A few days ago I wrote a post on what a doula doesn’t do. Today, I’d like to talk to you about what a doula does do. The word “doula” is Greek for servant. And that’s exactly what a doula is to the family she’s supporting.
1. I will help you make educated and informed decisions
After meeting with you and seeing what type of birth you desire, I can help suggest different books, articles, videos, and even people to research, study, and talk to. I am available from the moment you hire me to answer questions, ease doubts, and calm fears. I will not make decisions for you, but will instead support you so that you can make the decisions yourself.
2. I will help you advocate for yourself
I will respect you and your choices throughout our time together so that you (and your husband) can feel strong enough to advocate for yourself. I won’t speak on your behalf, but I will encourage you to speak up, ask questions, and voice concerns.
3. I will provide comfort measures
From squeezing hands, to applying lower back counter pressure, to finding the doctor so you can get an epidural, and everything in between. My main concern during labor is your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. This means I will do whatever it takes for you to feel safe and comfortable during labor. We might find what works for you relatively quickly, or we might have to experiment with different techniques. Either way, I’m here for you. Here are just a few things I’ve done as a doula:
– lower back counter pressure
-run hot baths and showers
-spoken words of affirmation and encouragement
-physically supported women through transition and delivery
4. I will support your birth plan
You want to have a home birth? I support that. You want to have a planned induction? I support that. You want to give birth in the tub? I support that. You want the epidural at the first sign of labor? I support that. You want to have a planned cesarean birth? I support that. You see, it doesn’t matter what your birth plan says, or how much it may differ from my own, I am here to support YOUR plan. I honestly don’t care what your birth plan is; I just care that you feel respected and empowered. Because we are all capable of doing the research, educating ourselves, and making the choice best for us and our family.
5. I will support you when labor does not go as planned
Unfortunately, a doula does not guarantee that everything will be smooth sailing. Yes, women who have a doula in attendance are 40% less likely to need pitocin, 60% less likely to need pain management, and 50% less likely to need a cesarean.
A doula is not a miracle worker and cannot control all aspects of labor and delivery. What I can do is offer unlimited support when things aren’t going as planned. I will hold you up physically, emotionally and mentally. I will be by your side, telling you that I understand your frustration and that you have every right to feel that way…but don’t you dare give up because you are the strongest woman I know. I’ll tell you that it takes a special strength that only a mother can possess to lay down your own desires for the sake of your child. Do I hope you have the birth of your dreams? Absolutely. Will I be there for you to lean on when things aren’t going as planned? You better believe it.
So there you go. Five things I do as a doula. Did you have a doula? What did they do that helped you the most?