Pregnancy is one of the most wonderful, confusing, exciting, and sometimes scary moments of a women’s life. From morning sickness, to crazy cravings, to feeling those first flickering movements of life within you – pregnancy is an incredible experience. If you’re like many to-be moms, you probably spend countless hours online trying to learn as much as you can about pregnancy, babies, and motherhood. So, take a few minutes to learn about doulas and how they can give you the attention you need and deserve during the most important time in your life!
What is a Doula?
The world “doula” is a Greek word that means “women’s servant.” Doulas are non-medical professionals who assist mothers before, during, and after birth. They offer expectant mothers necessary support throughout early motherhood including:
- Educational support. Doulas are very knowledgeable about pregnancy, labor, and mother-baby care. They will help guide you according to your personal wishes about pregnancy, birth, and motherhood, so you can have a memorable experience that is perfect for you and your baby.
- Emotional support. Motherhood can be difficult. Though doulas do not provide medical care, they offer what many medical providers might not be able to do – personalized,compassionate emotional support. She will walk with you on your unique journey while offering support each step of the way, so you can fully enjoy every moment.
- Physical support. Doulas are labor-coaches at their finest. Whether you want to go natural, or prefer an epidural for yourlabor and delivery, a doula will ensure you are as comfortable and prepared as possible.
Doulas are highly-trained and experienced in prenatal care, labor and delivery, and post-partum care. But that’s not all. Doulas are someone you can trust who will partner with you and your family during one of the most important times of your lives.
What does a Doula do?
Doulas fill many roles within the educational, emotional, and physical support they offer. Here are some of the benefits of having a doula during each phase of early motherhood:
- Prenatal care. Your doula offers you support as you adjust to the emotional and physical changes within you. Whether you need a late-night friend to talk to, or advice on creating an ideal birth plan that suits your values and environment, your doula is your go-to support system and advocate.
- Labor and delivery. As mentioned above, doulas are remarkable birthing coaches. She will help keep you comfortable, focused, and encouraged when you feel you can’t go any longer. Your doula will also offer massage, guide you to appropriate laboring positions, help you through relaxation techniques, and offer support for your partner and family.
- Post-partum care. After delivery, your doula offers support for you and baby including breastfeeding guidance and encouraging a strong bond between mother and baby. If you have a c-section, your doula will offer additional support during your recovery.
A doula can assist an expectant mom by:
- Providing caring non-judgmental emotional support
- Answering non-medical questions (24/7 by phone or text)
- Helping keep her informed during her pregnancy and delivery of everything going on (personalized attention)
- Providing support for her partner during labor (allowing partner to leave when a break/nap/meal is needed)
- Accompanying her doctor’s appointments during pregnancy
- Assisting her in using a variety of helpful positions and comfort measures during labor
- Constantly focusing on the comfort and emotional state of both the woman (and her partner) during pregnancy and labor
- Helping keep her relaxed and calm in the hospital by creating a space she feels secure and confident
- Phone calls, texts and email support throughout the pregnancy for recommendations and resources or just to talk
Whether you’re planning your first pregnancy, or are expecting your second, third, or even fourth child, each pregnancy is unique and deserves individualized care. A doula will help make your pregnancy and birth as memorable and joyous as possible.