A doula’s sole purpose is to make you and your partner feel secure and supported throughout your pregnancy journey. The word “doula” is a Greek word used to describe a higher level of servant that would have been responsible for the woman of the house, her pregnancy, and her babies. Today, the word refers to a professionally trained person who assists you and your family during pregnancy, birth, as well as the postpartum period.
If you think you and your partner could use some physical, emotional, and informational support, you might want to consider hiring a doula!
Your doula can help ease the physical pains and discomforts of pregnancy—they’re well-versed in massage and breathing techniques, as well as what sleeping, sitting, and birthing positions will make you the most comfortable. They can help move your labor along, identify back pain and apply the right counter pressure to ease your discomfort. It’s incredibly common for pregnant women to hold their breath or breathe too shallow, but your doula can guide you to comfort and keep you from passing out.
Even if you plan on having an epidural, a doula can make sure you feel comfortable at home leading up to labor, or even help in the hospital by making sure you’re resting in the best positions for you. During the pushing stage of labor, your doula can offer suggestions to make things easier, as well as encourage you while you push.
They’ll make sure your partner is handling everything okay, and make sure everyone involved is eating, drinking plenty of water, and staying comfortable.
Your doula is there to get to know you and really understand what you’re going through—even if they haven’t had a baby themselves, they know exactly what it means to be cared for, listened to, and supported. They’re meant to serve as a shoulder for you to cry on and an empathetic third-party listener for you and your partner. They are nurturing, calm, and confident even when things seem chaotic and overwhelming.
They’ll talk you through any questions you have about pregnancy, labor, and life postpartum. Your doula can work through anything that you’re anxious or stressed about with you. They are meant to serve as a nonjudgmental expert, offering whatever it is you might need.
A doula knows what questions to ask. They’ll constantly encourage open and honest discussions between you and your doctor or midwife. They’ll offer up-to-date and evidence-based resources to help you make decisions along the way. Not only can they offer up expert information and advice, but they can translate medical jargon so you always know what’s going on. A doula is equipped to teach prenatal classes to help you better understand birth and breastfeeding. They serve as a much better resource than sifting through thousands of unhelpful Google searches.
Breastfeeding can be overwhelming and frustrating for a lot of new parents, but a doula will help you with the first latch after birth, as well as offer general help and information when you get home with your baby. Your doula will also support you without question if you decide not to breastfeed—they’re an unbiased and nonjudgmental support person for you and your partner, whatever decisions you make.
Things to Consider
Not everyone wants extra support during labor, especially if you’ve already chosen a friend or family member to offer support in the delivery room. Most hospitals have a strict limit on how many support people you’re allowed to have.
Your financial situation is something to consider when deciding whether or not you want to hire a doula—they can be expensive. Average prices for a doula range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. The price, of course, will vary depending on where you live, as well as the doula’s experience level. Sometimes, a newer doula will offer discounted services to get more experience, but it’s important to know that no doula is required to work for free while completing their certification.
Regardless of their experience level or price, a doula can make one of the most important times in your life much less stressful, more comfortable, as well as give you and your partner more confidence throughout your childbirth experience.
Search for doulas in your area, and see if there are any you’d like to meet! You can add a doula to your baby registry, or hire them right away to start supporting you and your family in whatever way you need. The sooner you hire them, the better you can get to know them and the more support and wisdom they can offer you.
For more expert advice and support, contact RMC today!