What is a Doula?
Women helping women in labor has been around for as long as there have been babies being born. Women have always gathered to support each other through birth. Encouraging the birthing woman, being a knowledgeable presence, assisting the midwife, fixing food, household chores, caring for older children and babies. Whatever needed doing to support the woman and her family. In earlier times it was most likely a sister, aunt, mother, grandmother, midwife, neighbor, whoever was nearby. A brief video on doulas and their impact.
Now those natural roles from the past have developed into a profession: Doulas. The word doula is a Greek word, meaning woman who serves. There are 2 types of doulas; Birth Doulas and Postpartum Doulas. Birth Doulas provide experienced knowledgeable emotional and physical support during labor and birth. Postpartum Doulas provide support and services after birth with; breastfeeding, baby care, cooking, light cleaning, and assistance with older children.
What I do as a doula
As a birth doula, my role is very different than the rest of your birth team (midwife, doctor, and nurses). My sole focus is on the emotional, mental, and physical support for you and your partner. [To read birth stories and experiences from previous clients Click Here.] The rest of the woman's birthing team, by the nature of their roles, must focus more on the medical safety of the mother and baby.
Providing a constant and consistent nurturing presence during labor and birth is the job of the doula, staying with you throughout labor until after your baby is born. This frees up the woman's partner to be able to be present without trying to remember all the info from birth class, what they should do next, etc.
The importance and positive impact of a doula's presence at birth has been researched and studied numerous times. The research has found that the presence of a doula helps shorten labor time, reduces the need for interventions and medications, and increases a woman's satisfaction with her birth experience. Links to additional information on doulas; their history, research findings, and more can be found on the Resources page.
In choosing your doula it is important to know their personal perspective and philosophy on how they approach their role at birth. Trust your feelings on whether or not a doula is a good match for you and your partner. Birth is a very personal and intimate experience. Make sure you will feel comfortable sharing it with the doula you are considering.
Beyond the physical birth of your child, labor is a gateway to the birth of your family, or the expansion of your family. This is an incredible time of change for you as a couple, as well as an incredible journey you are undertaking thru the birth process. A good birth experience creates a
better foundation for a healthier more connected family. It is a place where couples can become closer and more bonded.
My intention and focus is on enhancing the birth experience for all involved. In labor my focus is on you and your partner. The goal is to ease the process of birth for you, your partner, and your baby. It is my belief that your partner is also in labor emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, and needs support just as much as you do. Birth can be a stressful place for men. It is something they can't fix or take over, and they know they are half responsible for you being in labor!
Often I find myself working more with your partner in guiding and helping them to support you thru the birth, in addition to providing direct support to you. I believe this approach serves to support you while nurturing your closeness as a couple. Knowing that every couple has different needs, I stay flexible on how to best to work each couple. I have no agenda about where or how you choose to give birth. It is my hope you make choices from an informed place and with confidence.
Shortly before labor I visit with you and your partner in your home. This time together gives us more connection, and for me to learn more about your desires and wishes for birth. This gives me a chance to experience your dynamics as a couple in your own space, so I can begin to get a sense of how best to support you both. It also makes it a lot easier for me to find your home in the middle of the night!
When labor begins we will talk by phone and determine how soon I should arrive to help you stay comfortable and relaxed until it is time to go to your birthing facility, or for the midwives to come to your home.
When it is time, I go with you to the hospital or birth center. I stay with you throughout labor, until after the baby is born, breastfeeding is established, and you are all settled in. As an added service, I provide birth photography throughout labor, birth, and those precious first moments with your baby. After the birth, When we meet for a follow up visit, I bring you your pictures on a cd with a commemorative label.
This is a general overview. I would be happy to discuss your needs and wishes by phone or in person. Contact me for more information.