-What is a birth doula?
A birth doula is a person trained and experienced in childbirth who provides continuous support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth. The support is physical, emotional and informational.
-What does a doula do?
Before the baby is due, they establish a relationship that allows the mother to ask questions, express fears and concerns, and take an active role in creating a birth plan. Doulas make themselves available to the mother by phone to answer questions or explain any developments that may arise in pregnancy. Doulas do not provide medical care. They are knowledgeable in the medical aspect of labor and delivery so they can help their clients get a better understanding of procedures and complications that may arise in late pregnancy or during delivery.
During delivery, doulas remain with the mother at all times. They provide a wide array of pain relief techniques. Doulas also guide the partner in providing assistance to the mother. A doula acts as an advocate for the mother, reminding her of her desires for her birth. The goal of a doula is to help the mother have a positive and safe birth experience, whether the mother wants an un-medicated birth or not.
After the birth, doulas will spend a short time helping mothers learn breastfeeding and encouraging bonding between the new baby and family members.
-What effects does a doula have on birth outcomes?
Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth decreases the need for medical intervention. Less complications and shorter labors have also been found in clinical studies.
-What effects does the presence of a doula have on the mother?
When a doula is present during and after childbirth, women report greater satisfaction with their birth experience and are less likely to experience postpartum depression.
-What effects do the presence of doulas have on babies?
According to studies, babies born with doulas present tend to have shorter hospital stays, breastfeed more easily and have more affectionate mothers in the postpartum period.
-Does a doula replace nursing staff?
No. Doulas do not replace nurses or other medical staff. Doulas do not perform clinical or medical tasks. They are there to support and provide comfort to the mother and to enhance communication between the mother and medical professionals.
- Will a doula make my partner feel unnecessary?
No, a doula is supportive to both the mother and her partner. She helps alleviate the sense of helplessness that many partners report feeling during the labor process.