Why You might Benefit from using a Birth Doula.

  • By: Sandra
  • Date: March 18, 2022
  • Time to read: 8 min.

The Many Benefits of a Doula: How They Can Help You

If you’re pregnant, one of the decisions you’ll need to make is whether or not to hire a doula. Doulas offer many benefits for pregnant women and their families, and they can be a huge help during labor and delivery. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the key benefits of having a doula present during childbirth. We will also dispel some common myths about doulas that may be preventing women from hiring one. If you’re considering hiring a doula, read on to learn more about what they can do for you!

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and scared when you find out you’re pregnant. There are so many decisions to make and changes to your life ahead 

A doula can help. Doulas offer non-judgemental support throughout your pregnancy and childbirth experience. They can provide information on all of your options, help you create a birth plan, and be there for you during labor.

What is A Doula?

The word Doula is derived from Greek and the literal meaning is hand maiden. But a more modern description of a Doula would be someone who “mothers the mother”.

In the past this role would of been performed by a close family relative i.e. Mother or sisters, but sadly nowadays for a variety of reasons, this isn’t always possible and more and more women are turning to Doulas for emotional and practical support, both during labour, birth and post-natally.

There are two kinds of Doula:  Birth or Labour Doula and Post-natal or Post birth Doula.

Birth Doula

Meets with her client ante-natally and works towards meeting the needs of both parents in order to enhance a positive birth experience. The birth Doula stays with the couple (or Woman only) during the whole of the labour, regardless of length of time spent in labour. The birth Doula will provide continuous emotional support during the labour and can offer advice on relaxation and positioning. Some birth Doulas are trained in massage and reflexology which can help relaxation during labour.

A Birth Doula will also stand as an advocate for the couple ensuring good communication with the professionals; however it must be stressed that she is not a midwife and does not make clinical decisions, or perform clinical tasks. If you are hoping to have a successful natural birth, then a doula will be a great help.

There has been a lot of research particularly in America which has found that the support of a Doula during labour can reduce the need for medical intervention-for instance the use of epidurals forceps and caesarean births. And those mothers were more responsive to their new babies. In all, having a Birth Doula means you are more likely to have a more positive and fulfilling birth experience.

Are Doulas Qualified?

There are certified doulas, just like you get certified midwives and medical practitioners. However, a doula is more than a medical professional. They offer continuous support for women, not just laboring women from early pregnancy to well into the postpartum experience.

However, I also feel that the best Training you can have as a Doula is to have given birth and raised children yourself.

Life is a constant learning curve and I like to think that doing the course was just the beginning of a journey that I will travel with lots of Mothers gaining knowledge and making friends along the way.

I will offer help and support within my remit and if I don’t know the answer will point you in the direction of someone who does.

What Do Doulas do?

Our aim is to assist you, and your family as you embark on the wonderful journey of parenthood. We will encourage and help you to build confidence in your body to birth your baby, in whatever way you choose, not by giving advice or performing clinical tasks but rather by empowering you through knowledge and activation. We will help you develop confidence in your parenting skills as you discover your own method and style of raising your children

Physical and Emotional Support

After you have had your baby you may not need the full services of Doula but may just need someone to support you on an adhoc basis with feeding your newborn particularly if you have more than one baby, or assisting with sleeping, or perhaps you just need few precious hours as a couple. A doula will help with perinatal education , breastfeeding support and postnatal exercises.

A doula can provide physical and emotional support during the post-birth period. Post-natal Doulas generally offer between one and twelve weeks of continuous support, although this may be tailored to meet the needs of the family.

During your pregnancy, a certified doula will:

  • Meet with you 2-3 times before the birth. The first meeting is the interview and does not obligate you to use their services. If you book a doula, they will meet twice more so that we can become more familiar with each other and discuss your preferences for your birth, your preferred comfort measures during your labour and feeding preparation. These visits usually last around 2 hours.
  • Help you in developing your birth plan.
  • Attend antenatal appointments with you if it would be helpful
  • Be available to you by phone or email to answer questions and make suggestions any time before labour begins.
  • Be on 24 hour call for you from 2 weeks before your estimated delivery date until 2 weeks after this date.i.e from 38 weeks to 42 weeks.
  • Give you top priority on their time during the on call period
  • Be as flexible as possible in meeting your needs.

Continuous Labor Support

A doula will provide not only health care and help with an unmedicated birth but also with pain medication and relaxation techniques.

The doula can provide emotional support and physical help, including massage, during the labor.

Many women feel more comfortable with a woman supporting them through labor rather than having a man present, knowing that women’s health is the main priority of the doula.

A doula can be helpful in providing encouragement to the laboring mother as she approaches transition and pushing stage of labor.

  • Provide early labour support as desired, including in your home.
  • Remain with you once active labour has begun until you and your newborn are comfortable and settled.
  • Provide non-medical comfort measures (Such as position changes and massage) for labour and birth.
  • Liaise with your caregivers, family members and medical staff and keep communication flowing. If I am able I will explain medical procedures to you and help you understand information and recommendations given to you by your caregivers.
  • Help you make sure they are familiar with your birth plan and remind you if there seem to be deviations from it.
  • Offer my unconditional support, encourage you and support your decisions as well as reassuring you and your partner.
  • Strive to maintain a calm and peaceful birth environment.
  • Maintain a birth journal as allowed at your request.
  • Take photographs during labour, birth, and recovery if desired and time and circumstances permit.

Postpartum Period

In the postpartum period, postpartum doulas offer continuous support , as needed, for up to six weeks. This may include:

Physical and emotional support

Assistance with breastfeeding (including latch-on help, pumping advice, and Milk expression)

Helping the family establish a routine with the baby

Running errands such as laundry, grocery shopping, or picking up prescriptions

Providing informational support such as community resources

Helping to create a support system for the family

Checking in on the mother regularly and helping her adjust to life with a new baby.

Choosing Baby Names x
Choosing Baby Names

A doula is someone who provides continuous support – physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during, and after childbirth. Doulas are not medical professionals; rather, they offer support in the way you choose, not by giving advice or performing clinical tasks but rather by empowering you through knowledge and activation.

Doula support will come in whatever form you need. You may want someone to be with you throughout your entire pregnancy, labour, and postpartum period. Or you may just need occasional check-ins or advice by phone or email. Doulas are very flexible in meeting the needs of their clients.

The benefits of having a doula are many:

You’ll have someone who believes in you and your ability to give birth.

You’ll have someone who can help you develop a birth plan that reflects your preferences and desires.

Labor Support

Doulas offer non-medical comfort measures during labor, which can be very helpful in achieving the type of birth you want.

Doulas are familiar with childbirth procedures and can help you understand what is happening during your labor. They will ensure medical interventions are only carried out when absolutely necessary and be a physical support to you during the labor.

The continual presence of an experienced doula during labor has been shown to instill confidence in the birthing person and to bring higher happiness in birth.

They can also help to keep communication flowing between you, your caregivers and the hospital staff.

Doulas offer unconditional support, encouragement, and reassurance to their clients – something that is often very helpful in the birth process.

They work to maintain a calm and peaceful environment for labor and delivery.

Postpartum Doula Support

Doulas also offer support in the postpartum period. They can help with breastfeeding, establishing a routine, running errands, and providing community resources.

Most importantly, doulas provide continuous emotional support to their clients – something that is often essential in the early weeks after giving birth when mothers are adjusting to life with a new baby.

If you’re considering hiring a doula, do it! You won’t regret it, there are much more positive birth outcomes when doula care is involved. The benefits are too many to count when it comes to maternal and infant health.

Postpartum depression

Postpartum doulas will be providing doula care and doula services long after the labor support is over. They will be on the continual look out for signs depression and will be there to ensure you get the help you need. Many doulas are also trained in postpartum mental health and can provide additional resources if needed.

The presence of a doula has been shown to reduce the incidence of postpartum depression. If you are experiencing any symptoms of PPD, please reach out for help. There is no shame in getting the support you need.

And the peace of mind that comes with having someone who believes in you and is there to support you through every step of your pregnancy, labour, and postpartum period is invaluable.

Take Away

While other family members may be there to help you, particularly if your have had a cesarean birth in the early postpartum period, a doula can provide continuous emotional support which can be crucial in preventing postpartum depression. If you are pregnant, or know someone who is, please consider hiring a doula – the benefits far outweigh any cost.

A doula is a birth professional who provides continuous emotional, physical and informational support to the birthing person before, during and after childbirth. Doulas are not medical professionals and do not provide clinical tasks but rather by empowering you through knowledge and activation. Doula support will come in whatever form you need. You may want someone to be with you throughout your entire pregnancy, labour, and postpartum period. Or you may just need occasional check-ins or advice by phone or email.