Today many pregnant women are learning about doulas. Doula is a Greek word meaning a woman servant. In the beginning of the modern use of the word doula, it was used to mean “mothering the mother” to help her get off to a good start breastfeeding. Soon, it was taken up by Marshall Klauss to apply to all aspects of childbirth from labor and delivery to postpartum care. Today, the word doula is used in conjunction with labor/birth or postpartum. A labor/birth doula would help women during childbirth, while a postpartum doula assists with the care of the mother and family during the postpartum period helping her to rest as she cares for her new baby.
In the role of labor support, I provide support for the mother with the knowledge that birth is a life experience that becomes part of a mother’s memory for life. I support the mother through labor and delivery. Knowledge comes from experience and research.
What does a labor or birth doula do?
The birth doula provides non-medical physical, emotional, and informational support for women and their partners during labor and birth. (DONA position paper) During labor she provides non-medical comfort measures such as suggestions for positions, touch, and breathing. To learn more about what a doula should provide, you can read information on various certifying organizations who train doulas. I am not certified through any particular organization, however there are several that provide training.
What do I offer?
I offer a no obligation meeting to discuss what you are looking for. There is no pressure to decide at the meeting to use my services. It is important to choose a doula that meets your needs and who you feel comfortable with. I suggest meeting more than one and choosing the person you ‘click’ with and feel you want to share this experience with.
My fee includes a ‘practice time’ for mom and I to go over comfort measures, practice them and discuss what the mother’s preferences are. Telephone contact is maintained throughout the pregnancy to help form a bond and relationship of trust and to give me a chance to be sure I understand exactly what your wishes are. During ‘practice time’ other family members who will be at the birth are welcome to be there so they too can have a chance to learn what to expect and how to help during labor. The doula also supports Dad and others who may be part of the support system during birthing. By offering suggestions and guidance for what may work best, the doula helps everyone supporting mother feel more relaxed and comfortable in his role of labor support.