A birth doula is a trained, specialized companion for women in labor. The word “doula” derives from a Greek word meaning “woman servant.” The doula helps women have a safe and empowering birth. Doulas provide physical and emotional support, as well as compassion for the birth mother and their child.
Doulas are often certified in their area of expertise, and can be found on a multitude of different websites that feature licensed professionals. It is better to get a doula that is licensed to ensure they have the expertise to assist you on your pregnancy and birthing journey.
Why should I have a doula?
According to several studies, having a doula actually resulted in high positive outcomes for women during labor. Some studies have shown that using a doula can increase the overall cesarean rate by 50%, and reduce the need for an epidural by 60%.
Doulas are experts in their field who can help create a more memorable and comprehensive labor experience for you.
What do doulas do?
Doulas plays a pivotal part in the birth process, and may provide emotional and physical support. Some doulas may provide the birth mother with massages, breathing exercises, and emotional guidance.
Doulas can offer consistent support, and are well-versed in the technicalities of birth. The birth mother can ask the doula questions, and can be specific in what she needs from the doula.
In addition to birth doulas, there are two other kinds of doulas. There are both antepartum doulas, and postpartum doulas.
Antepartum doulas provide support and information to birth mothers who may experience a high-risk pregnancy or who are on bed rest. Antepartum doulas help birth mothers who may be experiencing a lot of intense emotion and potentially harmful stress. These doulas specialize in helping the mother through these potentially difficult times.
On the other hand, postpartum doulas offer support in the first few weeks post-birth. They may assist the mother in feeding, and assisting with baby care. They also may clean, cook, or give guidance when the mother feels overwhelmed.
A doula is a great professional to have by your side, to assist you and your partner in your birth process. Try interviewing several doulas to ensure you are paired with someone you connect with spiritually and emotionally. A good doula will make you feel safe and comfortable leading up to, during, and after the birth.
For more information, and access to a catalog of Doulas, visit https://www.dona.org/what-is-a-doula/