Deciding to have a baby is the first step into a lifetime of decision making for your child. Hopefully using BabyPlus was one of the first decisions you made to give your baby every advantage. Moving forward parents then have numerous decision to make before the arrival of their child. One of those decisions is who you want to be a part of your delivery experience. One such choice is- Do you want to enlist in the services of a doula?
Who is a doula?
The word doula is a Greek word that translates into women’s servant. A doula is a certified person that attends to the family before during and just after the birth. This person does not provide medical care, but rather emotional, informational and physical support. A labor doula is the focus of this blog, but you can also enlist antepartum and postpartum doulas.
When do you use a doula?
A doula’s services usually begin a few months before a baby is due. She will help you make decisions about what kind of delivery experience you want to have. A doula can be used for any type of delivery, planned or emergency, natural or not, vaginal or Cesarean. There is rarely a pregnancy situation where you cannot use a doula although many insurance companies do not yet cover their services.
Why would you choose to use a doula?
Including a doula during your pregnancy gives you an advocate during the delivery of your baby. She can provide support and ease transitions between home, the hospital and back home again. While hospital staff will change regularly during your stay, a doula will provide you consistency. She can help makes your wishes clear and can provide labor coaching, techniques for pain relief, relaxation, massage, breathing and labor positions. Post delivery, she can even provide breastfeeding assistance and facilitate bonding with family members.
What questions should you ask when selecting a doula?
I reached out to a contact of mine at Birth Coach Method/Mama Center in San Jose, CA to get her top 4 questions parents should ask when interviewing a doula. She was gracious to send me the following response:
1. What kid of training do you have, and what did you learn that has prepared you to support me in childbirth?
2. How experienced are you in terms of number of births and different types of experiences?
3. In what ways do you make sure to get to know me and my partner and adjust your doula support to meet our unique concerns, needs and wishes for the birth?
4. What makes you unique as a doula? What are your strengths, characteristics and skills that we should hire you for?
Whatever you choose- We wish you a happy, healthy pregnancy!