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Doulas have been around for many years, but not necessarily known as that term. What is a doula? Doula is a Greek term that simply means “a woman who serves”. Your grandmother or friend probably acted as a doula for your own mother, even though she wasn’t officially trained. In present days, a doula is a trained professional who provides non-medical emotional and physical support before, during and after birth. There are two types of doulas; birth doulas and postpartum doulas.
A birth doula is trained in the various aspects of birth and how to emotionally support another woman during childbirth. A birth doula will prepare for your birth by helping you write a birth plan and answer any general birth related questions that you have throughout your pregnancy. A birth doula will help you make informed decisions and promote constructive communication between you and your medical care provider during the birth. The most important contribution a doula will bring to your birthing environment is a calming presence along with any type of physical and emotional support you need in order to have the type of birthing experience you desire. She is there to coach you, keep you focused, be a cheerleader and help your partner be involved as much as you would like.
Whether you want a fully medicated birth or an un-medicated birth, a doula is there to support that decision and be by your side during the entire birthing process. Personally as a birth doula, I also take as many pictures as I can throughout the labor if this is something the family wants and time permits me to do so. I always encourage my clients to allow me to take pictures because your birthing day is similar to your wedding day; it only happens once and you will be glad for those memories after the fact. No, we don’t have to get anything below the waist if you don’t want to see that! I focus mostly on shots throughout the labor of you and your partner in the moment and then capture the majority of the photos after the baby is safely in your arms and you’re enjoying those first few bonding and “in awe” moments of meeting your baby for the first time. I edit several photos for you and give you all the originals to use at your discretion. Another part of what I personally offer is initial breastfeeding support if your goal is to breastfeed. Mothers are encouraged to put their baby to the breast within the first hour after birth, if possible. While I’m not a trained lactation specialist, I have breastfed 3 of my own children and do my best to help you achieve a good latch within that first hour after birth. I generally stay with the family for 1-2 hours after the birth to be sure that you are comfortable and well taken care of before I leave. Not all birth doulas offer the photo option, but most will offer the breastfeeding support to the best of their knowledge and most generally do at least one postpartum visit to check in and see how you are doing in the days shortly after birth.
A postpartum doula is also a trained professional that comes into play once you are home from the hospital. She is trained in all aspects of basic newborn care and provides education to you on how to care for yourself and your baby during those first several weeks after delivery. She will be able to answer any questions you have regarding feeding, sleeping, bathing, diapering, etc. A postpartum doula can give breastfeeding support and make sure that you stay well hydrated, fed and rested. She is there for the entire family, not just to care for the baby and builds your self-confidence, nurturing your new role as a parent. Most postpartum doulas work during the daytime, but some will also do overnight shifts. However, they are not to be confused with a baby nurse, overnight nanny, or overnight infant care specialist that focus primarily on caring for the baby so the parents can get much needed sleep at night.
Not sure if a birth doula is right for you? Maybe you are a private person and the thought of another individual in the birthing room is not your cup of tea. Consider this; A recent study found a 60 percent reduction in women's odds of having a C-section when a doula was present, and 80 percent lower odds of having a non-medically indicated C-section compared with women who had no doula. Those numbers should easily show that a doula is definitely worth the investment for your baby’s birthday! des non-medical emotional and physical support before, during and after birth. There are two types of doulas; birth doulas and postpartum doulas.
Not sure if a birth doula is right for you? Maybe you are a private person and the thought of another individual in the birthing room is not your cup of tea.