So what is this new doula craze anyway?
It’s actually not new. In the past, birthing people always came together to support each other during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. In our society, that simply doesn’t happen anymore and that warm, encouraging, support system has been lost.
Working with a doula can bring these elements back into your birthing experience.
But I have a great partner so I don’t need a doula, right?
Your partner knows you on a level that your doula cannot. You share a history and an intimate bond. A doula cannot and will not try to replace your partner.
In modern society partners are welcomed into the birthing room, more than that, they are often expected to be your birthing coach.
Midwives are responsible for more than one birthing person at a time so the partner is often the only person there to reassure and support you.
That is a lot to ask of someone who may have had no experience with birth.
This is where the partner and the doula can form a great team! The doula has knowledge and experience of birth. They can reassure your partner that yes, this is normal. They can suggest ways for your partner to help you during those intense moments, with an encouraging word, pressure on your back or by teaming up with the doula to perform the double hip squeeze!
Your partner is emotionally involved in a way that your doula is not. They may need a break sometimes to sleep, get some fresh air or grab something to eat. Your doula is your continuous, warm, positive, reassuring supporter. They may leave for short bathroom breaks or to get a quick bite but that’s it. They are there for you and your partner. Full stop.
Your partner, therefore, is free to simply be there with you, to support and love you and be fully a part of this life-changing experience.
That sounds nice but does it really make that much of a difference?
So can a doula replace my midwife?
No. A doula plays no medical role and performs no medical procedures.
A doula is there to support you and your birth partner during pregnancy, labour, birth and the immediate postpartum period.
During your pregnancy, a doula can help you to prepare emotionally and physically for birth. They can assist you in sourcing evidence-based information and in discovering your birth preferences.
During labour and birth, they can help with non-medical support techniques such as breathing with you, counter pressure, nourishment and hydration, heat packs, relaxation imagery, emotional support, encouragement and position ideas.
Immediately after the birth of your baby, a doula can help you with skin to skin and support initial breast/chest feeding.
If you would like to know more about working with a doula please feel free to connect with me, I’d love to hear from you!