Wednesday, 7 October 2015

What is a Doula?

The number one question, I have been asked lately is What is a Doula? The repetitiveness of this question made me realize, it's impossible for a pregnant women to want a service that she know little about! According to the dictionary definition, A Doula "is a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born." 
Okay, so does my midwife or doctor.  So why would I need a Doula?

So here's my thoughts, a Doula really is that catchall person in your support team.

  1. Educated in the expectations of your birth experience in a clear comprehension of the emotional needs a woman requires throughout this process
  2. An understanding that a women's birth experience whether it's positive or negative will stay with her for a lifetime
  3. Knowledgeable about natural comfort measures for women to maneuver through the journey as they birth their child 
  4. Create an environment that is comfortable for the intended parents; the important wording to remember is "comfortable to the intended parents". The picture could look quite different in each birthing space
  5. Continuity of care, a Doula is a coach that stay with her client throughout the experience
  6. Awareness of the scope practice, A doula is a important part of your support team and in no way shape or form is a medical practitioner. In my practice, I will not plan to be at an unassisted birth.
  7. Assist the partner in meeting the needs of the birthing mother
  8. Assisting the partner in their own individual needs
  9. Help sibling in transitioning into this new role
  10. Common knowledge of the importance and resiliency of the whole family as they come to their new norms

Personally, I see those support needs to include the above, but also to include those that are not listed yet that are important to the intended family. The questions from my client, so far at all seem to have different levels of individual importance.  My clients have expressed the following concerns: comfort measures, concerned about the possibility of another C-section, first-time births, and for birth after a silent birth, known as a rainbow birth. Each of these clients have their own needs, and it is my goal to meet the needs as each individual family requires. There are a lot of different hats the doula wears, moment by moment within the birth experience.

I hope I was able to shed a little light, and my views of what to a doula does as she travels with a family on the journey of birth. Please know that each birth experience that a doula is a part of stays in a little  space in her heart.  A doula's truly enjoy supporting women and their families in this exciting and transitional time.

A Sacred Journey, Waterloo On,
Lesley Anne, CLD, SBD and Founder of A Sacred Journey
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