Doula comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” in which today refers to a trained and experienced caretaker who provides continual physical, emotional, practical and informational support to the mother before, during, and just after childbirth. The role comes with several different titles; labor companion, labor support specialist, labor support professional, birth assistant, or labor assistant. Doula-client (mother) relationships typically begin several months before the baby is due which aids in building a relationship.There are three ways in which doulas practice;
1. some work as volunteers in community or hospital programs
2. others may be employed by a hospital
3. some mothers may hire privately.
Clinical studies have discovered that having a birth assistant present during and after childbirth, mothers express greater satisfaction with the birthing experience, have fewer cesareans and requests for medical intervention and less postpartum depression. Birth assistants also have positive effects on babies, in which they have shorter hospital stays and even breastfeed more easily. Throughout the pre-delivery phase the mother is free to ask questions, express concerns and play an active role in developing a birth plan.
Does your birth plan include a home birth?
If you are having a low risk pregnancy, you may want to discuss a homebirth with your Doula. There are many benefits to having a home birth. Being surrounded by loved ones is often on the top of the list for many. Including children, family and friends in the birth process opens doors for connection and intimacy. Another benefit home birth provides is immediate bonding and breastfeeding which helps the mother stop bleeding and clears mucus from the baby’s nose and mouth. Some may be attracted to the significant decrease in cost than in a hospital. Whichever route you choose to bring your new life into the world, there are many options available to you and consulting a professional can be of great benefit to help you create your most desired experience.
Click here for helpful tips on how to find a doula.