The role of a Doula can be compared to a best friend (a knowledgeable one) attending all the phases of pregnancy and postpartum with you. The comfort of a Doula during pregnancy and after your child’s birth provides that experienced support and shared care families used to provide. Most new mothers are not prepared to face complications that may arise with the baby. And what about your health in recovery? “A recent study in America, called the 4th Trimester Project, found that new moms very often aren’t aware of possible complications, are too embarrassed to discuss their symptoms, and have no clue there are treatments that could help them. They get just one medical visit six weeks after birth, and that’s often woefully insufficient for the issues they’re dealing with.”
The personal connection with a Doula can include diet and exercise, help in labour, and full support of the family, including care of siblings at time of delivery. Many women are inspired to become Doula’s because of the unpleasant experiences they have had surrounding their own child’s birth and after care.
The personal connection with a Doula can include diet and exercise, help in labour, and full support of the family, including care of siblings at time of delivery. Many women are inspired to become Doula’s because of the unpleasant experiences they have had surrounding their own child’s birth and after care. I have stated in a previous article, Are You Ready for your First Baby?, that a midwife deliveries babies; a doula mothers the mother.
Doulas are reconnecting the lost family circle of support, care and wisdom. They provide all the ‘little things’ that have been lost in our medical system. It might be applying counter-pressure during a contraction at home, applying a wet cloth on your head, or taking photographs so your partner can be fully engaged in the birthing process. A Doula also provides a sense of calm in conversations about all aspects of pregnancy including the normal feelings of various stages of delivery, and preparation for unexpected events, like an unplanned caesarean, premature birth, or vaginal tearing. They can help set up the nursery, travel to the hospital with you, or be present for a home-birth, with or without a midwife, as you need. Building trust throughout the pregnancy they may even form part of your decision processes around home birth, or the use of a midwife, or hospital procedures such as epidurals and caesarean sections.
After the birth a Postpartum Doula continues that hands on level of care for the mother. Processing the birthing process often provides a peaceful beginning to new changes at home. A Doula offers non-judgmental support for the family, but experience identifies signs of depression, and even tension between husband and wife. They provide guidance and support to keep physical and mental care a priority, helping to create a nurturing & quiet environment for the family. They focus on sleep solutions, they may run errands, and care for the baby while you take a shower. They provide hands-on education on baby care, too, such as bathing, breast or bottle feeding, and sleep positions for baby.
One of the biggest benefits of working with a Doula is the calm presence and reassurance new moms often need.
One of the biggest benefits of working with a Doula is the calm presence and reassurance new moms often need. Studies have found incidence of postpartum depression dramatically reduced when a Doula is involved in the home. Current medical insurance does not cover Doula services, but like many other alternative healthcare services, the confidence you have in being charge of your own health is well worth it.