What is a Doula?



A Trained and Experienced Birthing Professional

The word doula comes from the ancient Greek term that translates into caregiver, or women of service, although the term, in modern times, has become to be known as a trained and experienced profession who provides non-medical physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth.

Why Use a Doula?

During childbirth and the weeks that follow, women need care based on their individual circumstances and preferences. This care can be from a doula that provides consistent reassurance, comfort, encouragement, and respect.

Research and studies have shown that having a doula present at the birth of your child is a very positive thing. Here are a few of our favorite reasons why:

  • Labors are shorter with few complications
  • Babies are healthier
  • Greater success with breastfeeding
  • Reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
  • Reduces the need for Pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction and cesareans
  • Reduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals
  • Have greater self-confidence
  • Have less postpartum depression

The Difference Between a Birth Doula and a Postpartum Doula

There are two types of doulas: a birth doula whom the initials CD designate, and a postpartum doula designated by the initials PCD. DONA International certifies both.

Both types of doulas play an important role in the child birthing process. Let’s take a look at their difference.

A Birth Doula is

  • Works with the woman in preparing for and carrying out her birth plans
  • They provide emotional and physical support
  • Are an objective viewpoint and help the mother make informed decisions
  • Facilitates communication between all parties involved in the birth of the child: the laboring woman, her partner, and her clinical care providers
  • Stays with the woman throughout the labor
  • Allows the woman’s partner to participate at his/her comfort level

Once the baby is born, a postpartum doula might be needed. Research shows that 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 is

  • Provides education, companionship, and support to the family during the fourth trimester
  • Assists the family with newborn care, meal preparation, household cleaning, and family adjustment advice
  • Offers evidence-based information on infant feeding, as well as emotional and physical recovery from birth
  • Can make recommendations for local services

Whether you’re seeking a birth doula or a postpartum doula, it all comes down to making a personal connection with that person first. Christine is happy to help you with this decision and recommends taking a look at the following doula services.

Shannon Padlog
Alexis Cohen
Amber Dawn Hallet
Meghan Heather Ford

Categories:

Pregnancy

 
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