- Through prenatal meetings and other correspondence, a doula assists in helping her clients prepare for and walk through their birth experience. When a woman’s birthing time arrives, a doula is a continuous support for the birthing mother and her support people throughout the birth of the baby and during the immediate postpartum period. Together they discover the most preferred roles for each support person.
- Many believe that doulas are exclusively best for those who desire an unmedicated birth. Though a doula can be very helpful with this specific desire, she accommodates to her clients’ preferences and walks with a birthing woman through her unique wishes. If a woman’s preference is the use of paid medication, a doula will help her understand what she might expect and help the mother adjust to the use of the various pain medication methods and birth interventions as the doula understands these are unfamiliar methods to most.
- A doula is a neutral, yet compassionate aid to the birthing mother through the birthing process. A doula will accompany a mother and her support person(s) during birth to assist in emotional, physical and informational aspects. A doula can provide suggestions for comfort as well as progress which may include relaxation techniques, massage, heat/cold, positioning and others. A doula’s role will be to offer suggestions and present options, NOT to conclude clinical assessments or decisions concerning the health of the mom or baby.
- If a mother has a planned Cesarean birth, a doula can assist by informing the mother of options and discovering questions the clients may have for their Doctor and Anesthesiologist concerning Cesarean birth and recovery. Parents may explore the option with their Doctors of having the doula present in the Operating Room, where a doula will aim to support the clients emotionally, physically and informationally.
- A doula will also be a continuous support through unexpected complications that might arise during or immediately after birth, whether related to the baby or the mother. She customizes support for the family through the initial hours following the birth and helps ensure that each member adequately receives what they need in their unique scenario. The doula is a neutral presence for the family, supporting them emotionally, physically and informationally through these complications.
- A doula will not provide cervical exams, blood pressure checks or assess fetal heart tones.
“Austin came over and helped me labor at home a little bit longer and was very creative in helping to ease my awful back labor and showed me positions that helped keep labor progressing. She helped my husband to stay calm and to help me during contractions. At the hospital, she seamlessly worked with the hospital staff and us to communicate so we were all working together. With her help, my husband and I felt in control and confident about the decisions we made enough though things were not going the way we hoped. She spent hours doing hip squeezes, massages, encouraging us, and providing the information about decisions we needed to make. On top of that, she did so many things that helped keep the environment calm.”Lauren F.