This blog post will focus on my reasons for choosing a doula – prior to delivery. I wanted to write this ahead of time as I am a first-time mom and I don’t entirely know what to expect, or know at all. I wanted to document this now and then compare these reasons to my actual experience.
A doula, according to DONA International is:
The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.
A Birth Doula
- Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
- Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
- Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
- Stays with the woman throughout the labor
- Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decisions
- Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
- Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman’s memory of the birth experience
- Allows the woman’s partner to participate at his/her comfort level
So far my experience with my doula, Lacey, from Chinook City Doulas has been awesome! I can check in with her whenever to ask questions or to just chat about how my pregnancy is going and what I am feeling. She is super open and relaxed.
At first I was a bit confused with what a doula might do. I first understood the role of the doula as somewhat of a birth advocate for the needs of the mother, and would talk to doctors for the mother about her exact birth plan and birth alternatives but I was quickly corrected that this is not the case which makes sense, completely. I first wanted a doula for that sort of alternative approach to childbirth as I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get in to any midwives in my city, which I didn’t. I realized a doula is so much more than that.
Why I am excited to have a doula as part of my birth team
I am delivering in a hospital very close to my house and I am so excited to have my doula as part of my birth team because I think she will be a great, neutral person to have in the delivery room and one who has witnessed many births.
My doula has been available to answer any of my questions and will visit me prior to the birth to discuss how I envision it going. The doula’s role is really to cater to the needs of the mother and work with the mother and her partner during the birth – I am really able to shape my experience with my doula.
I chose a doula because:
- She is someone who has attended many births, including her own and as her client she will be able to provide me with knowledge ahead of my own birth that I may not get from a doctor or otherwise.
- Can provide support to both me and my partner before, during and after the birth.
- During labour, she can be there depending on how labour is progressing to give my partner a break and to help me through contractions.
- Help my partner by giving ideas on the best ways that he can help me.
- Understand my birth plan and help me stick as closely to it as possible.
- Cater to my needs as they should arise and use tools and techniques for pain management that we have discussed ahead of time.
- Have the option to have a postpartum support person to help with breastfeeding, etc.
I have also asked other women their reasons for having a doula and their experiences, here is some of what they said:
Aside from supporting me during labour, of course, having a doula allowed my husband to get some much needed rest. She walked the halls with me all night long while my husband slept. He was able to be alert and functional the next day to care for us. I have never felt so loved.
Our doula has attended 90 births which is 89 more than me and my husband! She’s an amazing resource full of knowledge, and can help us ask the right questions when I am unable to even think of the right questions! She’s a tool in our toolbox so to speak to help us have the most positive birth experience. In addition, she knows what to do when labour stalls, or when pain gets too high. She’s already helped us with exercises that if we do them now will help cut down labour time and, if practised now, can be utilized in labour for pain management.
Our doula was able to have me switch positions just before I couldn’t take it anymore!
What were your reasons for choosing a doula?