What Doulas Do
So, what does a doula do, anyway?
In Greek, the word doula literally means women’s servant. In a nutshell, that’s our role. Birth doulas continuously support women – and, increasingly, people of any gender who are having children – throughout labor and birth. But since doulas are nonmedical birth professionals, there’s often confusion about what that support looks like.
First, your doula will help you prepare.
Most doulas will meet with you at least once well before your due date. At For Your Birth, that means two prenatal consultations in your home where your doula will answer your questions and get to know you. These visits allow your doula to learn about your goals, preferences, and expectations, and to help you draft a birth plan to give you the best chance of the birth experience you want. Then, in the three weeks before your due date, your doula will be on call 24/7 to answer questions, reassure you, and connect you with medical providers and resources.
Your doula will stay with you through labor and birth.
From holding your hand through early contractions, to when you finally hold your baby in your arms, your doula will be by your side. While nurses, doctors, and midwives focus on your health and safety, doulas offer nonmedical physical, emotional, and informational support. That support may look different at different births, but it includes things like:
· Physically supporting you as you change or hold labor positions,
· Guiding your breathing through contractions,
· Giving you a massage,
· Fetching things that you need or want like music, ice, or candles,
· Reminding you of pain management ideas you brought up during prenatal conversations,
· Reminding you of questions you may want to ask medical providers about proposed interventions,
· Reminding you of your birth plan, and how you planned on handling different scenarios,
· Taking pictures,
· Comforting, reassuring, and encouraging you,
· Or holding the bucket when you puke!
There are plenty of other ways your doula may help, too. The idea is that we stay with you from start to finish, focusing solely on making sure you get the best experience possible.
And, your doula will support you after your baby comes.
Birth doulas working with For Your Birth offer 24/7 on-call support for two weeks after your child is born, plus a home visit. We can celebrate with you, get you in touch with any medical help or information you need, and help you emotionally process the whole birth experience. Many For Your Birth doulas can also give breastfeeding help.
Postpartum doulas and more.
Not all doulas are birth doulas, and many offer other types of support along with labor support. At For Your Birth, you can get a postpartum doula to help you in the exhausting weeks after birth by doing things like laundry and meal preparation. We also offer childbirth education and breastfeeding counseling.