold your hand. Do this ahead of time, and make sure that they are aware of your birth plan, and anything that you do or don’t want during pregnancy. Chances are, they will be delighted that you chose them. And, they may be of great help to the baby’s father as well.

Essentially, having someone with you who can remain calm and supportive is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. This is your birth, and you want to be able to look back on it and remember how special it was.  The perfect birth partner can help you do just that. If you don’t know anyone, consider talking with doulas in your area.

Written By Stef, Mom of 4 @Momspirational

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.