Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What is a doula?

I had no clue what a doula was. Then two moms both raved about their doula. As soon as my husband heard the other husbands rave about their doulas, he was sold and instantly made me call her and hire her. The story that got me was the couple that went for the cessation with a breach baby. Of course that was not in their birth plan but they said that the doula kept them both calm and turned it into an embracing and positive experience where it would have been horrifying without her. I had a doula for my first birth and she was priceless.  And of course she shared her wonderful pregnancy tea recipe with me! I will speak more about her when it is my turn to tell my birth story. For my second birth, my midwife told me not to have a doula because she (psychic or really talented?) predicted how fast my labor would be and told me that as soon as my contracts started, I needed to run to the hospital and that she would be at my side the entire time! It was true!

Here is some information about doulas from DONA Interational:

What is a Doula? The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.

A Birth Doula
  • Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
  • Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
  • Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
  • Stays with the woman throughout the labor
  • Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decision
  • Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
  • Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience
  • Allows the woman's partner to participate at his/her comfort level
A birth doula certified by DONA International is designated by the initials CD(DONA).Research evidence shows that the quality services of a postpartum doula can ease the transition that comes with the addition of a baby to a family, improve parental satisfaction and reduce the risk of mood disorders.

A Postpartum Doula

  • Offers education, companionship and nonjudgmental support during the postpartum fourth trimester
  • Assists with newborn care, family adjustment, meal preparation and light household tidying
  • Offers evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, infant soothing and coping skills for new parents and makes appropriate referrals when necessary
A postpartum doula certified by DONA International is designated by the initials PCD(DONA).

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