If you’re pregnant and looking into care options, you might be wondering, what is a doula and why do you need one?
A doula is a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to a mother before, during and after childbirth.
A doula does not replace the obstetrician or midwife but acts as a partner to them. They provide an extra set of hands for the doctor or midwife to care for the mother.
Doulas also offer physical comfort such as massages and back rubs as well as emotional support such as reassurance. Doulas can be seen as a birth coach who helps mothers with safe delivery of their child.
What is the difference between a doula vs midwife?
A midwife is a medically-trained, primary health care provider that replaces the role of an OB. Alternately, a doula is an experienced pregnancy and birth coach offering support alongside your midwife or obstetrician, not replacing them.
What Do Doulas do?
A doula will talk about your birthing goals with you and advocate for you and your needs. They will also make sure that the laboring mother is as comfortable as possible throughout the process using various techniques such as massage, relaxation, back rubs and music. A doula will also provide emotional support and reassurance. Once baby is born, a doula will often assist the new mother with postpartum recovery. They may offer light housekeeping and breastfeeding support in the first few weeks.
How to Choose a Doula for Pregnancy & Birth Support
With so many options, it is difficult for a pregnant woman to choose the right doula for herself. They need to be aware of what type of support they want and what the doula is capable of offering.
The following are some features and benefits of hiring a doula:
– Provides emotional and physical support, especially in childbirth.
– Helps make decisions when needed.
– Helps during labor and birth with pain management techniques like massage, touch, breathing exercises etc.
– Supports after birth with breastfeeding coaching and other postpartum support needs like meal prep, housekeeping etc.
– Provides non-judgmental space for communication and sharing thoughts about pregnancy/birth with a mother who may not have anyone else to talk to
More Than Just Childbirth Support
The postpartum period can be an emotional and physical time for new mothers. It is important to know what kind of care they will receive before the baby is born.
Postpartum care can involve different kinds of services. Moms may need plenty of help around the house during the first few weeks after the birth. Some women may want to take time off from work, while others might want emotional support for postpatrum depression or anxiety disorders.
Final Thoughts on Working with a Doula
People often wrongly assume that doulas don’t do much, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Doulas provide much-needed support to a pregnant mother before and after birth. They help during labour and provide postpartum care and breastfeeding advice if needed, and can help the family adapt to life with baby at home.
It is difficult to imagine going through childbirth without a supportive person by your side. A doula can be a great companion during this difficult time, and it is important that you find the best one for you.
In order to make an informed decision on who to hire, it is important that you do research on your options. Interview potential candidates or ask your friends and other mothers about their experience with doulas. Ask as many questions as you need, to ensure you’ll be comfortable and confident in your choice of doula.
Here are some of the top rated doulas: