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Why Hire a Doula?

We are celebrating World Doula Week here and I am so pleased to have a guest of honour and former client of mine write this post for us!

Emma hired me a few months ago when she was looking for the most gentle and effective sleep solutions for her little 11 month old son.

Emma has been a DONA trained Birth Doula since 2004. She is also a trained Breastfeeding Counselor. “I believe that a labouring woman and their support team truly benefit from having continuous emotional, physical and informational support during pregnancy, labour, and the postpartum period. I believe this because I have seen, and felt the benefits time and again. The difference in the birth experience of a secure, cared for, informed, and empowered woman is unarguable. My passion is to share the tools that I have learned on this journey with families, and help to make their birth an empowering event.”

 

What is a Doula?

The word “Doula” is used to describe a trained professional who carries on the age old tradition of women attending other women in labour. They provide continuous physical, informational, and emotional, non-clinical support to the mother and her partner throughout pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period.

Why Hire A Doula?

When I was pregnant with my first child 12 years ago, I had total faith in my body and that the medical system would take care of me. My mother had normal 5 to 7 hour vaginal deliveries, and I was sure that the nurses would be all the support I needed along with my partner and my doctor. When my “labour day” came, my doctor was away. Things got complicated right away with the doctor on call telling me at a regular prenatal appointment that my blood pressure had risen and that she thought the baby should be born that day. Induction was in the cards, until she checked my cervix and I was already 3 cm dilated and having mild contractions, so they decided to start by breaking my waters. I was scared right from the beginning. Already, my labour wasn’t going the way I imagined it was going to. I had questions! My daughter’s birth continued to be scary and intense. Interventions seemed to cascade from one to another. There were so many people coming in and out of the room! I ended up with a beautiful, healthy baby girl… but, I’ll never forget how intimidated and out of control I felt.

I took my Doula training soon after and have since helped parents understand what is happening during their Birth Journey. I’ve helped educate them prenatally and I’ve been by their sides from the onset of labour, until they are resting comfortably after the birth of their child.

There are so many things about birth that you can’t predict. How will you react to the contractions? Will your labour be short and intense, or will it be long and tiring? Will you have a good connection with your labour and delivery nurse? Will the maternity ward be busy and the staff overloaded? How will your partner or husband handle the intensity of birth? A Doula will offer you some serious back up for your birth experience!

Any woman who has given birth will tell you, extra support can be a life changer! Any Dad who has been by his partner’s side as she gives birth will tell you, extra birth support is a MUST HAVE!

6 Reasons to Hire a Doula!

  1. She will be by your side from the moment you need her (usually at home before going to the hospital or calling the midwife), until a few hours postpartum when you are resting comfortably and she has assisted you with breastfeeding positioning and made sure you and Dad have both eaten.
  2. She will meet with you at least once (most Doula’s do at least 2 prenatal meetings) to go through prenatal education and make sure you, Dad or partner and Doula are familiar and comfortable with each other.
  3. She will provide you with non-clinical, physical, emotional and informational support. In other words, she will be there to support you however you need her. That may be holding your hand and helping you find your breathing rhythm through each contraction. It may be squeezing your hips to relieve back labour. It may be putting a cool cloth on your forehead and making sure you stay hydrated. It may be massaging you to help you relax in between contractions. It may be explaining what is happening so you always have a baseline for normal. It may be helping you to understand your birth choices as they come up. It may be making sure Dad can take a pee break! It will not be performing clinical tasks such as taking your blood pressure, checking your cervix or delivering the baby.
  4. She will help support your partner so that they are best able to support you! A good Doula will not replace the Dad or partner. She will help create the perfect Birth Team together by giving Dad suggestions and information so that he is able to give love and support to you without worrying about the details.
  5. A Doula knows that each woman will require different things, both emotionally and physically to achieve a positive birth experience as she defines it. Positive birth experiences empower families. They lead to healthier mothers and babies, positive breastfeeding outcomes and less postpartum depression.
  6. In 2011 a massive study was published that included over 15,000 women. This study showed that support from a Doula improved obstetrical outcomes and reduced intervention rates dramatically! You can find more details on these findings in the following DONA (Doulas of North America) Position Paper.

I hope this helps all you soon to be and future parents on your Incredible Journey of Birth!

You can contact Emma  at www.rootedbirth.com with any further questions or, for more information on Doulas and finding a Doula in your area you can visit:

DONA International

The Okanagan Doula Group