Throughout the 12 months (yes, I said 12 months! Three months reserved for the postpartum period) a doula is there, providing knowledgeable care in all stages of motherhood. Whether you are a first time mom or a seasoned mother of many, the support of a doula can be priceless. Here is a list of just some of the reasons of why you may want to hire a doula.
1. Educational Support
Preparing for labor and birth can be overwhelming. There's a lot of information out there that can leave you wondering what to do during labor. A doula is there to help you navigate the waters that is all that information and help you prepare a plan that works for you and your family. Help going through everything beforehand with someone who is trained and dedicated to supporting you is very valuable.
2. Physical Support
Picture this. You have been in labor for several hours. Your contractions are picking up. You call your doula. You then hear your doula arrive, quietly walk in and put a steady firm hand on your lower back. After your contraction ends her soft voice tells you 'you're doing great'. Relief. A doula has been trained in comfort measures during childbirth. It could be a forehead rub during a scheduled cesarean or a hand to hold and assist you during the placing of the epidural. Whether it's a massage to relax you or distract you, getting you into a better labor position, or applying counter-pressure and hip squeezes, your doula will work to meet your needs during labor and birth.
3. Emotional Support
A doula will be by your side, encouraging and caring for you every step of the way. Labor can become overwhelming even for the most prepared couple. A doula can be there with encouraging words and phrases to get you through those difficult contractions.
4. Partner Support
When it comes to pregnancy, birth, and parenting, today's father wants to share everything with her. He wants to be actively involved; ease her labor pain, welcome his baby at the moment of birth and help care for his newborn at home. A doula can help a father experience this special time with confidence. She can provide the information to help parents make appropriate decisions and facilitate communication between the laboring woman, the father and medical care providers. With a doula, a father can share in the birth at a level he feels most comfortable with. The doula’s skills and knowledge can help him to feel more relaxed. If the father wants to provide physical comfort such as back massage, change of positions, and help her to stay focused during contractions, the doula can provide that guidance and make suggestions for what may work best.
5. Postpartum Support
The first few days after the birth many moms want assistance with newborn care. A doula can help you during those hours and days after birth. A doula assists you with the first feeding. Taking a few pictures and making sure your postpartum wishes are being done. A doula also follows up with you a few days after birth to talk with you about the birth and and answer any questions or concerns you may have. Doula's also provide local resources if you want or need support from a lactation counselor or other other professionals in the community.
Having someone attending your birth who has been trained and is confident in what they are doing is wonderfully reassuring. They will help you know what is normal, what to expect, and when to go to the hospital or birth center if you are birthing outside of your home. Doulas work together and unobtrusively with all members of the birth team. That can be your partner, midwife, nurse or OB.
...and most importantly...
7. Unbiased, non-judgmental support
Having a home birth? Hospital birth? Planning on getting an epidural? Scheduling a cesarean? Wanting a vbac? Non-medicated labor? Great! A doula supports all births and supports you through your own unique birth experience.
Contact Jessica Schanaman Doula Services to experience this kind of birth support!