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What Is A Doula?

There can be a lot to navigate while preparing for birth and it can become overwhelming! A doula is a trained labor support specialist who is there to support you and your family throughout the birth process. While not directly responsible for any medical proceedings, a doula's primary concern is to support, educate, prepare, and comfort a mom before, during, and after labor. Most doulas have attended hundreds of births, and they know the ropes. Additionally, they are trained in many different comfort measures, breathing techniques, and can serve as excellent translators between moms and medical personnel who are sometimes difficult to understand in the intense moments of labor. Our doulas will meet with our clients 2-3 times before the birth. During these visits we will talk about what to expect for the birth, what your wishes are, develop a birth plan, go over coping skills, and anything else that needs to be addressed. We will then be on-call for the birth. Doulas often arrive well before the medical personnel, and will stay for at least an hour or two after the baby is born to help with breastfeeding. Finally, our doulas will meet with our clients at least a couple times postpartum to check-in and make sure breastfeeding and recovery is going well.

Common Misconceptions:

1. “I don’t need a Doula if I’m having a community birth.”

While Community birth Midwives do offer a lot of physical and emotional support, their primary role is for the health and safety of the birth giver and baby. Midwives cannot offer constant hands-on or emotional support throughout the labor and birth as their hands often are busy with other tasks. Having an extra pair of skilled, comforting, and compassionate hands is a huge win for mom and baby, and a doula is a perfect compliment in this situation.

2.“Everyone needs a Doula”

I don’t believe this is true. I do believe that everyone needs experienced support. Some people have Moms, Aunts, Sisters, Friends, Spouses, Partners, etc. that would be excellent to have in the birth room and can offer experienced support throughout labor. While most family members or friends likely don't possess the same scope of training, labor support specialty, and general experience that certified doulas receive, they can still be wonderful supporters. But many people simply don’t have that kind of support, family, or community. Or perhaps you have a very well-intentioned friend, but you are concerned about them being your primary support person. Not everyone is helpful and supportive throughout the labor process. Choosing your birth team is important and can effect the progression of the labor itself. If you need a professional, experienced supporter, get a doula; but if you already have that, that's fantastic!

3. “The Doula will make the partner feel left out.”

I always tell people that are worried about this that we (partner and doula) work together as a team. I am the expert on labor, but the partner is the expert on birthing person. I need your help and insight just as much as you need mine. We help each other. If you can’t handle vomit, I’ll be the one to hold the bucket. If I can’t read certain looks, you’ll be the one to translate and tell me what the needs are. We spend a lot of time in the prenatal visits talking about the roles that we want to play during labor. As I serve as a doula, my job is to help you have the birth experience you (the couple) want. It’s not about me, it’s about you!

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