What if you could hire a friendly guide to support you through one of the biggest transformations of your life? If you’re planning a birth, then you’ll want to know how a doula can assist!
What does a doula do?
A doula is a trained birth professional that can provide support during your pregnancy, birth and postpartum. During pregnancy, they can help you feel more confident about labour. They can also assist you to write your ‘birth plan’ because when you know your options you can make informed decisions.
Why do people hire a doula?
People hire a doula so they can learn techniques for birth, have emotional support through this life-changing journey and have the constant support of a familiar person. Continuity of care makes a huge difference to how you feel about your experience.
What does a birth doula do?
Birth doulas go on call around your due date so that no matter what time you need them, they can be with you at a moments notice. They may offer physical support like massage and acupressure. They can advocate for you so you feel well supported. Some doulas offer sibling support so you can focus on the birth and know that your little one is being cared for. Some doulas also offer birth photography.
What’s the difference between a midwife and a doula?
Doulas provide emotional, physical and practical support and information for expectant women during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. They do not provide any clinical care or have any medical responsibilities. Midwives and obstetricians do the tasks like measuring contractions, fetal heart rate and checking dilation of the cervix.
Your doula will become like a friend and stay with you as long as you need. This continual care means you’ll always feel supported, even when shift changes occur. Experienced doulas know when to be close, when to step back and generally how to hold space for the huge transition people go through as they bring their babies into the world.
What kinds of things would a doula bring to a birth?
Every doula is unique but these are some of the things you would find in my doula bag:
• Massage oil and essential oils with a diffuser
• Relaxing music and a speaker
• Heat packs or hot water bottle
• TENS machine for pain relief
• LED candles to create a dimly lit space
• Homeopathics, herbal tinctures and flower essences
• Camera to capture those precious moments
What does a postpartum doula do?
Postpartum is a huge transition for the mother and her family. Having guidance and support helps everyone to feel calmer and happier. Postpartum doulas are experienced in helping families navigate the transitions that happen after birth. Care often focusses on nourishing the mother so that she can heal from birth and nurture her newborn.
Postpartum doulas often incorporate traditional practices like massage and belly binding so that the mother can physically relax and heal. They may cook delicious and nourishing foods like soups and stews. Some doulas have experience with breastfeeding support to assist you to get off to a good start. Other things that you can ask your doula to help with are looking after your baby while you sleep, helping around the house and providing emotional support.
When is a good time to hire a doula?
If you are considering hiring a doula, it’s a good idea to get in contact early, usually within your first trimester. Due to the intimate nature of the work, doulas usually limit the number of people they serve each month.
If you’d like to download a natural birth checklist to help you plan your birth. Simply visit www.doulawisdom.com
** Please note: the opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not reflect the opinions or views of WaterWipes.