I mentioned in my last post that I was becoming certified as a doula…two months later I’m finally getting around to writing this post. Oops!
The word “doula” comes from a Greek word meaning “a woman who serves.” A birth doula is someone who provides continuous emotional, physical, and informational support to a woman before, during, and after birth. A doula helps a mother (and her partner) prepare a birth plan and fulfill it. Childbirth is such a huge life experience and is something that the mother will always remember. A doula serves to protect that birth experience.
It is hard for me to put into words just how invaluable our birth doula was, not just for me, but for Zach as well. It was comforting to have another woman with me who had gone through childbirth and stood beside other women as they brought their babies into the world. I knew that she, like I, believed that my body was created to give birth and would do everything she could to help me have the birth experience I wanted. Her presence took some of the pressure off of Zach. There was someone else I could lean on, literally. A doula by no means replaces a person’s partner, but helps to empower them to support mom.
A lot of women believe that because they are not planning for a drug free birth or because they have already given birth before, they would not benefit from a doula. I can confidently say that I will have a doula for any and all future births; just like each child is different, every birth is different. Also, a birth doula is certainly not restricted to a natural birth. A birth doula will never dictate what kind of birth a woman should have, but helps you the achieve goals you have set.
And just in case you need some convincing, research (like this and this and this) has shown that women supported by a doula are:
*more likely to have a spontaneous vaginal birth
*less likely to ask for pain medication
*less likely to have a cesarean birth
*more likely to report a positive birth experience
*more likely to have a decrease length of labor
So, if you or someone you know is expecting, I would love to talk with you about having a doula at your birth. I absolutely believe that women’s bodies were made to give birth. You CAN do this, and I would love to come alongside you.