Because she's a badass birthing babe!
Women helping women during labor isn’t a new idea. Long ago, women used to witness and support friends, sisters and aunts as they gave birth. Today, more often than not, a woman probably has never seen a birth. Enter the doula (pronounced doo-luh). This certified, trained delivery room sidekick (and so much more), who will work at hospitals, birth centers or homes, is there to support you and also your partner through the birthing process. She will not dictate how your birth should go, or judge, but she’ll make sure you’re the one whose voice is heard.
Here are Six Reasons Why Hiring a Birth Doula Rocks:
Get ready for pampering.
Your doula will apply just the right amount of pressure, in just the right spot on your body, exactly when you need it. She’ll have her own, unique way of soothing you that will make you think, thank goodness that lady is here, doing that. Don’t stop. She’ll create an atmosphere of peace and calm. Think essential oils, dim lights and quiet voices. Ahhhh.
- She’ll ease your partner's mind.
Labor is a lot of pressure on both parents! When your partner is relieved of the duties of remembering Every. Little. Detail. from your childbirth education class, he or she is freed up to simply be your love and present for you. She will also peek at your partner with a wink, a smile or a nod that “this is normal!” when you’re moaning. Then, she’ll grab a cool washcloth, hand it to your partner for your forehead, and make sure your sweetheart gets all the credit.
- She’s got mad skills.
Whether suggesting a warm shower at just the right moment, a position change to help wiggle baby into the right spot or sweeping on lip balm before you even noticed your lips were chapped, your doula comes with a set of tricks and tips that only those experienced in birth would think to suggest.
- Seeing you barf, poop or burp will not phase her.
In fact, she’ll tell you what awesome signs of labor progress these are. Your doula will bring you a toothbrush and a cup to spit into to freshen up that taste in your mouth. Then she’ll look you in the eye and remind you, “You got this, mama.” And she’ll be right there as you dive deeper into labor.
- She’ll support you through any surprises.
As much as we would all like to, we simply cannot plan or predict our birthing journeys. If something unexpected occurs during labor or your care provider suggests an unexpected Cesarean, your doula will help you ask questions so you fully understand what’s happening. Her presence alone can help create the space for you to take a deep breath, talk with your partner, then decide what is best. If the hospital allows (and many do, but ask about this in advance), she will accompany you and your partner into the operating room.
- She will not leave your side throughout your labor.
Many nurses wish they could stay by your side, but they often have more than one mama they’re looking after, plus they’re responsible for a mind-blowing amount of charting. Nurses also change shifts, as do OBs and midwives. Your doula will provide consistent support no matter how short or long your labor is—whether four or 64 hours. (Yeah, that happens!) She will also get to know you and your partner prenatally, bringing with her that knowledge of your history, hopes and fears that nurses and other care providers may not be privy to.
It's Evidentiary, My Dear
There is GOBS of research showing that continuous support throughout labor results in a higher satisfaction of the birth experience, less use of pain medication, fewer births requiring instrumental help and lowered risk of Cesarean section.
How to Find a Doula
Whether a doula has been at this for years or is newly trained, the most important thing she will bring to your birthing journey is her heart. Interview at least three to find one who jives best with both you and your partner. How you click with her is the most important thing, but ask about her training and any additional skills she might bring to your birth, too. Try searching DoulaMatch.net or DONA International for a doula near you!
Article by: Badass mom of two, registered yoga teacher and birth photographer Alisa Blackwood has worked as a certified birth doula since 2007 in Minnesota where she resides.