There are many misconceptions of what a birth doula is. We are not a midwife, a medical provider, or only for certain minded group of women. We don’t advocate for the mom or replace the partner. We aren’t a luxury. So then what is a doula?
- We support provide emotional, educational, and physical support to the birthing mom and partner during pregnancy, labor, and birth.
One of my favorite ways to describe a doula when we get confused with a Midwife is that the Midwife focuses on below the waist and Doulas focus on above the waist. Doulas do not perform medical procedures (such as checking dilation, fetal monitoring), give medical advice, or catch the baby.
What we do is provide parents with resources and evidence-based research on various topics related to labor and birth so that they can make a fully informed decision if a situation is presented to them. We also provide emotional and physical support to mom and partner during labor with various comfort techniques.
- A Doula supports all types of families and births.
Many people believe that a Doula is only for families who want an “all-natural” birth. A Doula is a great help for all family no matter the type of birth or setting. We attend hospital births, home births, vaginal (medicated and unmedicated), Cesarean (scheduled and unscheduled), water births, adoption, surrogacy, the list goes on and on. If you are having a baby- we will be there. Our goal is to walk with you on your journey – support and empower you – no matter what your goals are.
- A Doula doesn’t just support Mom.
A Doula provides support to mom, partner, siblings, grandparents, and anyone else on this journey. Whether it’s education for the family or support in the birthing room, this is a team effort.
Doulas help to enhance the Partner’s experience of the birth. It’s up to Mom and the Partner on what a Doula’s role in their birth will be. Do you want them to stay off to the side, allowing the Partner to coach, and provide suggestions as needed? Do you want the Doula to step in so the Partner can take a break? Or do you want the Doula to provide most of the support so the Partner can really focus on Mom and the birth itself? This is YOUR birth journey. You decide what will help your family the best way.
- A Doula empowers Mom and Partner to have a voice.
During prenatal visits, Doulas can help parents prepare a list of their birth wishes (better known as a Birth Plan, but let’s face it – very few births go as “planned”). That way everyone on the birth team is on the same page and understand the wants and needs of the mother and partner. During labor and birth, Doulas have a really great way of reminding parents of what their birth wishes are. If a situation arises where things may be deviating from their wishes, Doula can remind parents to take a minute to discuss their. Doulas do not make the choice for Mom and Partner. Doulas do not speak to medical staff on behalf of the parents. Instead, Doulas help parents find their voice and have the confidence to advocate and make decisions for themselves.
- Doulas are not a luxury.
I truly believe that every woman who wants a doula should have one and that there is a Doula for every woman who wants one. Mom just needs to do their research and ask around for the type of doula they need. Several doulas should be interviewed to see who the mom clicks with. Don’t be afraid to ask in the interview if the Doula will do a payment plan with you. See what can be worked out.
2 thoughts on “What is a Birth Doula?”
Very interesting. I never even heard of a doula until I became pregnant and scoured every end of the internet world, but I still wasn’t sure. I don’t think that my delivery room would allow a doula as I’m only allowed to have 3 people with me, and we’ve decided on our moms, and my husband.
Still a lot to think about.
Congratulations on your pregnancy! You never know- sometimes hospitals or providers won’t count the doula or partner as a “person”. Double check with them :-). Lots of things to think about when it comes to the big day! Take your time and do what’s best for YOU. xoxo