Thursday, May 23, 2013

What Does a Doula Do?

The majority of my friends are excited that I'm in the process of becoming a doula, but the majority of them have no idea what a doula is or what it is that I'll be doing as a doula.

One friend wants me to be her doula to "deliver her baby"
Doulas don't do that.

Another said she'd like me there to help her talk to the doctors.
Doulas don't do that either.

And yet another wants me there to help her figure out what to do.
Doulas don't really do that either.

So what, exactly, does a doula do?

A doula is a non-medical support person for the laboring woman and her partner. Because a doula is a "non medical" she cannot prescribe or recommend medications or interventions. She also cannot help in any aspect of the birth (delivering the baby, handing surgical tools to the OB). She's there solely as a support to the mother and her partner.

A doula is professional trained in childbirth and provides emotional, physical and informational support to the mother who is expecting, is experiencing labor, or has recently given birth. The doula’s purpose is to help women have a safe, memorable and empowering birthing experience.

A doula recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life. She facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers

A doula will show support by looking into a woman's eyes while she's having contractions, matching her breathing to the mothers'. A doula will offer massage, aromatherapy, essential oil therapy, or simply hold and stroke the hand of the mother.

A doula will work with the couple or mother during prenatal appointments to help craft a Birth Vision (Birth Plan)

A doula encourages and supports the partner, allowing them to break for naps and stays with the mother during those times.

A doula helps the couple understand various comfort measures and teaches the partner how to do them with the laboring woman.

A doula is encouraging and comforting.

A doula informs the expecting parents on all aspects of birth, labor and encourages the couple to learn about medical interventions and assess which interventions the couple is comfortable with.

A doula is patient, sincere, kind and compassionate.

When labor can last anywhere from 12-48 hours (and sometimes longer!) A doula provides constant and uninterrupted support if only through tender touch.

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