Role Of A Doula

 

 

“Birth is not only about making babies.  Birth is about making mothers~ strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.”   ~Barbara Katz Rothman


Prenatal education is the foundation of my doula services. I visit with my clients twice before their due time as this helps us to get to know each other and I learn about their unique desires for their birth. We go over things like resources for having a healthy pregnancy, options for coping with the intensity of labor: positions, and the different sounds women make.  I help partners to recognize the stages of labor and some of their signposts. We discuss what to expect at the hospital or birth center and I reference scenarios from previous births I have attended to give perspectives on how labor can go. The education and preparation is the only part that is in our control and I highlight the importance of surrender and trust in the process when labor time comes.  Building your confidence is important, because our culture has not been good at telling us we can do this work without a lot of help. Preparing with an open heart and mind, I see couples excited and ready to give birth. 


During labor, I help with comfort measures and emotional support. I will suggest different positions to aid in the mother’s comfort, positions that bring the baby down, or help with rotation. I labor at home with them and help them to make the decision on when to leave for their place of birth. The goal is to get them there in active labor, when labor is strong and steady. I give massages, apply hot and cold packs, and create a soothing environment, so the partner can give all their attention to the laboring woman. I am emotional support for the partners as well. They may have questions about how she’s doing or something they didn’t understand that the care provider may have said.


I’m also an extra set of hands. I take some of the pressure off the partner. They may need to step out to take a phone call or get some food. Or I’ll run out and get it for them. I clean up around the mom, prepare the tub and fill up her drink. I take care of their environment and can gently remind the nurses or care provider of their wishes.  I’ve built this relationship over time with this couple, so I understand what's important to them. If a complication should arise, I also help them understand the pros and cons of their options and then give them the space to make an informed decision.


The partner and I complement each other. We are both there for the mama in different capacities. I remind the partner to do what they do best - love her. Tell her how awesome she is doing, how grateful you are, and that you are doing this together. And that’s what women need the most- to know that the person they love, the person they created this baby with, believes in them and is present.  Reassurance is the biggest thing in labor. She needs to hear that she is doing great, she is strong, and she is safe. Doulas protect the space and see every day that birth can be healthy and normal. Our culture has scared women and made them afraid of the work of labor. So it’s so important and we help you to trust, trust, trust! Our bodies are built perfectly to birth our babies.


I’ll remind the mama to change positions, to drink or go to the bathroom, and take turns with the partner when he needs a break. I’m in the background for early and most of active labor. Mamas find their way really well at that point. In transition, partners and I are usually right there together talking her through contractions, vocalizing with her or repeating a mantra. The partners I have worked with have been great at following my lead and will sometimes take over at points, too. I am continually impressed with their level of commitment.


I love the empowerment part of this work. Walking alongside a woman as she sees what she is capable of. It’s awesome to see the shift from a nervous mama when they hire me, to a confident and excited woman when it’s birth time. Being there, witnessing her strength and the love of the couple is really special. I would love to help guide you through this transformative journey. It is a true honor to help assist!