I am in research mode. I have hit twenty-two weeks in my pregnancy and I am devouring any and all information I can to help me with my plan to have a natural childbirth. I have discovered that I want a doula.
Here is the role of a birth doula from DONA International:
- 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 decision
- 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
Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily. That sounds good to me!
It seems imperative to have a doula in my situation: wanting a natural birth in a hospital. A doula can help me make informed decisions in the moment, based on my true desires. Ideally, I would like to be in a birthing center with a midwife (I’m on a few waiting lists…), but I feel confident that if everything is going well in my labour that I can have an intervention-free birth in a hospital. I just have to be prepared. That is why my husband and I have asked my mother to take on the role of our doula. Luckily for me, my mother has recently trained to be one! I was going to have her in the room anyway! But, trust me, she is going to be my doula, not my mother in this instance.
A postpartum doula provides service to the family after the birth. The role of a postpartum doula is to “do whatever a mother needs to best enjoy and care for her new baby. A large part of their role is education. They share information about baby care with parents, as well as teach siblings and partners to “mother the mother.” They assist with breastfeeding education. Postpartum doulas also make sure the mother is fed, well hydrated and comfortable.” – DONA International. This extra support could be instrumental in making the transition from couple to family. I am making sure my mom sticks around for a few days!
Did you have a birth doula? How would you describe her role in your labour and delivery?
Did you have a postpartum doula? What kind of things did she do?
The Doula Guide to Birth: Secrets every pregnant woman should know by Ananda Lowe and Rachel Zimmerman