What Is A Doula?
A doula is a non-medical trained professional, who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to a pregnant woman during labor, delivery, and shortly after delivery. Doulas are also knows as birth companions, birth coaches, and post-birth supporters. Doulas and midwives often work together during a woman’s labor. Unlike a midwife, doulas are not classified as medical professionals and therefore cannot administer medications.
What Do Doulas Offer?
Doulas offer advice on breathing, relaxation, movement, and positioning. Doulas also provide emotional support and comfort to women and their partners during labor, birth, and shortly after birth.
Physical Support: Doulas provide position ideas for comfort and labor progression. They provide hands-on comfort measures, such as comforting touch, counter pressure, and breathing techniques for families. Skilled hands and positioning tools of a doula can help a mal-positioned baby find its way through the pelvis and into the birthing parent’s arms.
Emotional Support: A doula can help a family by providing company, encouragement or simply talking in a soothing tone of voice. This makes the family feel supported, easing the emotional experience of birth. Whether a birth is completely un-medicated (natural), assisted, or medically complex, a family can benefit from the services of a doula.
Partner Support: Doulas are trained to support every birth partner to feel as involved as they would like with the birth. Be it a romantic partner, a friend, or a family member, the physical and emotional support makes a huge difference for everyone involved. A professional doula ensures this, as the birth partner’s experience matters a lot in birth.
Information And Resource Support: Doulas are trained to help and educate families by providing evidence-based information and resources. This helps them to ask right questions and make informed decisions. Doulas serve as a bridge of communication between pregnant women and their doctor or midwife, to ensure they get very best care.
A recent study showed that continuous doula support during labor has clinically meaningful benefits for mother and infants. Also doula support during labor was linked to shorter labors and much lower use of pain medicines, oxytocin (medicine to help labor progress), and cesarean delivery (C-Section).
Choosing A Doula
After learning what a doula does and how a doula can help, it is time to take a decision. If you want to hire one, choose a doula certified by a professional doula group. Before choosing a doula, check with your health insurance company to find out if they will cover the cost of a doula.