Whenever I get asked the question, “what do you do?” I apperceive that I’m about to access into a chat — or potentially a address — rather than aloof giving a quick response. It would be admirable if bodies accepted what I do as bound as they accept “I am a teacher,” or “a counselor,” or “an accountant.” But back I reply, “I’m a doula,” I activate to adapt myself to accord my explanation.
Most bodies don’t apperceive what a doula is. So it never surprises me back the being I am speaking with looks abashed and has no abstraction what I’ve aloof said. Let me say. I don’t apperception explaining. It allows me to allotment my affection and brainwash addition on a account they or a ancestors affiliate or acquaintance ability be absorbed in using.
What does abruptness me and accelerate me is speaking with addition who DOES apperceive what a doula is. I adulation audition their belief about how they heard about doula care. Or how their acquaintance assassin a doula, or how their ancestors affiliate is a doula. Unfortunately, that alone happens on attenuate occasions. I still acquisition myself educating best bodies on what a doula absolutely is and what we do for families.
You, our readers, may not apperceive what a doula is. Today, I capital to booty a few account to allotment the answers to some accepted questions. So let’s alpha from the actual beginning. It’s a absolute abode to start. 😉
What is a doula?
The chat “doula” — arresting ‘doo-la’ — is an ancient Greek word acceptation ‘woman servant, caregiver, or a woman who serves.’ Added recently, it refers to a accomplished and accomplished able who provides connected physical, affecting and advisory abutment to the mother and her accomplice during pregnancy, labor, childbirth, and their postpartum journey.
There are two capital types of doulas: Bearing Doulas and Postpartum Doulas. Bearing Doulas are accomplished professionals that abutment women and their ally during pregnancy, childbirth, and anon postpartum. Postpartum Doulas are accomplished professionals that abutment families during their alteration into parenthood during the postpartum period (the aboriginal 12 weeks afterwards birth).
A doula’s role has additionally evolved, and there are now added specialties accessible in doula care. There are:
- Antepartum Doulas abutment abundant women placed on bed rest or in high-risk or high-stress abundance situations.
- Bereavement Doulas provide emotional, physical, and advisory abutment to women and families processing the accident of a child.
- Adoption Doulas build relationships with both the bearing mother and the adopting or adopting family. Sometimes it’s aloof with the birth mother or the adopting or adopting family.
What does a doula do?
Birth Doulas about offer to accommodated with anniversary of their audience several times — two, three, or four times — for prenatal visits to go over anniversary couple’s wants and desires and brainwash them on the options that are and will be accessible to them. This allows the doula to bigger abutment anniversary ancestors during activity and birth.
Birth Doulas accompany an absolute toolbox of ideas, tricks, and techniques to the birth. Your doula may rub your aback for several hours or accommodation with your accomplice in that role aback his easily are aching and he needs to eat and rest. She may be the quiet, calm, abating articulation whispering in your ear or the close and anchored articulation that will advice you get aback on clue when activity starts to feel acute and overwhelming. She can advice you focus on natural means to advice your activity progress (if you appetite to accept an unmedicated birth).
Or she can advice you adjudge which medications you appetite to use and when the best time is during your activity to get them. Your doula can advice align out a babyish that’s hardly malpositioned in the pelvis, and she can accord you account on how to accommodate with the agents to accomplish some important elements of your bearing plan.
Birth Doulas offer a lot of abutment to the husband or partner, assuming him and added admired ones how they can best advice you and assure them about what’s normal. Your doula ability action a duke beating to advice you blow and relax. And she can explain your options and advice you begin questions back you’re facing medical interventions for you or your baby. On occasion, doulas’ advice and advance afterwards the bearing ability be key to establishing your nursing relationship.
Every activity unfolds in its own different way. A doula’s job is to accompany her ability in bearing to the table. She will break absolutely present and supportive, whatever your family’s needs and desires may be.
A Postpartum Doula’s role is so different to every family. Essentially, she will appear into your home, appraise your needs, and jump in to help. Your doula’s role is to breeding you as you make the alteration into activity with your new baby. This could accommodate advice with breastfeeding, suggestions, advice about babyish care, and assets to heal your own anatomy postpartum. She is like a teacher, administration evidence-based advice and allowance you accommodate the babyish into your family. If you charge a battery or a nap, she can advice booty over babyish care. She can additionally appearance you how to use several altered babyish carriers, how to use your breast pump, advance which diapers, childhood creams, babyish detergent, etc., that you ability appetite to try, and more. Postpartum Doulas can additionally do some ablaze housekeeping, such as abrasion dishes, wiping bottomward counters, and accomplishing baby’s laundry.
If you accept earlier children, she can absorb time arena or alive with them to adjust to the big affinity role. She can additionally run errands for you and aces things up if you cannot drive yet or haven’t been able to get out of the house. Doulas appear in with a agog faculty of what new families about need. She will again assignment with you to adjudge how she can best abutment you through the transition into parenthood.
What are the allowances of hiring a doula?
Numerous studies accept accurate the allowances of accepting a doula present during activity and postpartum. A Cochrane Review, Continuous Abutment for Women During Childbirth, showed a actual aerial cardinal of absolute bearing outcomes back a Bearing Doula was present. With the abutment of a Bearing Doula, women were beneath acceptable to accept pain-relief medications administered and beneath acceptable to accept a cesarean birth. Women additionally appear accepting a added positive accouchement experience. Actuality are some of the stats:
- Decreases the all-embracing cesarean amount by 50%
- Reduces the breadth of activity by 25%
- Decreases the use of oxytocin by 40%
- Reduces the use of pain medication by 30%
- Decreased requests for an epidural by 60%
- Reduce the cardinal of canicule newborns spent in the NICU (neonatal baby affliction unit)
- Reduce the ante of postpartum depression
- Increase the rates of breastfeeding
- Increase the absolute affectionate assessments of affectionate aplomb and bairn health
Studies appearance that accepting a Postpartum Doula after accouchement after-effects in:
- Greater achievement with the postpartum period
- Quicker birth recovery
- More acceptable to eat healthier and beddy-bye more
- More aplomb in parenting and childcare
- Less accent and anxiety
- A added absolute assessment of baby
- More affectionate to baby
- Less accident in postpartum affection disorders
- Higher breastfeeding success rate
These are awesome results! Who wouldn’t appetite to improve their affairs of accepting a bigger all-embracing experience during activity and bringing babyish home?
My husband/partner/mom/friend will be my activity abutment person. Do I still charge a Bearing Doula?
I apperceive that dads are sometimes afraid that a Bearing Doula might booty over their role and that they’ll be “shut out” of the activity process. That is not the case at all! Dads and doulas absolutely accompaniment anniversary added in labor.
A doula is agnate to a adopted country bout adviser or a aggregation coach. Your bout adviser doesn’t booty abroad from your trip. She enhances it for both of you. And how are you declared to win a bold if you accept never played the bold before? (Assuming your bedmate hasn’t accomplished you or any added women in labor.) Your drillmaster can advice advance you to victory! The aforementioned is accurate of a doula. She can advice you both cross the healthcare arrangement and accept the action of activity and birth.
Doulas generally acquisition themselves abating dads/partners about the accustomed architect and sounds of labor, which can be annoying to alike the best-prepared abutment person. Doulas appearance dad’s particular techniques to advice the active woman, based on absolutely what is accident in her anatomy at that moment. Experiencing aback labor? “We ability try this counter-pressure technique. Let me appearance you absolutely area to put your hands.” Adequate in the bath? “How about acclaim cloudburst baptize over her abdomen with anniversary contraction, like this.” Is mom active in the bathroom? “Here, let me get the birth ball so she can angular advanced into your chest to blow amid contractions.”
During labor, moms usually retreat into their own clandestine “labor land.” Doulas about acquisition themselves bonding with the dad during the bearing as they assignment calm to amount out the best way to abutment the active woman. This is why dads/partners are about blessed to accept addition “birth partner” with them for the journey!
Friends and ancestors associates can additionally be admirable activity abutment people, but their role is audibly altered from a doula. Doulas accompany specialized training in bearing and activity support. She has apparent abounding births in assorted settings and can advice accustom you with what to apprehend at anniversary stage. She doesn’t accept the aforementioned affecting accessories as your family, so it’s easier for her to abstracted herself from your choices.
A doula is there to abutment you in whatever affectionate of bearing you want, whatever that looks like for you. You don’t accept to anguish about what a doula ability say or do in any accustomed situation, as you may with some accompany or ancestors members. She’s there for your actual support. She can additionally abutment your accompany and family, aloof as she supports dads and ally in the bearing space.
I’m accepting an epidural. Do I still charge a doula?
Doulas appear to your bearing with an accessible apperception and an accessible heart. She is not there to backpack out some agenda; she’s there to advice you accept the best bearing possible, whatever that looks like for you. She’ll allocution all-embracing during your prenatal affairs to apprentice added about what affectionate of bearing you envision. Again she’ll put all of her activity into allowance you get there. And if you get into activity and for whatever acumen affairs change, a doula can advice you cope with the abrupt about-face of events.
There’s a lot a doula can do if you opt for affliction medication, including position changes and added tricks to advice your babyish descend. She can additionally advice you cope with medication’s concrete side effects to abide authoritative your adventure as adequate as possible.
I additionally abhorrence to say it, but sometimes affliction medication doesn’t assignment as expected, but mom’s movements and arresting accoutrement are aback bound with those medications — a doula will get you through it.
What if I charge to have a C-section. Do I still charge a doula?
A doula can do many things to advice make a cesarean bearing the best loving, family-centered acquaintance possible. For example, she can be with you afore the anaplasty to advice with alleviation and brainstorming questions for your bloom affliction team. She can advice apostle for some of the things you ability appetite during the surgery. For example, alive with surgeons and anesthesiologists to acquiesce skin-to-skin contact on the operating table while the surgeon is finishing the operation. This is so abundant added family-centered than demography the babyish to the nursery or to the accretion allowance to delay for you, and we accept begin that it decidedly decreases birth trauma for the mother. But it’s generally article that requires some advancement with the staff—a doula can advice with those negotiations.
Doulas are sometimes accustomed to break with you and your accomplice in the operating allowance during the surgery. However, this is consistently a case-by-case accommodation by your surgeon and anesthesiologist. If a doula is accustomed in the OR, she can advice explain what is accident during the surgery. She can appearance your bedmate or accomplice some concrete abundance measures that may advice you accord with the sensations of surgery. Sometimes a babyish needs to go to the nursery or the NICU afterwards a cesarean birth. The dad or accomplice about goes with the babyish in this situation, and the doula will break by your side. This helps mothers not feel so abandoned as the anaplasty is finished, and recovery begins, and it helps ally not feel so broken amid mom and baby.
In best cases, though, the babyish will go with the mom to a accretion area, area a doula can advice you authorize nursing and skin-to-skin bonding. And finally, if the cesarean was unexpected, a doula will action a compassionate, alert ear to advice you action the birth. She can additionally affix you with resources.
I will accept advice from my ancestors afterwards the babyish is born. Do I still charge a Postpartum Doula?
Your husband/partner, ancestors members, and accompany can action admirable abutment in the canicule and weeks postpartum! Some of their abilities may discharge over into the postpartum doula realm, and others are absolutely different. Postpartum Doulas are abundant listeners, and they can abutment you in basic your own parenting philosophies based on solid research-based information. Postpartum Doulas are an cold antecedent of advice and support. They can advice both you and your bedmate or accomplice acclimatize to activity with this new little person. Abounding ancestors associates and accompany accept begin that they are absolutely added complex in caring for mom and babyish with a Postpartum Doula’s help. This is because they apprentice absolutely how to be best supportive.
It can additionally be cutting for others to care for a new mom and baby. Postpartum Doulas can advice allotment that adorning role. For dads and partners, she can advice them apperceive how to help. She will additionally assure them about what is accustomed for babies and postpartum mothers. Ancestors accept a big acclimation too, and a Postpartum Doula can advice ease that transition. They can absorb time arena and talking about their new role. Also, allowance the parents with tips on interacting and absorbing earlier accouchement during the acute weeks back mom is healing and a newborn needs so abundant attention.
Postpartum Doulas can additionally advice new families admit the affection of alterity and affix them with assets for help. They are acceptable admirers and can accommodate an compassionate ear to the new mom. Or advice booty affliction of added domiciliary responsibilities while she is absorption on accepting well. There is additionally some affirmation that application a Postpartum Doula can advice abate the adventitious of developing postpartum depression.
Overall, a doula believes in ‘mothering the mother.’ She has the acquaintance and training to abutment women during these altered times in their lives to accomplish their adventures during pregnancy, birth, and motherhood the best that they can be.
For added information, listen to our podcast adventure here, area two doulas allocution about a doula’s role.