What is a doula?
“Birth is an opportunity to transcend. To rise above what we are accustomed to, reach deeper inside ourselves than we are familiar with, and to see not only what we are truly made of, but the strength we can access in and through birth.” – Marcie Macari
A doula, from the Greek, means “a woman who serves”. Birth doulas are trained and experienced in childbirth and give consistent physical and emotional support to the mother and partner during the labor and birth process as well as immediately following the birth.
As your doula, I am the extra set of hands providing massage and counter pressure, a listening ear about the concerns and anxieties you may have, a calm presence reassuring you every step of the way. I am part of your team supporting you on one of the biggest days for your family, ensuring you and your partner can birth in a comforting safe space, and your desires and your care provider’s and nurses’ information is heard and understood.
According to DONA, numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth:
tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction
reduces the requests for pain medication and epidurals, as well as the incidence of cesareans
I offer non-judgmental support for all desired birth outcomes, from unmedicated waterbirth, labors requiring medication to cesarean birth. I don’t compare your experience to my personal ones or other clients, or push you towards the birth experience I feel you should have. No matter what path labor and delivery takes, I educate and support you and your partner as well as offer information so you can make informed choices about your care. In the end, I want to do what I can to help you feel physically and emotionally supported, your voice heard and respected during one of the biggest days of your life.
Spouses worry sometimes a doula may take their place during labor. I work with partners to provide the comfort and support you need, give them opportunities to eat and take a break as needed, and ease any anxiety by explaining situations or procedures that may come up over the course of labor and birth. At the hospital, I work with nursing staff and care providers to make sure your voice is heard and everyone is on the same page. For a better idea how a doula is an essential part of your birth team, check this out.
As your doula, I can answer any questions you or your partner may have, offer support, positioning and comfort techniques throughout labor, give massages and offer visualization cues, help your partner with providing emotional and physical support, assist you in staying as close as possible to your birth plan and offer assistance with breastfeeding after birth.
As your doula, I cannot give medical advice, perform any clinical or medical tasks like taking blood pressure and temperature readings, cervical exams, or provide postpartum medical care. I cannot make decisions for you or interfere with medical care. My role is not meant to replace the mother’s partner or spouse, but rather complement their role by providing continuous emotional support, reassurance and comfort.