What does a doula do?
Doulas provide continuous labor support, focused on the birthing person, with an emphasis on the birthing person’s wishes and emotional well-being.
Labor support looks different for each birthing person in the areas of physical, emotional and informational support, and advocacy.
Massage, counter pressure and robozo
Calming atmosphere through preparation and presence
Recommendations and support in positioning
Supplying food, drink, ice chips
Water based interventions such as use of a tub, shower, damp cloths, or focusing ritual.
Focus on birthing person
Use of birthing person’s prepared mantras or affirmations
Support in locating evidence based information in preparation of birth
Guidance through birth process
Explanation of birth process and interventions
Suggestion of techniques through labor process
Labor signs and progress
Support for partner in understanding labor process and birthing person’s experience
Explanation of interventions and medical information
Encouraging the birthing person and partner in following their birth plan
Asking the birthing person what they want
Ensuring that the birthing person’s voice and desires are heard
Providing space for the birthing person and partner to discuss needed interventions or changes to birth plan
Facilitating communication between parents and care givers
Explaining interventions as they are happening
Your birth plan can include any or all of these supports and many others. This is your birth experience and it’s my job to adjust to your needs and wishes throughout the process.
This Evidenced Based Birth article about doulas opened my eyes to the concrete impact of this service. Doulas are more than cheerleaders, moral support, and encouragement. Doulas increase rates of spontaneous labor, decrease duration of labor, and increase the success of breastfeeding attempts. They help you to feel calmer and more able to handle birth, and feel less pain and anxiety in the process.