A Birth doula is a trained and experienced professional in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth or immediate postpartum.
EMOTIONAL SUPPORT: With the continued presence by the mothers side throughout labor, giving serenity, encouragement, confidence, supporting her desires and decisions. By accompanying her with loving patience, reminding her of her inner strength and wisdom on the journey to motherhood.
PHYSICAL SUPPORT: Using physical comfort measures (non-medical) that can use to cope with the different stages of labor. These include walking, changing positions, massages, application of heat and cold, using a birthing ball, breathing, relaxation, visualization, hydrotherapy, counter pressure, etc.
SUPPORTING INFORMATION: To learn about the different options you have and by educating yourself you can make informed decisions. "If you do not know your options, you do not have any" - Diana Korte
The doula advise and help you formulate a birth plan.
Being a doula is a willingness to serve, silence, support, continuous presence, compassion, and being passionate. The essence of the doula is its simple continuous presence during the labor. Simple, but not easy.
What are the benefits of using a doula?
Science supports the role of the doula. In the Position Paper: The Birth Doula's Contribution to Modern Maternity Care by DONA International, we can find results of studies conducted by Dr.’s John Kennell and Marshall Klaus, where they demonstrate the many benefits of having the presence of a birth doula... "obstetric outcomes were improved and the rate of interventions decreased dramatically with the presence of doulas ". This results in the reduction of cesarean section, shorter labors, fewer requests for epidural, less use of synthetic oxytocin, less narcotic use, less use of forceps, less problems with breastfeeding, lower incidence of postpartum depression and better maternal-infant bonding.
Women accompanied by doulas tend to report greater satisfaction with their birth experience and increased feelings of accomplishment and self-worth.
Some doctors and nurses appreciate the doula's role as a facilitator of communication, and appreciate the individualized care of their patients. Dr. Marshall Klaus sums it up: "If a doula were a machine, all hospitals would have one".
Doulas are here to give back women their power and protagonism in childbirth.
Doulas plant seeds that invite women to not be afraid, to believe in childbirth as an opportunity for personal growth, self-confidence, to have knowledge about your body, to trust in the power and wisdom of the feminine body.
Does the doula try to replace the main birth partner as the main support?
The doula does not come to replace the companion chosen by the mother (the baby’s father or another loved one). The doula is there in addition to, not instead of, the partner. She only seeks to complement each other’s strengths. She respects the link and defends their privacy. As the situation demands as "active" or "passive", the doula knows when to stay in the background, leading to emotional support of a loving couple in their role, do not bother with her presence. She does not compete with anyone. The doula always sums great patience, calmness, company, never rest or hinder the work of the practitioner or midwife in charge.
My goal is to assist both the mother and her partner, guiding if needed, giving the opportunity to comfort rest, to recuperate and provide effective support. Some partners prefer an active role, but others are not prepared emotionally to take that role, and should not be forced into doing so. With a doula present, the pressure on the partner is decreased and he or she can participate at his or her own comfort level. Partners appreciate the doula’s support, reassurance and assistance.
What are the things a doula does NOT do?
The doula does not perform clinical tasks, such as vaginal exams, blood pressure checks, etc.
The doula does not diagnose medical conditions.
The doula does not take over the role of your husband or partner.
The doula does not change shifts.
The doula does not judge the mother.
The doula never makes decisions for the mother and does not project their own beliefs and ideas.
The doula does not give opinions or advice. If the doula makes suggestions she should remind the mother to consult with her doctor or midwife before implementing it.
The doula’s goal is to help the woman have a safe and satisfying childbirth as the woman defines it.