When you are working in the "Birth Realm", there are a lot of references and positions that you have to become familiar with. I work with a lot of different people: Nurses, OBGYNs, Midwives, Doula's etc. I have learned that very few people are familiar with the essential tasks and goals of these positions and especially the type of resources that are available to birthing mothers and families because of these professionals. So, let's take a look at one of the most misunderstood positions: Doula's
If someone walked up to me today and asked, "What is a Doula?" My response would be:
The support you didn't know you needed!
I recently completed my very own doula training program with my dear friend Trisha (@trishbaird) She is absolutely wonderful! She is one of the busiest doulas in Southern Utah because of her incredible knowledge of supports and information regarding birth. I learned so much from her class, and some of it helped me to construct the information I will be sharing with you.
What is a doula?
Well, they are NOT medical professionals, they do not do medical procedures. They provide support in the following areas: Emotional, Physical, Informational and as a Advocate for the family's choices in birth.
Doulas want to give the family and mother a sense of peace. To feel that they are being cared for and also to help give a sense of pride after birth. Emotional support could be: Praise, positivity, or support in helping families overcome fear and self doubt.
A Doula is aware and provides as much physical support as possible. Some examples of this would be: Dimming the lights, feeding the mother ice, doing counter pressure during labor, massaging, etc. The goal in this area is to help create and maintain a calm environment.
This is when a doula can explain medical procedures before they occur to help give suggestions and solutions. This area is also where a doula can help a significant other or spouse understand what is happening during birth. From the information I was taught, this informational support is evidence based information on different birth options and supports.
A doula will support the birthing mother & family in the right to make decisions about their own body and baby. Many times, particularly in hospital scenarios, Nurses and Doctors have a small blindspot to addressing decisions and options for the family. It's understandable because they are just trying to do their job of taking care of you and the baby. But sometimes decisions are not provided or they are rushed without giving additional informational support to the family. A doula acts as a great 3rd party to deliver information, and options to families. Sometimes a different view is all that's needed to help create a wonderful and safe experience for everyone.
All birth is beautiful! There is not a right or wrong way to support a birthing family. Every situation is unique and needs different supports. Understanding options and goals of the positions involved is important to maintaining the environment for each family.
So, what is a doula? Someone who has experienced birth from many lenses. They have support for whatever that birth may need. They are there for the family. They understand that you will never have the same birth twice. A Doula is an expert in supporting birth and can help you with your needs in these four areas. If you are still curious about more of what a Doula can offer, I suggest for you to contact Trisha with your questions. She is so full of knowledge and experiences! I have no doubt that she can help you find answers!