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What is a Birth Doula & what value can they bring to my birth experience?

You took a pregnancy test and *surprise*, you're growing a tiny human! There are a wide range of emotions that typically follow. You may feel overjoyed, nervous, anxious, in disbelief, or even uncertain...not to mention the physical things that are bound to be felt like morning sickness & extreme tiredness. As those feelings begin to settle & you begin to make plans for your pregnancy, labor, & postpartum experience, it can become quite overwhelming. From selecting a care provider to preparing your home for a new baby, it seems like the list of "things to do" keeps growing. So, how possibly could a doula help?

What is a doula?

A doula is a trained professional that supports someone through a significant health-related experience. Doulas are not health care providers and do not perform clinical or medical tasks. There are a variety of types of doulas. They are as follows;

- Labor/Birth Doula

- Postpartum Doula

- Antepartum Doula

- Sibling Doula

- Bereavement Doula

The services that a doula offers will vary by the type, but overall, doulas are there to offer educational, emotional, and physical support to a birthing person & their families.

Benefits of hiring a birth doula?

No matter the birth circumstances — hospital, birth center, cesarean, medicated, etc. — all birthing persons deserve to have a positive and safe experience. Evidenced Based Birth has concluded from studies that continual labor support is one of the most important factors in the outcome of a birthing person's experience. A 2017 study in Iran, showed that mothers who were supported by a doula were less anxious and reported significantly less pain during the birth process. After their studies, health professionals in Iran now encourage and support the access of doulas in every hospital.

Birth doulas can also support the birthing person's partner in a variety of ways. Often times, the partner and/or family members are unaware of how they can best assist their loved one through the birthing process. A doula can help guide them through ways they can offer physical and emotionally support, and even help facilitate positive energy between them. It is often said that there is a sense of calmness that a doula can bring to the birther person's partner & family.

In addition to these benefits to the family, a doula can also provide a wealth of knowledge to them. Some partners share that they feel a sense of responsibility to remember everything from a birthing class, book, etc. and it can be overwhelming. This pressure is significantly reduced with the support of a doula who can provide continuous resources, examples, explanations, etc. Lastly, a birth doula has been trained to support the birthing person's partner & family by being in tune with their needs & desires of supporting the laboring individual.

I wholeheartedly believe that there is a doula perfect for everyone! If you've been supported by a doula before, feel free to share your experience in the comments. I'd love to hear how you felt they brought value to you & your family.

Looking for a birth doula? I'd love to chat with you and see if I'm a perfect fit to support you & your family. Head on over to the contact page & book your free consultation.

In a labor of love,

Natalie- CD (DONA)

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