Do you want to be fully supported during your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period? Do you want someone in the birthing room solely dedicated to providing you comfort and experienced information?
Do you want to have the best possible birth experience? A doula may be right for you!!
A certified birth doula is a trained and experienced professional who is hired to assist with birth. A doula meets with her client and birth partner two to three times during pregnancy to learn their personalities, hopes and fears, and past experiences with birth. Birth plans, basic childbirth education, community resources, interventions, comfort techniques, and newborn care may be discussed during these prenatal meetings. A doula comes to the birthing woman during labor, remains until the baby is born, and stays an hour or two afterwards. Examples of the types of support a doula may provide during labor include, but are not limited to:
- Massage and touch
- Encouragement of mobility, motion, and vocalizations
- Counterpressure on low back and hips
- Position suggestions for labor and pushing
- Assistance with breathing, relaxation, and tension release
- Heat and/or cold to ease discomforts
- Encouragement to use water, including shower and/or tub
- Verbal praise and feedback
- Reframe thoughts, fears, and feelings during labor, if needed
- Continuous presence with main role of supporting mom
- Assistance with decisions during labor
- Encourage partner to take bathroom and meal breaks, and rest if possible
- Leave the medical tasks (i.e., blood pressure, heart tones, etc) to the nurses, doctors, and midwives
Doulas support women and their partners regardless of the type of birth they are planning, whether that be in a home, hospital, or birth center, if they plan to use pain medication or not, and if they decide to bottle feed or breastfeed. In other words, doulas support you in the type of birth YOU want!
After the baby is born, doulas visit within the first week or two to assist with basic breastfeeding concerns, discuss the mother and couple’s adaptation to a new baby, and discuss their thoughts about the birth experience. For more continuous support during the postpartum period, consider hiring a postpartum doula.
As the birth of your baby is one of the most memorable experiences of your life, consider hiring a doula to assist you with your birth! “A woman, as long as she lives, will remember how she was made to feel at her birth.” ~Anna Verwaal
Stay tuned for Part 2, where I will discuss how to find a doula!
About the Author
Kelli Brus CD(DONA) is a mom of two wonderful girls and has been married to her husband since 2007. She lives in Urbandale and is currently taking a break from teaching with Des Moines Public Schools to take care of her little ones and focus on doula work. After her second birth experience, attended by a doula, she knew this was the type of work she wanted to do. She is certified through DONA International (Doulas of North America) and is part of the Central Iowa Doula Association (CIDA). Making sure all moms have support and respect during their birth experiences is so meaningful to Kelli and why she is so dedicated to doula work.