The Three Different Kinds of Support a Doula Provides
Doula /ˌdo͞olə/The word “doula” comes from ancient Greek, meaning “a woman who serves.” Today, a doula refers to a professional trained to provide emotional, physical and informational support to women throughout their pregnancy, birth and the early postpartum period.
A doula is a non-judgemental third party who is familiar with all interpersonal aspects of becoming a mother and how that transition affects your relationship with those around you and yourself. Your doula is there to guide you through any questions you may have about the rollercoaster of emotions you may experience (both exciting and difficult) and to help you understand how to listen to your most trustworthy guide, yourself.
From the time you enlist your doula as support during pregnancy, she will serve as an unwavering support system through the postpartum period. Doulas hired to assist in labor arrive as soon as you feel their presence is necessary, and stay by your side until about an hour or so after your baby has made his or her first official appearance. Oftentimes, this can be such a relief as hospital staff are only able to spend as much time as their current patient flow allows them. Your doula is yours alone and is by your side the entire time, breath by breath, moment by moment.
A doula can offer physical support during labor and can also share insight into how you can stay physically as comfortable as possible throughout the changes pregnancy, birth, and postpartum bring. You will undoubtedly receive help in the form of supported birthing postures, if you choose to during your labor. Do not hesitate to also ask for advice on how to relieve things like acid reflux during pregnancy, nausea during labor, and discomfort after delivery. Doulas can either put you in touch with a trusted professional for information, or will have a trick ready for you in their back pocket.
Your doula will also be available for all of those random questions you have during pregnancy. Part of a doula’s job is to remain up to date with trusted sources for information relating to the perinatal stage of motherhood. They can also be a great local referral source for all types of practitioners. Doulas are often well-versed as to who the favorite midwives and doctors are in your area, who gives the best prenatal massage, and where you can find a great fertility acupuncturist. Feel free to ask your doula for any perinatal resources you are looking for. Chances are, they have been asked before and will have an answer or at least know someone who does!
I hope this gives you insight into the value a doula can provide during your perinatal journey. And, if you need any more information on what working with a doula looks like, take a look at my post on the soft skills of a doula or feel free to book a discovery call with me here. I’d love to chat with you!
Thanks so much for reading and have a lovely day!