What Is a Doula?
The word doula, pronounced /doo-la/, comes from the Greek and is loosely translated as “woman servant.” According to DONA International, a doula is a professional who is trained in childbirth and provides continuous support to a mother before, during, and just after birth. Doula comes from a Greek word that means “a woman who serves” or “handmaiden".
Before I became a doula, I spent nearly 20 years in fitness as an instructor, personal trainer and physical education coordinator. At the same time, I also served as a church musician and worship leader. Although vastly different from my role as a birth doula, many aspects of that training have carried over into my skills as a birth worker, providing motivation, inspiration, and coaching and creating a sacred space that gives peace and comfort to both parents. I also know that my spiritual gift is serving others, so “mothering the mother” feels very natural. It is something I was meant to do.
So what does my role as a doula look like? And does the father’s role change with a doula present?
I provide emotional support, give information, and help the mother become more informed about various birth choices. I can draw the father into this process to enhance his role and his birth experience. I provide continuous comfort, support, and reassurance to the mother and also look after her partner (giving him breaks as needed). There are countless comfort measures such as breathing, relaxation, movement and positioning that I can use.
Another aspect of my role is to help facilitate communication between the mother and her care provider and be an advocate for the mother. Having a doula allows the father to support his partner emotionally during labor and birth and to also enjoy the experience without the added pressure of trying to remember everything he learned in childbirth class!
The first hour after your baby is born is The Golden Hour. I will stay with you through this most important bonding time, helping with skin to skin and nursing, and allowing your wishes for time to be carried out.
A Few More Reasons to Hire a Doula
- Reduction in Cesarean Rate
- Shorter Labor
- Reduction in Epidural Rate
- Reduction in Pitocin Use
- Reduction in Forceps Delivery
- Reduction in Vacuum Extraction