Having a baby changes your life forever. This usually means that once you bring a baby home from the hospital, your life will never be the same, because now you are a parent. But, what about actually having the baby – giving birth? That is certainly a significant part of the whole experience of becoming a mom or dad, especially for the very first time. Consider using a doula to assist you in the birthing process to make everything go as smoothly as possible.
What is a Doula?
A doula is not a medical professional who can deliver a baby, like a midwife, but instead is trained to provide emotional and physical support women giving birth. She may begin working with you during the end of your pregnancy to help prepare you in all aspects of giving birth. She may even be able to coach you as you meditate to minimize the pain of contractions, assist relaxation techniques with a back massage.
The doula’s job is to support you not just during the labor an delivery experience, but throughout the whole pregnancy if need be. She is trained to know and provide information about things that are needed before the little joy arrives such as cribs, clothes, car seats, play mats, diapers, formulas, safe toys, etc.
A Doctor Plus a Doula is a Win-Win
You may be wondering, “If I already have a doctor in the delivery room, why do I need a doula?” The answer is simple: because the doctor who actually delivers your baby is usually in and out of the labor and delivery room between office appointments. He checks on you, confirms that all is progressing as is intended, then leaves again and returns in time to deliver the baby. The rest of the time is you, your partner, nurses and other hospital personnel that are in the room while you are in labor.
The medical staff have a job to perform; the doula, however, is your personal cheerleader and coach. She will stay with you from the moment you go into labor until your baby is delivered and begins nursing. She will also come to your home if you are having a home birth, and will be present as you desire while you are in labor. Her job is to keep you comfortable during labor and delivery in any way she can.
A Doula Can Be a Great Resource
Your mother’s maiden can be a wealth of knowledge and resources for you and your partner in the days leading up to your delivery. You can ask her anything you want to know–from questions about different baby products to what to expect with each contraction. As you anticipate welcoming your baby into the world, she is especially helpful to first-time mama who have many anxieties about the whole experience.
A Doula Will Be Your Advocate and Personal Assistant
Even if everything goes as planned, the labor and delivery experience can be a bit overwhelming for first-time parents. In addition to providing much needed emotional and physical support, your doula can act as an advocate. Labor can be an exciting time and she can remind you or ensure your wishes are carried out as you and your partner have pre-arranged. She can also act as your personal assistant and fetch coffee or massage your feet.
Many birth assistants will also be available postpartum until the mom and caregivers become comfortable with their new routines and lifestyle. She can introduce your infant to the play mats you chose together, or simply carry out chores or meals around the house. If you are pregnant and considering a doula, ask friend for a recommendation, or interview a few in person to find one you like. She could make all the difference in helping you have a memorable birthing experience.
[About the author: Freelance writer Teresa Stewart enjoys writing about well-being; for this article she researched ancient techniques, such as using a mother’s maiden to assist pregnancies, which can make today’s live easier. Photo: TheLawleys]