What is a doula?
A doula is a term for a person who supports others through a major life experience. The word is drawn from ancient Greek for "servant". For our purposes, a birth doula is a not a medical professional, but a medically-informed person, trained to provide continuous emotional and physical support for mothers and their partners during the birthing process. A doula is an advocate for the mother and her wishes in the hospital. A doula can also provide the equally vital services of pre-birth education as well as post-partum support.
In scientific studies, a doula's assistance at birth has been shown to reduce the likelihood of c-sections, reduce the need for medications or other interventions like forceps, vacuum-assist, or episiotomy, increase satisfaction of the birthing and post-partum experience, shorten the length of labor, and even increase satisfaction between mother and her partner.* You can read more about the evidence for doulas from Evidence Based Birth and AmericanPregnancy.org,
My ultimate goals as a doula are to:
1. Equip you with knowledgeable of the birth process in order help you and your partner (if there is one) to be mentally and emotionally prepared for various outcomes.
2. Inform you of the risks and benefits of various medical and non-medical interventions.
3. Give you a tool box of comfort measures and assist you in finding what works best for you.
4. Empower you to make decisions about your birthing process and as much as you desire, I will advocate on your behalf for your wishes be honored as much as medically possible.
I am certified by Childbirth International as a birth doula. Childbirth International Training is the only birth and lactation training organization accredited with distinction as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.
*Birthing from Within by Pam England, pg. 209
Do I need a doula if I have a partner?
A doula can be a great relief not only to the mother, but to the partner as well. Partners need to use the restroom, eat, and sleep. Unless you are having a homebirth, in which you have a midwife dedicated solely to you, in the hospital the midwives must divide their attention among many mothers. If there are other children to take care of, the partner will need to divide attention for them. A doula's presence makes sure that there is always someone to support the mother at those times. A partner who has never been in a birth situation might be distressed at seeing the mother in an unusual state and a doula can help reassure the partner in those situations. A doula can help give the partner techniques of how to provide comfort to the mother. And lastly, in the event that the couple must be separated during the birth, the partner can go with the baby and the doula can stay with the mother, if so desired.