So what is a doula anyway?
A doula is basically an extra support person for you during pregnancy, labor, and the early days of postpartum. She supports a mother in a few different ways.
- Provides information or points the mother in the right direction if she has questions.
- Provides practical support during labor through using a variety of comfort measures such as massage, position changes, breathing or relaxation techniques.
- Encourages the mom during pregnancy and labor according to her unique birthing wishes/needs.
- Helps the mother and her partner to be able to effectively communicate those wishes to her caregiver.
Evidence shows that women who have a doula present with them during their births have a significant lower rate in the use of interventions and a higher rate of successful vaginal birth. They are also overall more satisfied with their birth experience. Who wouldn’t want that!
It is important to remember what a doula is not.
- She is not a medical professional
- She does not make decisions for you and your family in regards to your birth
This usually means that a doula will try to stay away from communicating directly to your caregivers and instead encourage you to speak up on your own behalf. She should also not advise you to take one course of action over another but instead provide you with information so that you and your partner can make informed decisions.
Ultimately I tell my clients that this is their birth and their choice. It is very important for them to be fully educated on their choices and the pro’s and con’s of those choices. My job as a doula is just to support them in their unique birth experiences!