Pregnancy can be an exciting, overwhelming, exhausting or terrifying time. For many women, especially the first time around, it can be all those things in a single day! Finding the right support for you during your pregnancy can make all the difference to the experience you have. The birth of your baby is a defining moment in your life and whether you are hoping for a drug-free birth just surrounded by the people you love, or an epidural or cesarean, you deserve to have the experience you want.
A doula supports a woman and her partner during pregnancy, birth, and the early weeks of parenting, with reassurance, practical assistance, and information.
A doula is someone you come to know well by the time of your birth, and who is there during your labor, by your side, focused solely on you and your partner. She can encourage you, remain objective, and help your partner feel more confident about how to support you. She can also assist you with practical knowledge on comfort measures for labor, such as massage and suggestions for positioning. A doula can provide information when you have questions, and can help you communicate most effectively with your medical caregivers.
The main focus of a doula’s role is often on the birth itself, but doula support can also be invaluable during pregnancy (especially if you face questions about tests or complications), and after the birth when she can help out with feeding and adjusting to life with a newborn.
There are a few things a doula is not. She is not acting as a nurse or midwife, so she does not provide clinical care such as doing examinations on you or checking your baby’s heartbeat. The support a doula provides fits together with, but does not replace, the care of your doctor, midwife, or nurses.
Doulas do not make decisions for you, or speak for you. This is your birth, your baby, your life! A doula supports you by providing information and explanations you may want about your choices, but it’s always you who decides what’s best for you