Tomorrow I'm going to my first "Meet the Doula" event at a family care practice in the city. I'm so excited to share information about what doulas offer to birthing people. I wrote up a handout that covers the most basic info about what a doula is...aptly titled, "What's a Doula??", so that during my ten minute presentation, I can focus on answering questions and getting more detailed about what a doula does and doesn't do. I wanted to share my "What's a Doula??" handout with you, too! :-D Here goes...
What’s a Doula??
‘Doula’ is a Greek word for ‘women’s servant.’ There are actually two types of doulas: birth doulas, and post-partum doulas. I’m a birth doula! A birth doula is a professional non-medical labor support person. Birth doulas are trained in the normal physiology of labor and childbirth, common complications, and medical interventions, as well as a variety of proven comfort and support techniques.
Doulas are great for everybody! Before the birth, the doula is a valuable resource for information, helping the birthing person to make informed decisions regarding their care. During the birth, whether it’s a ‘natural’ (pain med-free) childbirth, or one with an epidural, a spontaneous labor in which the birthing person spends most of their labor at home, or a planned cesarean, whether the partner has taken childbirth classes with the birthing person, or there’s no partner present at all: the doula is there to support and encourage the birthing person and any support persons present, and has the tools and knowledge to do so, no matter the circumstances of their birth. Immediately after birth, the doula helps the family to get settled, and begin breastfeeding if that is their choice.
Doulas in childbirth have been extensively studied in scientific trials, and they have been found to shorten the time people spend in labor, decrease the incidence of medical interventions, including cesareans, decrease the use of pain medications, and increase satisfaction with the birth experience.
As your birth doula, I will meet with you one to two times before your birth so we can discuss the kind of birth you want to have, plan accordingly, practicing relevant comfort techniques, etc. We’ll also be in touch via phone and e-mail. I’ll be on call anytime day or night for two weeks before your due date, until the baby is born. When you believe labor is starting, we’ll be in touch, and when you feel you need my support, I’ll be there. I’ll stay with you for your entire labor and childbirth, at home, in the hospital, or in a birthing center. I’ll stay for an additional hour or two, to assist with initial breastfeeding as desired, and to make sure your family is settled, and ready for some alone time. We’ll meet one more time to discuss your birth experience, and any additional resources you may need for your postpartum period.
What do you think? Are you left with questions for the doula?? I'd love to hear them! Maybe there are things I should be mentioning that I'm leaving out! :-D