A doula trusts the process of birth and a woman’s intuition to birth her baby.
The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek, meaning “a woman who serves.” It’s now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during, and just after birth. A doula can also provide emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
“A doula is an important figure, because she is your advocate. She can help hold the sacred space, and tend to the flame of your commitment when it flickers.” ~Gurmukh
Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth
• Tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
• Reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
• Reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction, and cesareans
• Reduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals
Birth doulas are recreating the woman-to-woman network of the past. Having another woman present to provide reassurance and encouragement used to be incredibly common. Unfortunately, as birth moved from inside our communities and into more clinical settings, the experienced, loving support of sisters, mothers, aunts and friends has diminished. Most women do not share or participate in a birth until they experience their own. This is where a birth doula can be helpful. We understand the emotional and physical complexities of birth, we help to ease fears and anxieties and to build confidence and trust in you and your body. Having a doula can increase the intimacy of the experience for a mother and her partner by managing the fears of both parents and providing useful comfort techniques for the mother that the partner may use. We also help facilitate communication with your maternity care team.
~Adapted from Birth Day Presence
Doulas can also share ideas about natural methods of starting labor, speeding a stalled labor and managing back labor. We use a wide variety of tools to manage pain and to help you feel more safe and comfortable, including:
• Positioning for mother’s comfort and to relieve/avoid back labor
• Birth ball
• Hot and cold compresses
• Guided imagery/visualizations
What a doula can offer is as personal and as varied as birth itself. Learn more about my doula services and childbirth classes. Or contact me to start the conversation about how we can work together to best support you on your parenting journey.