Doulas -- A valued member of the birthing team.
As expectant couples become immersed in the world of preparing for the birth of their child, more and more the word doula seems to be popping up in their daily conversations. Whether it is a visit with their health care provider, during prenatal classes or through friends, it is becoming a well known fact that doulas are a unique and valued member of the birthing team.
When a woman becomes pregnant often the only exposure to birth she and her partner have received is through the media; TV, internet and the movies. What many couples do not realize is that the media provides a very shortened and skewed version of what birth looks like. Fed with the images that the water breaks, then you rush to the hospital and very soon after baby is born, expectant parents today are usually not prepared for the reality that labour is usually slow to start, can have starts and stops and that the mental endurance it takes to birth a baby is just as critical as the physical. This is where doulas can help.
Doulas are women who trust the process of birth, who have experience with birth and know that every birth that they go to will be unique. They understand that labour can sometimes take a long time to start and that the uncertainty couples go through during these pre-labour days can be fraught with questions and concerns. She makes herself available to the couple day or night during this time providing them with the care and reassurance they need. When labour does begin the doula goes to the home of the labouring couple once they feel that they need her and then stays with the couple until a few hours after the baby is born to make sure breastfeeding gets off to a good start. For couples who choose to birth in a hospital doulas can be a valuable resource for when it is time to go to the hospital. Rushing off too soon and then getting sent home because labour has not progressed far enough can be very discouraging. For couples who choose a home birth often the doula is with the couple for many hours before it is time for the midwife to arrive.
One of the main jobs of a doula is to be a calming presence that reassures the couple that all is going well during the labour and that mom is doing a great job. This allows both mom and her partner to relax and let the process of birth “happen”. Doulas have experience with providing comfort techniques such as massage, relaxation techniques and visualizations which she can teach mom’s partner to do for mom or provide for the labouring mother herself if the partner prefers a more hands off role. When a doula is hired by an expectant couple it is her job to best figure out how she can best serve the needs of that couple. She does not take over the role of the partner but rather enhances and supports the partner to be the best support they can be for the labouring mother at their own comfort level and provides a much needed extra set of hands during the labour.
Once expectant couples become more educated about what labour looks like and what to expect during labour they soon realize that it takes a team to birth a child and that a doula is very much a valued member of this team.
If you have questions and would simply just like to know more about the role a doula can play at your birth please feel free to call or email.
My doula care includes:
- I will come to your home for a free consultation to answer any questions you have around the role of a doula.
- Once you have decided to hire me there will be two more prenatal visits that last between an hour or two depending on the questions you and your partner have
- I will be on- call for you 24 hours a day from the 38th week of pregnancy until you have your baby.
- I will come to you as soon as you need me once labour has started and will stay with you until a few hours after the baby is born. Typically this tends to mean from early labour onwards.
- I will do two home visits once you have settled in with the baby to assist with breastfeeding and newborn care and answer any questions or concerns you may have about postpartum recovery.
- I am happy to take photographs or video during the birth if wanted.
- I am happy to provide a written detailed account of your birth if you wish me to.
- I have a lending library of books and DVD's that you can borrow at any time.
Fee for my doula care is $550.00.