First of all, congratulations on your pregnancy! Being a mama is a joy and an honor and it starts with your labor and birth! As an expecting momma, you’re probably already thinking about your hopes, desires, fears, and dreams of what your labor and birth could look like. Maybe you’ve heard of doulas, but have never really considered using one. Let me shed some light on what doulas do, and why adding a doula to your plan for pregnancy, labor, birth, and/or postpartum could be more satisfying than picking out those perfect crib sheets. Working with a doula can transform the welcoming of your baby into the world from a simply enduring experience to an empowering and dare I say fun one!
What is a Doula?
Doulas provide physical, emotional, and informational support to both mothers and their partners during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. Women throughout history have always given birth supported by other women. We understand each other, ladies! Even if you have a loving partner at your side during labor and birth, chances are they haven’t experienced extensive amounts of births or know how to fully assist you. Doulas provide constant and ongoing support to both birthing mommas and their partners in achieving an ideal birth.
1) Physical Support and Comfort During Labor
Childbirth education classes covering the Bradley Method or Lamaze build wonderful foundations for expecting parents to prepare and cope with labor and birth. But what could be better than having an expert with you on the scene to remind, assist, and provide those physical comfort measures throughout labor?
Birth Doulas are invaluable in coaching and providing techniques for physical comfort during labor. Riding out your contractions can be made so much easier with consistent coaching on breathing, suggestions of new positions to assume, and massage. Your doula can provide various forms of these things for you, while helping your partner by giving him/her breaks and instructing on technique.
2) Informational Support & Resources on Pregnancy & Birth
Your doula is a walking resource on all things pregnancy and birth, but she can also connect you to hundreds of books, local resources, support groups, pregnancy care providers, and more. Throughout your pregnancy, a doula is a great person to ask all of your inevitable questions about symptoms, what to expect for birth, and anything in between. With access to your doula 24/7 comes 24/7 access to her knowledge and library of resources to connect you.
3) Emotional Support & Birth Plan Advocacy
Part of working with your doula during pregnancy involves coming up with a birth plan. A birth plan is something that outlines your preferences for labor and birth. From your plan on utilizing pain medication, to your preferences on music to listen to–you can rest assured you have all your bases covered. During labor, your doula can remind you of the goals you laid out in your birth plan so you and your partner can make decisions throughout your labor experience. Your doula will never make decisions for you, but offer you support and encouragement to help you achieve the birth you desire and planned for, because you can make it happen, momma!