Paula AbDOULA?? meDOULA oblongata??
Nope! A doula doesn’t have anything to do with pop music or Adam Sandler movies. A doula is a professional birth coach who supports a woman in labor as well as her partner. The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves”.
Our personal experience with using a doula was an incredible one! My husband and I were both put at ease and able to focus on bringing AL into this world without worrying about all the other details of what we had learned in our birth classes: comfort measures, labor positions, pushing positions, massage techniques. Our doula was right there giving my husband different ideas to try with me during labor.
We also didn’t have to worry about communicating our birth plan with nurses and doctors. This was HUGE because my OB wasn’t the doctor that ended up delivering AL. We had talked and talked with her about our birth plan and she was behind us 100% (having 2 natural childbirths herself). I never had to worry about making sure the new doctor was aware of our plans since our doula also had a copy of our wishes as well as numerous discussions with us.
My husband was so involved during labor, that he didn’t have time to also be a memory keeper. Our doula fulfilled this role by taking notes of how my labor progressed and capturing photos. I didn’t realize how important that would all be until I was back at home trying to remember this amazing and empowering experience… and couldn’t remember if my water broke at 1:00am or 1:30am… did I push for 30 minutes? It felt like forever… what was the number of my delivery room? When our doula handed us a typed paper of exactly how my labor progressed from my very first contraction to when AL latched for the first time to eat I just melted as I read that piece of paper over and over. I also treasure the pictures she took. Because of her, we have pictures of my husband cutting AL’s umbilical cord and the two of us holding hands as I worked through a contraction. priceless!
50% decrease in cesarean sections
60% decrease in epidural use
30% decrease in use of IV pain medications
25% decrease in length of labor
30% decrease in use of forceps
40% decrease in use of pitocin
Improved Breasefeeding Success
Decreased Postpartum Depression
Doulas are not just for women looking to have a natural childbirth! Although, they are definitely ideal for a woman wanting minimal medical intervention, anyone can use the support from a doula. Birthing a baby is a huge physical experience. It takes courage and focus no matter how a baby is welcomed to this world (natural, epidural, c-section).
A easy way to start your search for a certified doula in your area is to look on dona.com. Find one that fits your family’s personality. Ask lots of questions… what type of training have you had? Do you have a back-up? What are your fees? It’s okay to check references and credentials. It is also a good idea to conduct a face-to-face interview. Talk about services, breastfeeding support, experience and philosophy.
My husband and I would both agree that hiring a doula to support us during my pregnancy, labor and post labor was one of the best ways we have spent our money and have often referred to our doula as priceless! Thanks to Shawna’s last post, we found out that May is International Doula Month so we made sure to say “thank you” again to a woman who is very special to us.
(information from birthingbeyond.com)