Should I Use a Doula?
Labor is one of the most challenging experiences that a woman will have in her life. That’s why having support throughout your pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period is such an important part of having your ideal birthing experience.
Your midwife or other chosen healthcare provider is there to be a major source of your support as well as provide you with the education and medical expertise to have a healthy delivery. A woman’s health and medical care is a partnership between her and her health care provider. Charleston Birth Place is focused on creating that partnership and providing excellent care, education, and sensitivity to our families’ concerns and needs.
For families that wish to have another layer of support and emotional care, you might be interested in looking for a doula.
A doula’s role in your pregnancy is to provide a continuous source of comfort, encouragement, and support during labor. Essentially, they are a caretaker for the mother’s emotional and comfort needs. Doulas do not take part in any of the medical aspects of labor but can be there in a number of other capacities, including offering advice on labor positions and other relaxation techniques for a soothing experience. There are times where a doula can also act as a mediator and advocate for the mother to help ensure her birth plan is carried out fully.
A doula’s role can vary depending on what you are looking for, but some common uses for a doula are:
- Help prepare a couple for what to expect in labor & postpartum, including how partners can support birthing mothers
- Provide massage, reflexology, aromatherapy, music, and mantras during labor
- Help with the breastfeeding process
- And more. Every doula brings their own experience and expertise to the process.
While doulas are not a medical professional, they are well-trained in birth, and many even have certifications through organizations like DONA International. DONA requires a minimum of 16 hours of instruction time, with an emphasis on practical hands-on techniques, the history of birth, benefits of doula support, and the significance of doula support.
Doulas are also great resources for the partners. They can be there to take away some of the added pressure of trying to remember everything from the childbirth education classes. They can be another source of encouragement for partners to support the laboring mother emotionally during labor and birth.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of having a doula is that there is always someone there whose whole job is to support you emotionally! If you think having a doula might be right for you, it is best to start looking and picking your doula around 5 months into your pregnancy.
If you have questions about doulas or are considering Charleston Birth Place and want to learn more about our care, send us a message!