Why seek out the aid of a birth doula? Why not use a midwife instead? This question gets asked repeatedly. Like a doctor, a midwife is a medically trained professional who is certified to deliver a baby whether it’s in a hospital, a birthing center, or at the mother’s home. Midwives are not certified to employ any sort of medical intervention, such as an epidural, nor are they trained to perform a caesarean birth.
Similarly, a birth doula is a trained professional who understands the natural process of birth. They work alongside the laboring woman (or couple) during labour and birth to create the most positive, healthy and natural experience possible. A birth doula is like a coach, or a birthing coach to be more specific who is invited to be at-the-ready to provide steady emotional support. Additionally, they are standing by to assist with all sorts of other non-medical related aspects of your care. It’s quite advantageous to hire a birth doula. Early on in your pregnancy, a birth doula can serve as a valuable informational resource by answering your questions about what to expect ‘while expecting,’ may help you in crafting a birth plan, and may help your family get ready for the “big day.” (Note: a birth plan is a written document where you make your wishes clear about how you want your experience to go, such as “how to manage my labor pain,” etc. However, be mindful that you won’t be able to control all aspects of your labour and delivery, so stay calm and remain flexible).
During labour and delivery, a birth doula provides continuous support, such as making suggestions about how to position your body during labour, helps you with your breathing through the contractions, and provides you with some relaxing massage. A doula can also answer any questions you have at that most important time about “what’s happening to me?” It’s not unusual to learn that women who have continuous support through their labour and deliver are also likely to report being satisfied with their birth experience. Expectant mothers under the care of a birth doula may produce lower levels of stress hormones during labour as compared to women left alone. So consider this: in a typical hospital setting, doctors and midwives do not typically remain in the room with you throughout labor, but birth doulas do.
Have questions about how I may be able to serve alongside you during this most amazing journey? Please contact me and let’s talk!
Image used: “giving birth in blue water,” Taken June 2, 2011 by torbakhopper, CC by 2.0