Guest post by doula, Molly Seimears photography by Renee Bergeron of Little Earthling Photography
Birth is a big deal.
Whether we experience it once or even a dozen times, each of them is a day we remember for the rest of our lives. Regardless of circumstance, whether or not we felt supported by those around us makes a huge impact in how we look back upon it.
Support is so vital in every aspect of our lives, in birth it is no different. It is a intimate and emotional time full of big decisions. It is imperative for a birthing woman to take into consideration who will be supportive of their choices when she deciding who will be with her when she births.
Many partners and friends are wonderful support in labor, but the knowledge, experience and continual support a doula provides benefits the whole birth team.
A doula is a professional non medical labor support person. Doulas support a mother and her partner physically and emotionally in pregnancy, in labor, and postpartum. They support all birth types; natural, medicated and cesarean. Most attend home and birth center births as well as ones at the hospital.
I am a doula, and I am honored to be able to support women throughout this process.
I meet with the expecting couple before the birth, getting to know them and discovering what their ideal birth may look like. Together we make a birth plan to reflect the birth the mother wants. They get to practice techniques and prepare mentally and physically for the upcoming birth.
In labor, a doula will help the mother by applying comfort techniques and helping her stay active for a more productive labor. The doula gives continuous support, helping the mother stay strong and the doctor or midwife stay fresh. She is a calming, encouraging and objective voice in the room. She helps maintain that calm atmosphere throughout labor.
Information is key.
One of my most important roles as a doula is to educate the couple on how to ask the right questions if complications arise. This helps the birthing mother stand firm in her birth plan and make the best decision for her family if circumstances require plans to change.
My support does not end once the baby is born. I also meet with new family postpartum. These appointments are a treat to new moms. As your doula, I am there for Mom, not just to oogle over the new baby. This time is to focus on you, your birth experience, and life with a newborn. I am a judgment free listening ear for this unique time in your life.
According to clinical trials, women who had continuous support in labor-and their babies- were found to be more likely to experience better birth outcomes. John H. Kennell, MD summed it up perfectly when he said, “If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.”
It is necessary to note that a doula does not replace or upstage the mother’s partner.
The mothers significant other, family member or friend is her primary birth partner, not the doula. The doula supports both of them, modeling to and assisting the birth partner, making sure they get rest as well so they can better support the mother even more effectively and sustainably.
Often referred to as a birth coach a doula can be paralleled as a personal trainer for labor. Yes, we are capable of meeting our goals without one, but the advantage from knowledge, experience, and one-on-one support often leads to better results and greater satisfaction.
A doula’s support gives you an advantage to help achieve your ideal birth.