Why a doula?
The process of childbirth from initial impregnation through to pregnancy and eventually to post-partum is a significant point of people’s lives. Therefore, to ensure this vital process is as smooth and as seamless as possible, there are various options to aid along the way. One of these options is having a doula to help in the process . A doula is a professional labour assistant who provides emotional and physical support to the woman and her partner during pregnancy, childbirth as well as the postpartum period .
A doula can offer a wide range of services such :
- providing physical comfort through touch and massage techniques, assistance with breathing and
- Emotional reassurance, encouragement and comfort
- Providing information about what’s happening during labour and the postpartum period, including going through all the step inbetween
- Help with facilitating communication between the woman and the hospital staff
- Proiving guidance and support for loved ones
- Assistance with breast-feeding if necessary
Often, however, a doula’s most important role is to provide continuous support during labor and delivery. Although research is limited, some studies have shown that continuous support from doulas during childbirth might be associated with:
- A decreased need for pain relief medication during labor
- Less occurrences of C-sections
- A decrease in the length of labor
- A decrease in a negative childbirth experience
A doula might offer opinions when decisions need to be made about labor and delivery. However, a doula doesn’t provide medical advice, nor can she or he change the clinical recommendations of a midwife or an obstetrician.
If you’re interested in hiring a doula, ask your health care provider, childbirth instructor, family or friends for recommendations. You might also contact your local hospital for a referral. When interviewing potential doulas, ask about their training, how many births they’ve attended, their philosophies about childbirth, what services they provide, and the cost. Also, discuss your preferences and concerns about pregnancy, labor and delivery.
Having a doula is one of various options to get through the process of childbirth. The purpose is to provide comfort. The best thing is to consult a healthcare professional to find out if this step is the right one for you. .
To know more about this topic, check out episode#39 on DOTIVthepodcast titled “Unpacking Postpartum with a Doula” with hosts Guni & Thasha and guest Satnam Kaur.