“If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.”
-Dr. John H Kennell
A birth doula’s purpose is to provide non-medical, emotional and physical support to a laboring woman and her partner(s) through pregnancy, labor and birth to create a positive and empowering birth experience. The doula aims to educate and inform her client about evidenced-based care prenatally, during birth and postpartum.
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 entire labor
· Provides non-medical, emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, while helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decision
· 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
· Aims to educate and inform client about evidenced-based care
A Postpartum Doula…
A postpartum doula provides evidenced-based information on emotional and physical recovery from birth, mother–baby bonding, infant feeding, infant soothing and basic newborn care. A postpartum doula is available to help a new family in those first days and weeks after the birth or adoption of a new baby to help create a solid foundation for new family.
· Offers education, companionship and nonjudgmental support during the critical, postpartum fourth trimester
· Assists with newborn care, family adjustment, meal preparation and light household tidying
· Offers evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, infant soothing and coping skills for new parents and makes appropriate referrals when necessary
“I don’t care what kind of birth you have…a homebirth, a scheduled cesarean, an epidural hospital birth or if you give birth alone in the woods next to a baby deer. I care that you had options, that you were supported in your choices and that you were respected.”
-January Harshe @birthwithoutfear
You are the boss of your own birth and I believe in you and your power. As a doula, I will be an integral member of your circle of support, love and calm. I will help you gather knowledge and will provide evidence-based care that is appropriate, compassionate, objective and free from judgement. I will provide continuous physical and emotional support and space for you before, during and after labor. I will foster healthy communication between you, your partner and your caregiver.
What does that all mean?
It means that…I will listen with compassion. I will encourage you. I will hold your hand, rub your back and stroke your hair. I will bring your partner a coffee. I will read the room and the expression on your face. I will use positive language. I will be your birth bouncer and keep your space safe. I will assist you, your partner, your baby and your family’s transition into your new lives strong, healthy, confident and well prepared for what lies ahead. I will remind you that your body and mind are designed to do this. Birth is ever changing, second to second, and I will become what you need in each moment.
"Peace on earth begins at birth."
Doulas provide coaching and help you advocate for yourself during pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum. Research evidence shows that when doulas attend births, labors are shorter with fewer complications, reduced stress and less unnecessary interventions, like epidural, forceps, vacuum, episiotomy and C-section. In addition, babies are born healthier and breastfeed more easily, if it is your choice to do so. Research evidence also shows that the quality services of a postpartum doula can ease the transition that comes with the addition of a baby to a family, improve parental satisfaction and reduce the risk of postpartum blues or depression.
It is important to acknowledge and respect that birth isn’t just about the birth of a baby. It’s about the birth of a mother. Our society prepares women for the physicality of birth, but falls short on acknowledging the emotional and mental impact of birth and the postpartum period. A doula will support you in your moments of vulnerability and moments of strength and will help to unleash your inner super hero. I believe that if you elevate women, you elevate society and elevate the world.