A Doula is a member of your birth team whose main focus is to support you: the birthing person.
Your doctor or midwife may be attending to multiple births, your delivery nurse may need to end her shift, your partner may feel unwell or need a break - but your Doula is there to provide continuous support.
Your Doula's main focus is how to make you more comfortable and to help you in having the best birth possible - even if unexpected situations arise. Your Doula knows your birth plan, and what is important to you in birth. They can advocate for you, help you ask questions, and facilitate communication between you and your care provider.
Doulas to do not replace Childbirth Education, but they do have extensive knowledge of childbirth, and can help you with comfort measures, such as changing positions, encouraging words, or setting up a safe space with soothing lighting and supportive music.
What are the benefits of having a Doula?
According to Lamaze International "Up to 45% of new mothers have reported experiencing birth trauma" (The Journal of Perinatal Education, June 2018.)
In the US, statistics on maternal mortality are still high, and the numbers are even higher for Black, Indigenous, and POC populations (Vox, 2020).
These statistics aren't meant to scare you - only to let you know that there is another way. Although there are no guarantees in birth, statistics also show that having a Doula increases birth satisfaction - as detailed on EvidenceBasedBirth.com:
"[Researchers] found that overall, people who have continuous support [from someone who was NOT a staff member at the hospital and who was NOT part of their social network] during childbirth experience a:
Doulas can also support your partner by allowing them breaks, or by bringing them food or beverage - this helps them support you better!
For more information on what Doulas do and how they can help you, check out the full article from Evidence Based Birth.
Welcome to the Holistic + Artistic Blog! I write about homesteading (gardening, beekeeping, raising chickens, preserving food, etc.), brain retraining, spiritual healing, art & crafts, and empowered birth support. My goal is to live a creative life more connected to my body and to the earth.