The word doula comes for the Greek term for “a woman who serves.” Today, the term is used to describe a woman who provides ongoing physical and emotional support to a mother and her partner during labor. This support can take on many forms, and can vary from patient to patient, depending on what the mother needs.
The role of a doula generally includes:
- Assisting the mother in creating a birth plan
- Providing bedside comfort, reassurance and encouragement during labor
- Acting as a liaison between the mother and her healthcare provider
- Documenting the birth experience
- Providing assistance via massage and with breathing
- Assistance with breast feeding
Determining whether or not a doula is necessary for you is an entirely personal decision. You may want your birth experience to be one that is shared by just you and her partner. Or you may do better with someone who can be intimately involved and work to keep you and your partner connected, essentially creating the ultimate support team. And if you don’t have a partner or support person, the role of a doula can become all the more valuable; you won’t have to go through labor alone.
The three main advantages of having a doula are:
- Experience. Because a doula has helped with numerous births, she can use these experiences to provide support. Your partner may not be equipped to help in certain situations like if the baby is in an awkward position, or if you feel nauseous or anxious. A doula will have learned methods to help in these situations.
- Intuition. Doulas often have their own children, so besides attending dozens of other women’s births, they’ve experienced childbirth themselves. This knowledge gives them instincts to draw from to support you while in labor.
- Emotional objectivity. A doula is able to distance herself and look at the bigger picture during labor. This will help make decisions based on experience and the situation at hand, rather than out of emotion or fear.
Regardless of whether you plan to give birth naturally or have an epidural or C-section, a doula can be a valued person to have on hand to provide information and emotional support during this life-changing event.
To find out more about whether having a doula at your delivery is right for you, contact Women’s Care of Beverly Hills Group to learn more about our range of services: 310-657-1600.