“Our Doula is coming over tonight, are you excited? I am!!!”
I watch a lot of “One Born Every Minute” … you shouldnt’ do that when you’re prego. I cry all the time. Especially watching the men cry. Before I fell pregnant there was a nurse on my ward who was talking about her recent Doula training and how for her second birth she was having a Doula support her. Why? Because she had a birth that wasn’t what she wanted the first time: packed with interventions and tears and not as much support as she wanted.
I put it into the back of my brain, until I found out I was expecting. Then I knew I was going to get a Doula.
What is a Doula?
The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is 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; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period. (source)
A Doula is experienced in birth and understands the emotional and physical needs of the women and family throughout the pregnancy, labour and birth. A Doula provides continuous support and care throughout the birthing journey. Doulas are a source of information and providing all options available for delivery. (source)
What do Doula’s do?
Doula’s work alongside the moher, father and health professionals with a focus on loving and encouraging and empowering the birthing mother so she can achieve a safe and satisfying experience, as defined by the woman. (source)
- Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
- Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
- Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
- Stays with the woman throughout the labor
- Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decisions
- Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
- Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman’s memory of the birth experience
- Allows the woman’s partner to participate at his/her comfort level
What do Doula’s not do?
They do not take on any role of being the medically trained professional in the birth. Although many are nurses and/or midwives. In this role, they put those hats away. (source)
Why I choose to have one?
I know myself, first of all. When I feel overwhelmed I can get ‘out of control’. I can loose focus, get too scared, and shut down. Birth doesn’t inherently terrify me, but it’s unknown to me…that scares me. I’m a control freak.
I’m not hiring a Doula to replace Andrew. I’m hiring a Doula to support Andrew and myself in creating the most supported, informed and easy birth experience for us.
Further, I would like to avoid an epidural, if possible. Why? Because honestly I don’t want a cathedar, I want to be able to feel the experience, I don’t want to lay in my own birth while the epidural wears off, etc. I am NOT against epidurals, and if I need one…I will get one…with the option of turning it down during the last phase of active labour.
I’m also sold on the growing evidence for Doulas:
- 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
- Feel more secure and cared for
- Are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
- Have greater success with breastfeeding
- Have greater self-confidence
- Have less postpartum depression
- Have lower incidence of abuse
- reduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals
Doula’s aren’t for everyone. Only about 3% of women have doula’s during birth and God Bless the amazing L&D nurses/Midwives that walk women through birth. However, for me a Doula is an added consistent person who has my best interest, my Husband’s best interest and my babies best interest. Everyone is different and what I’ve learned very profoundly is that YOU have to do what is right for YOU at all times.
Ever used a Doula?
I’m going to have my Doula do a Q&A…any questions for her?