The short answer, a doula is someone who helps you navigate pregnancy, prepare for birth, supports you throughout the birth process and is there for you postpartum; to provide resources and tips to make your transition as smooth as possible.
Birth doulas are trained in birth, experienced doulas have been there many times before and can tell help you navigate your options, and help you (and your birth coach) not freak out when things challenging. We are the calming presence that helps support you, your birth coach and whomever else you choose as your birth team. Having a supportive, understanding birth team makes all the difference in having a great birth experience. Even if things do not go exactly as you planned (they rarely do), if you feel supported and safe with your team, your overall experience will be much more positive.
I always suggest that moms and couples talk with other women who have had doulas. Listening to their experience makes the idea of having another person at your birth sound like a wonderful idea. And please note, that birth doulas are not just for women who want to have medication free childbirth, as birth doulas we support all moms in all types of birth.
Interested in learning more about doulas? Unfold Yoga works with a handful of local doulas (birth and postpartum), and we can work to help you find a doula that is a good fit for you. We also host free Meet the Doula events where you can learn about doulas, ask questions and meet a handful of local doulas all at once.
What does a birth doula do?
-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
-Looks after your partner (gives them breaks) and helps keep them involved at his/her comfort level
Why have a doula?
Studies have shown that having a doula:
-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.
-Reduces the requests for pain medication and epidurals, as well as the incidence of cesareans.
For more information on this study go here.
Benefits for the birth coach/partner:
-Doulas do not take the place of the birth partner.
-Partner can be involved to their own comfort level
-Support and help the partner
-Allows them to take breaks
-Increased confidence in assisting the laboring mother
-Partners view birth experience more positively
Doulas do not perform clinical or medical tasks such as taking blood pressure or temperature, fetal heart tone checks, vaginal examinations, or postpartum clinical care. A doula is there to support the birthing mother and loved ones and my goal is to help you have the best birth experience possible.