as a Doula
I have atteneded 2 births, and I am incredibly honored to have been a part of them. It really is a miracle, but the process is overwhelming and tiring! I must admit after my two experiences that I have decided this path is not for me. I am, however, the biggest advocate of Birth Doulas because of the overall outcome of the experience is proven to be better for the mother and father, with fewer interventions necessary. Besides, what woman doesn’t want the company of a compassionate, understanding, devoted woman to help her through the stages of the most extreme test of her power she will likely ever have in her life?
Doulas are there to protect the experience of the birth for the mother. With a doula, the parents to be would discuss what their birth plan is, what interventions they would and would not want, and learn comfort measures and relaxation techniques. Birth doulas will arrive when labor begins and stay with you until delivery. It’s the consistent care that makes it amazing – when there are nurse shift changes or the doc has to leave for some reason, the doula (along with the partner) is there to advocate the birth plan to any new staff. She’s also there to assist the father – get him doing the comfort stuff, suggest things during the labor, and give him a break when he needs it.
It’s easy for doctors to talk over the laboring mother to the partner – and the doula is there to make sure that doesn’t happen, that the mother’s wishes are carried out. We aren’t making decisions, we are simply there to include and remind, and help the mother to make an informed choice in case there are changes to the birth plan.
During the pregnancy, usually there will be two 2-3 hour meetings to get to know each other and what your expectations are. Your Doula will have a huge amount of resources, and instead of “giving advice”, will give you information so you can then make the decisions. Then there’s about 1-2 hours of post-partum assistance after delivery, and one post partum visit at home. The doula is usually trained in lactation and breastfeeding and will assist with that if you want.
Basically it’s been proven that there are less medical interventions and a higher rate of postive experience with a doula, both for the mother and the father. Midwives and obstetricians are recognizing the impact that doulas have and are usually very receptive to having one. Giving birth is a rite of passage for a woman, one that is very intimate and sensual, and extremely empowering, and I believe that every woman deserves to have a woman there from start to finish solely for protecting that experience.
Position Paper for DONA International Birth Doula Certification