During my first pregnancy I fell in love with being pregnant and growing a baby. It was so miraculous to me and a bit nerve-racking not knowing what was to come. I dove right in to the world of pregnancy and birth and learned all that I could.
The greatest piece of knowledge I could ever give a woman about birth is to allow her body to do what it knows and was created to do. Out of every bit of information I learned this was the most important, and after having the most beautiful 3.5 hour labour with no interventions, no pain medication and very little discomfort I realized how crucial this understanding was. Knowing in my heart that giving birth was normal and could even be enjoyable changed everything. This is something I want every woman to have. Even through a difficult birth it can be beautiful with the right support.
Having another woman who is certified, knowledgeable and encouraging along side you is invaluable.
What is a Doula?
A Doula is a support person who assists a woman through pregnancy, labour and delivery. We are on call for you 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about pregnancy, the birth process, labour, medical options and interventions, you name it. We help you create a birth plan (there is a lot to consider during labour and when the baby is born), show you breathing relaxation and pain relief techniques to help you cope with labour, offer massage and acupressure, aromatherapy and prenatal fitness.
I would see you 3 times during your pregnancy as a support person for both you and your partner and also spend time with you postpartum (after the birth) to help you adjust to a new baby lifestyle and make sure breastfeeding is going well (if that is what you choose). Prenatal appointments would be spent one on one and one appointment with you and your partner. I believe the partner needs to be just as well informed about pregnancy and the birth process in order to be prepared and comfortable at supporting the woman through every stage of labour. Through labour a Doula is there from the onset of labour and will never leave your side.
Doulas are not doctors or midwives. We do not deliver your baby or perform medical appointments. We are able to inform you on your risks and benefits of certain medical procedures but we are not here to take the place of your doctor. We are here to inform you and help you make the best decisions for you and your baby but we will never put our opinions above your personal desires and the recommendations of a doctor.
Every Doula may offer something different.
Benefits of having a trained Doula
50% reduction in the cesarean rate
25% shorter labor
60% reduction in epidural requests
40% reduction in oxytocin use
30% reduction in analgesia use
40% reduction in forceps delivery
For me, being a Doula means much more. Read my blog post ‘Why I love being a Doula’.
Have you hired a Doula? What was your experience like?