What is a doula?
A birth doula is educated, professional support for birthing mothers, as well as a facilitator to her partner. A doula tends to a woman’s physical and emotional needs throughout childbirth as well as offering suggestions and support to partners. A doula is a person who supports a woman and her family through labor and the early postpartum period. It can be a friend or family member who have experience with birth or not, but I believe that a doula who has been trained in providing emotional and physical support can be invaluable to a laboring woman and her loved ones.
What are the benefits of having a doula?
Study after study has shown significant reductions in all medical interventions including inductions, epidurals and cesarean births, improvement in breastfeeding rates, and the increased satisfaction or positive view on the birth experience of mothers who had a doula attend to them during birth.
What does a doula do?
As a birth doula, I provide a range of support from the time I arrive at the mother’s side to the time I leave after her baby is born. During all of these stages I provide emotional and physical support, teach pain-coping techniques during labor, and finally assist with breastfeeding, newborn care, postpartum recovery, and the transition to parenthood.
My husband/partner/mother/sister/friend will be at my birth, do I really need a doula?
Yes! This is a common concern, that a doula would take the place of main support person. A doula is there for both you and your support system during labor. I do not take the place of anyone and stand along side your support system and enhance their support during your birth experience by showing them how to be most helpful only if necessary. I believe that a doula who has been trained in providing emotional and physical support can be invaluable to a laboring woman and her loved ones.
I have an obstetrician/midwife, do I really need a doula?
Yes! A doula does not provide medical advice or perform medical procedures. I also do not make decisions or speak directly to the medical staff on a client’s behalf. If a you or your support person has questions, I will help you obtain from medical staff all information and summaries of all the options presented to you. Unlike your doctor or nurses, I provide emotional and physical support, teach pain-coping techniques during labor, and assist with breastfeeding, newborn care, postpartum recovery, and your transition to parenthood. This is the most vital duty a doula has to her clients: a birth doula remains a constant source of strength and support to both the laboring woman and her family from beginning to end.
I want an epidural, do I really need a doula?
Yes! Although from my experience, an unmedicated birth is a more common desire in people who are interested in having a doula attend their birth, I am supportive of birth in any and all forms, and I hope that I can help you have a positive birth experience no matter the path your birth takes.
Who doulas the doula?
Other doulas! My husband and I were assisted on our journey to parenthood by fellow doula Lindsey Morrow.
To book your due date, please email me at Leslee@BoldBirth.org.
HELPFUL ARTICLES ON DOULAS
The Doula and the Partner by Penny Simkin