What is a Doula?
Sarah recently embarked on becoming a Doula and upon completion of her training she has been often faced with the question “So what is Doula and what do you actually do?”. Find out why the role of the Doula is becoming popular in Delivery Rooms across Hospitals and Birth Centers around the world!
What is the origin of the name Doula?
The word Doula is of Greek origin and means Women who serve other Women in Childbirth.
What is the role of a Doula in Prenatal Care?
The Doula’s primary purpose is to offer emotional and physical support during Prenatal, Labor and Delivery and PostNatal stages of childbirth. During Prenatal Care the Doula’s role can range from discussing and aiding the birth plan to practicing pain coping techniques and exploring positions for labor. Usually a Doula will meet with the expectant Mother and Partner at least once or twice to get to know each other and ensure the Mother feels supported in the next stage.
What is the role of a Doula in Labor and Delivery?
During Labor and Delivery, the Doula acts like a labor coach. Depending on the service an individual Doula offers, they will either join the laboring Women in early or active Labor at home or directly at the Hospital/ Birthing Center. The Doula will suggest different techniques to help move through the contractions based on the unique Mothers needs and desires. The Doula often suggests trying natural methods like taking a warm shower, getting the tub or using the birthing ball. Breath coaching or visualization is also a technique the Doula will guide to coach a contraction. Massage is another option that the Doula might suggest or guide the partner to apply. If the Laboring Women chooses intervention such as pain medication, it is not the role of the Doula to stand in her way. However, the Doula might encourage her be educated on the procedure and the outcome by inquiring and directing questions to the medical staff. Ultimately the Doula supports the Mother decision regardless of their own philosophy.
What is the role of a Doula in Postnatal Care?
It is common for the Doula to make 1 or 2 PostNatal visits to check in on Mother and baby and also to close out the journey together. The Doula might retell the Birth Story to Mom and Partner. She might even check in with how breast feeding is going and offer resources if needed.