Are there benefits to having a doula? What is a doula? Doula actually means woman’s servantin Greek (she is also called a labor support companion). Keep that in mind as you read this article, because when it comes down to it, that is all she is, there for you Check out the benefits to having a doula to help you decide if one is right for you!
What are the benefits to having a doula?
What a doula is: A doula is a professional who provides emotional, physical and educational support during pregnancy and childbirth. If you have a doula, you are less likely to have a c-section or to even take pain meds! (doesn’t she almost sound like a magician?) I am not exactly sure why, except I can say that it sounds like having a doula really helps you to relax and focus on what your body is meant to do. Because the reality is, your body is meant to birth a child (as unimaginable as that thought may seem right now). A doula’s purpose is to ensure women have a safe, memorable and giving her power over her birthing experience.
What a doula is not:She is not a medical professional, in any way, shape or form. She can (and in almost all cases does) attend the birth, and will be a great deal of help to you in terms of being a calming presence, by helping you breathe right and relax. You can consider her your ‘right hand man’ while your man is on your left. Even though she is not a medical professional, she is very knowledgeable in the medical aspects of labor. Doulas have the ability to provide non-medical pain relieving activities during labor such as breathing, massage and different positions to help labor along.
But what about my partner? The role of your doula is never to take the place of your partner. Actually, having a doula will enhance your partner’s experience during labor and birth. Because your doula is your ‘labor coach’, your partner is free to enjoy the delivery. Or, if you prefer, the doula can simply be your support and your partner can be your labor coach. I did not have a doula, but my mom and my husband were in the room with me and my mom did a fantastic job of helping through contractions, however when my husband took over he failed miserably. Not really to any fault of his own, but seeing me in pain and not being able to help I am sure made it difficult.
When do I pick my doula? Typically, a few months before birth is when most women choose their doula. Think of her as a really great friend, who happens to be a professional trained in childbirth. Talk to her about your fears, concerns, ask any and all questions you might have. She will help you with your birth plan, and be sure you play an active role in planning it.
Give me meds! (but I still want my doula?)No! (just kidding, you can keep her). Just because you are leaving the option open to pain meds or maybe planning on it, does not take away you employing a doula by any means. The role of the doula is to ensure you have a safe birth, she is not meant to tell you what kind of birth to have.
Hello baby, bye-bye doula: Just because you have given birth, doesn’t mean your doula will run out the door, never to be seen again. She will stick around and start to help you and your new baby bond, help with breastfeeding and help other family members bond with the tiny new member. Nurses are great and all, they have wonderful bedside manner. However, regardless of how you might feel, your nurse does have other moms to attend during her shift, and when her shift is over, a new nurse will take her place. You will only be in the hospital for a few days (unless you have a home birth) there is no time to really ‘bond’ with your caregivers. You and your doula have an established relationship. I kind of wish I had one, I may not have given up on breastfeeding so easily (insert sad emoji).
I wish I had a doula when I was pregnant! I do not see anything ‘bad’ about having one, only good things to benefit your pregnancy and birth. I mean, who wouldn’t want a friend who happens to be a professional in the birthing process to help you along?
Did you have a doula or know someone who did? What sort of info can you pass on to moms who might be thinking about hiring one? Share with us in the comments below!