I have been thinking of becoming a doula a lot over the past two years. When I was pregnant with Zoe the thought crossed my mind on hiring a doula. But like you all know things did not work out as planned and I had an emergency c-section. But I still had my doula experience- with a wonderful lady named Chrissie from Beautiful Births. She also did my placenta encapsulation (more in a future post).
But why use a doula? Chances are that your grandmother was brought into this world with the help of a doula. And it is likely that she had a doula at the birth of your mother. A doula is a woman trained and experienced in guiding a mom through the birth of her child. A midwife delivers the baby. A doula is there for the mom.
Outside of very recent history, women around the world have been surrounded and supported by other women in the process of childbirth. A gentle touch here, an encouraging word there and the unwavering strength of an ally focused on you as a mom and your baby’s welfare are the primary tools women have traditionally used in the birth process.
While a doula is not medically trained and will not be delivering your baby, she is very knowledgeable about the process of birth and is very aware of how to comfort and support you at all stages of labor. History has ample evidence to prove that women supporting women during birth is a beneficial and successful model. It has been tried and tested through the ages.
More recently, numerous studies in all areas of the world have concluded that having a doula present for a birth can:
•shorten labor (some studies show a labor time is cut in half with doula support)
•provide effective, natural pain relief
•decrease the need for an epidural/ c-section
•result in positive, affirming feelings about the birth
So how does it work?
What happens is that your doula would meet up with you and discuss your wished and desires for your birth. The purpose of a doula is to ensure that you as a mom feels safe and confident in your labour experience. It is a good idea to meet up with your doula round about 38 weeks or even prior. Your doula will be “on call” from 38 weeks onwards. Your doula stays with you throughout your birth offering support and she will be by your side through each stage of labour.
Once the little baby arrives, your doula will stick around to make sure you and baby have everything you need, including basic breastfeeding support and newborn basics, to begin your journey together.
After birth, your doula will visit your new family to see how they are doing, connect you to resources and allow you to talk about your experiences. That is the part that I found the most helpful.
It is amazing that we as women can support each other on such a deep and emotional level.
Did you have a doula? What was your experience?