What is a Doula?

February 01, 2017

What is a Doula?

 

Like many of you, I had no clue what a doula was until MANY YEARS after I had my first child even then I still did not fully understand the purpose of a doula. I was fairly young when I had my first child so natural childbirth was not a priority of mine. I was more concerned about the pain of having a child and how would I overcome that pain. Even after having my first child, being a knowledgeable NICU nurse, digging up some information about doulas, and memories of my first birth I STILL did not hire a doula. I felt after having my first child, I knew what to expect. I knew I would have an amazing support team throughout my labor to coach me, love on me, care for me until the end and amazing nurses’ expertise. What I failed to realize, a doula would have been beneficial to us all in the delivery room. The support of the doula could have potentially changed the outcome of how I viewed the birth of my children. If you ever heard about doulas, thought about hiring a doula but were skeptical, or just curious about doulas I will let you in on the AWESOMENESS of doulas.

The word “doula” derives from the Greek word originally meaning “a woman who serves.” Now the word “doula” means so much more. A birth doula is a trained professional, who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to a mother, their partner, and family before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest most satisfying birth experience possible. There are many types of doulas: postpartum and antepartum. I will dedicate an upcoming blog on postpartum doulas. Below you will find the role/benefits of doulas.

Role of the doula

  • Develop a relationship with the mother, spouse/partner, and family
  • Assist with creating a birth plan
  • Available by phone, email, text, and in-person
  • Provide resources to assist with decision making
  • Provide comfort with pain relieving techniques such as breathing, relaxation, massage, and different laboring positions
  • Involve partner/spouse in all aspects of the process
  • Advocate/encourage mother to assist with fulfilling the birthing plan in a safe manner
  • Assist with breastfeeding/newborn care

A doula does NOT provide medical advice or care, does NOT speak for the mother, and does NOT make any decision on mother’s behalf.

Benefits of a doula

There are endless benefits of a doula during many phases of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Studies have shown a woman who chooses a doula may experience the following:

  • Shorter labors
  • Positive birth outcomes
  • Reduction in cesarean sections
  • Reduction in requests for epidural
  • Reduction in administration of pain medications
  • Reduction in administration of pitocin/oxytocin
  • Reduction in use of forceps/vacuum
  • Decrease in postpartum depression
  • Improved breastfeeding rates
  • Fewer complications

If you want to experience positive birth outcomes, someone to advocate, encourage, and provide knowledge to you and your spouse/partner, decrease your fears/stress about birth, and have a wide range of laboring techniques, call a doula today.

I hope I have provided some clarity of the role of the doula. Please consider involving a doula during your pregnancy to take advantage of the great benefits we offer. There are many doulas in the world willing to assist you during your journey. I would be honored to assist with making your birth experience satisfying and enjoyable. Contact me today for a free consultation :)

If you're interested in reading the research article regarding continuous support for women during childbirth click the link below: 

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD003766.pub5/pdf/abstract

Infused with Love, 

Tunisha

Love.Labor.Life.

References

Hodnett ED, Gates S, Hofmeyr G, Sakala C. Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD003766. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003766.pub5

 




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