Hospital Bag Packing List
August 16, 2017
Om Mamas Milk Makers Tea Recipe
August 16, 2017

What is a Doula?

You are kind of like a midwife, right? No. There is an important differentiation here since doula’s have no actual medical degree or midwifery training (a 3-4 year program), only extensive training, we are not “kinda like a midwife.”

We do not deliver babies, we do not perform any medical procedures at all.  In fact, if you hear a doula claim to be “kinda like a midwife” I would probably be concerned.   Often, there is a misconstrued assumption in the birth world that if you choose words like “midwife” or “doula” you must be a hippy and there is just no other way around it.  There is an ongoing shift happening in the birth world back to our roots, back to a more “natural” and educated approach.  That doesn’t mean you have to choose a home birth with sage burning and half naked hippies dancing and chanting around you (although, lets be real…I would have loved that).   Lets answer a few quick questions and maybe this will help you with that burning question, “Do I need a doula?”

What is a Doula?

A doula According to DONA International, a doula is a professional who is trained in childbirth and provides continuous support to a mother before, during, and just after birth.  Doula comes from a Greek word that means “a woman who serves” or “handmaiden.”

What can you expect if you choose to hire a doula?

  • Ongoing Support, whether that means phone conversations and answering questions about your pregnancy or emotional support.
  • A knowledge in comfort measures, breathing techniques, optimal positions, often an education in massage, acupressure, hypnobirthing methods and relaxation
  • An educated addition to your birth team, someone who can offer additional information during your birth.
  • Support for your husband or birth partner, whether that means offering suggestions, allowing breaks or getting him/her food or bathroom breaks.
  • Offering a space between your nurses/doctors and you and your birth partner.  Meaning, if an intervention is recommended, a doula has the knowledge to ask for a minute so you and your partner can discuss and understand your options before getting “caught in the chaos”

Do you need a doula?

Well, my personal opinion is everyone needs a doula!  But, these questions may help you make your decision.

  • Would your husband appreciate the additional support if you end up having a very long labor?
  • Can you see a benefit to someone with knowledge of optimal positioning during your birth?
  • Do you see a benefit in someone with additional knowledge in a time of the baby being stalled in the birth canal, discussions of intervention (vacuum, episiotomy, forceps, c-section)?

How is a doula different from my husband, mother or a nurse?

The biggest thing that a doula is offering you is non-stop, by your side, support.  They will not leave unless you ask them to.  They are there for you, your baby and your husband and absolutely no one else.  They don’t have other patients to attend to or past baggage with you.  They also are not bringing anything extra in to the room.  I remember a moment when I truly though I only wanted my mom by my side.  The minute she arrived at my first birth, I asked her to leave immediately.  I have no idea why, but as nurturing and amazing as she is with me, she is also a nurse and there was something about having the extra knowledge of the medical side and extra knowledge of me that made me feel an extra weight to having her there.  Having a third party there that had absolutely no past with me, only unconditional, non stop attention to my current needs, reading me on the spot with pure instinct was everything to me.

How do I choose a doula?

Doula’s take interviews and are ready for any and all conversation!  Want someone who will make sure your husband doesn’t pass out? Done.  Want someone who makes sure no one sees anything weird coming out of your body? Done.  Want to focus on hypnobirthing and have a doula that only focuses on your music, your pressure points and positioning? Bring it up and make sure they are comfortable with that!  Doula’s are honest and are an amazing support system to each other as well, if one is not a great fit they will help you find one that is!