What does a doula do?
So Here we are...
You've done your research, talked to your care providers, chatted with your friends who've previously birthed, and they're all pointing you in the same direction.
Hire a doula.
By now you're aware of the statistics supporting the effectiveness of continuous doula support, know that doulas provide prenatal, postpartum, and breastfeeding information and resources, as well as work and advocate solely for you and your family, all while supporting you in your ideal birth as you define it.
But what exactly does a doula do, when your birthing time has arrived?
Doulas stay in touch
Through email, text, or phone, we offer insight and support. There are not many people in the world who get excited when awoken to a call or message at 3:00 am, stating, "Not sure if my water broke, or if I just peed myself?" Doulas are the types of folks who not only love to help you figure this stuff out, but have experience in doing so.
Doulas show up
When you call, we come! Be it in during the wee hours of the morning when you're contractions are becoming steady and growing in intensity, or in the middle of the day when your water suddenly broke. Whatever the circumstance, no matter the hour, we show up for you.
Doulas listen, step back, and tune in
You are the one birthing your baby, and you know what's best for you and your family. We simply fill in the blanks. As much as doulas live, breathe, and love birth, a good doula will never override you and your process, or the support of your partner. Sometimes a doulas' role is simply to step back, and witness the amazing work that you are doing, giving a knowing smile and a gentle nod: non verbally letting you know that you've got this, all is normal, and that you are doing an incredible job of birthing your baby.
Doulas are part of a team
As experienced birth professionals, doulas offer support not only to Mama, but to her partner as well! It's not just Mama, but her partner as well, who benefits from hearing, "this is totally normal... you're doing an amazing job...just like that." Doulas are able to gently guide partners throughout the labour process, spell them off for food, washroom and rest breaks, all while helping them feel confident and empowered in their unique abilities as the Mama's number one support.
From physical support while getting in and out of the tub during labour, to information and resources while making important health care decisions, to a helping hand for your partner as we give you the "double hip squeeze" during a contraction, or assisting a Mama in maintaining her mobility after an epidural, doulas offer all forms of physical, emotional, and educational support throughout your labour and birth.
Doulas stay by your side
Congratulations to the growing family, and happy birthday Baby! However your immediate postpartum looks like, your doula is there to assist, be it early breastfeeding support, tidying up after a homebirth or helping you settle into your recovery room at the hospital.
A few more things along the way...
- Birth planning through education, talking through both common and emergency scenarios, and writing a "birth plan"
- De-briefing previous births, and talking through emotional blockages that may come up during labour
- Massage, acupressure, and other comfort measures
- Optimal fetal positioning and suggesting positions and changes to help ease labour and allow contractions to become more effective
- Provide reassurance, emotional comfort, and encouragement
- Setting your ‘environment’ through aromatherapy, music, candles etc.
- Assisting you and your partner with making unexpected decisions, and negotiating care options with the hospital staff
- Photography and video if that is your preference