What is a Birth Doula?

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Whether you are a first time mom or you have given birth multiple times, there is so much emotion going into the birth.

By now everyone may have bombarded you with their experiences and suggestions. It can be so much to absorb. Excitement, anxiety, and fear can all take over on the day and leave you feeling like it has all rushed by so quickly.

So, what is a Doula and how can they help you get the most out of your childbirth experience?

Support through labour

A birth doula offers continual support through labour. They are an expert in all things childbirth and can provide you with support in many forms. You and your partner, or anyone you wish to have with you during labour and childbirth, will meet with your doula. During these visits your doula will answer any questions you may have, get to know what you wish to happen while giving birth and support you with an unbiased opinion.

These visits are a good way to get research based answers. Being informed can help you feel empowered and sure, so you are confident in the decisions you have made about your birthing experience.

Source of knowledge

Your doula is a wonderful source of knowledge as well as providing physical support. They can help soothe pain through touch such as counter pressure, the use of a rebozo, or massage. Birth doulas are also experts at helping you get out of your head with the use of meditations, visualizations or just simply talking it out. They can provide a calm environment by dimming harsh lighting or keeping speech to a minimum which can allow you to get into your own rhythm.

Techniques to share

They are able to teach your partner many such techniques so that they are able to feel confident in the support they are giving. Whatever feels right in the moment, your doula is there to assist. Through a doulas presence at your birth they give encouragement that you are doing all you can do to help the process.

They can be a translator helping to explain what is happening and sometimes explaining in different terms what your medical professional has said. Your doula can work through fears or doubts that you or your partner may have about childbirth helping you feel less anxious going into this big day. Sometimes you may need encouragement to ask questions when you are feeling unsure of the process. They will create space and time for you to be able to make informed and confident decisions. They may remind you of your birth wishes as emotions run high and things can easily be forgotten.

Although a doula will never speak on your behalf to any medical staff or family members, they are there to assist you in communicating.

Enhance the partner experience

All of this sounds great for the person giving birth but how does your partner feel about it all?!

“Will I get pushed aside?” “I don’t want someone to take over our moment.”

None of these are the case at all. A doula is there to not only support the birthing person but to teach and support the partner. Your partner can have a better childbirth experience with more understanding of what the birthing person is going through and how the medical staff are aiding.

The doula will be there throughout labour if the partner needs a break. This is key for them to feel replenished and rested so they are able to give all their support. Your doula can help create a more intimate experience between you and your partner by knowing when to jump in and when to step back and allow your own process to happen.

Doulas work hand in hand with your primary care provider. They can aide in building a strong, comforting relationship between client and medical professionals by helping you to figure out what questions to ask and get to the answers that suit your birth wishes. Your care providers have a wealth of knowledge and knowing the right questions to ask and how to portray your birth wishes can help everyone to be on the same page.

Epidurals? Birthing positions? Home birth or hospital birth? Find the support to help you come to your own conclusion about what you feel works best for you and your family.

– Dana Bodewitz
Birth Doula with Prana Birth & Wellness

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