What is a doula?
So, what is this doula thing that so many pregnant women speak of? The word ‘doula’ — pronounced ‘doo-la’ — is a Greek word meaning ‘woman servant or caregiver’. More recently, it refers to someone who offers emotional and physical support to a woman and her partner before, during and after childbirth. A doula (also known as a birth attendant) believes in ‘mothering the mother’. She enables a woman and her partner to have the most satisfying birth experience possible, from pregnancy and into motherhood. This type of support allows the whole family to relax and enjoy the experience too.
What does this package cover?
Two visits beforehand, labour and birth and one to two visits after your birth.
What are the advantages of having a birth doula?
A doula helps you before labour and delivery by answering your questions about what to expect, easing your fears, helping you develop a birth plan, and generally getting you ready for the arrival of your baby
It's impossible to predict or control how birth and labour will go. How will you react to the pain? Will you have a swift delivery or a long, drawn-out labour? How will your husband or partner hold up under the pressure? These are all things that a doula can help you with.
Faced with these uncertainties, many women find enormous reassurance in having a doula by their side. Research has found that women who have continuous one-on-one support during labour tend to use pain medication less often, have shorter labours, and are less likely to have a c-section or a forceps or vacuum-assisted delivery. In fact, if you're serious about trying to give birth without pain medication, a doula may be your best ally.
Women who have continuous support are also more likely to report being satisfied with their birth experience. One theory is that mothers who have continuous support produce lower levels of stress hormones during labor than women left alone or attended by inexperienced coaches.
In a typical hospital setting, doctors and some midwives don't stay in the room with you continuously during labor. Labor-and-delivery nurses often have to split their time between several patients, and they come and go according to their shifts.
What does a doula do?
My doula-client relationships usually begin a few months before the baby is due. During this period, the Mom, Partner and I develop a relationship in which the mother (and father) feels free to ask questions, express her fears and concerns, and take an active role in creating a birth plan.
I am available to the mother (and dad) by phone in order to respond to questions or address any concerns that might arise during the course of the pregnancy. I do not provide any type of medical care. However, I am knowledgeable in many medical aspects of labour and delivery or can point you in the right direction.
As such, I can help my clients gain a better understanding of the procedures and possible complications in late pregnancy or delivery.
During labour and delivery, I am in constant and close proximity to the mother. I provide comfort with natural pain-relief techniques including breathing techniques,relaxation techniques and well as rebozo techniques, massage, homeopathic remedies and labouring positions. I also encourage participation from the partner, helping him to have a very active role and offer reassurance.
I act as an advocate for the mother, encouraging and helping her fulfill specific desires she might have for her birth. The goal of a doula is to help the mother experience a positive and safe birth, whether an un-medicated birth or a c-section.
After the birth, I will spend time helping mothers begin the breastfeeding process and encouraging bonding between the new baby and other family members.
What are the benefits of having a doula?
Numerous studies have documented the benefits of having a doula present during labor. A recent Cochrane Review, Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth, showed a very high number of positive birth outcomes when a doula was present. With the support of a doula, women were less likely to have pain relief medications administered and less likely to have a cesarean birth. Women also reported having a more positive childbirth experience.
Other studies have shown that having a doula as a member of the birth team decreases the overall cesarean rate by 50%, the length of labor by 25%, the use of oxytocin by 40%, and requests for an epidural by 60%.2.
Doulas often use the power of touch and massage to reduce stress and anxiety during labor. According to physicians Marshal Klaus and John Kennell, massage helps stimulate the production of natural oxytocin. The pituitary gland secretes natural oxytocin to the bloodstream (causing uterine contractions) and to the brain (resulting in feelings of well-being and drowsiness, along with a higher pain threshold).
Historically it was thought that intravenous oxytocin does not cross from the bloodstream to the brain in substantial amounts and, therefore, does not provide the same psychological benefits as natural oxytocin. However, more recent studies indicate that oxytocin administered nasally and/or intravenously may cross from the bloodstream to the brain. Nonetheless, doulas can help mothers experience the benefits of oxytocin naturally without the use of medication.
What about the father’s role when using a doula?
The role of the doula is never to take the place of husbands or partners in labor but rather to compliment and enhance their experience. Today, more husbands play an active role in the birth process. However, some partners prefer to enjoy the delivery without having to stand in as the labor coach.
By having a doula as a part of the birth team, a father is free to do whatever he chooses. Doulas can encourage the father to use comfort techniques and can step in if he wants a break. Having a doula allows the father to support his partner emotionally during labour and birth and to also enjoy the experience without the added pressure of trying to remember everything he learned in childbirth class!
Are doulas only useful if planning an un-medicated birth?
The presence of a doula can be beneficial no matter what type of birth you are planning. Many women report needing fewer interventions when they have a doula. But be aware that the primary role of the doula is to help mothers have a safe and pleasant birth–not to help them choose the type of birth.
For women who have decided to have a medicated birth, the doula will provide emotional, informational, and physical support through labour and the administration of medication. Doulas work alongside medicated mothers to help them deal with potential side effects. Doulas may also help with other needs where medication may be inadequate because even with medication, there is likely to be some degree of discomfort.
For a mother facing a cesarean, a doula can be helpful by providing constant support and encouragement. Often a cesarean results from an unexpected situation leaving a mother feeling unprepared, disappointed, and lonely. A doula can be attentive to the mother at all times throughout the cesarean, letting her know what is going on throughout the procedure. This can free the partner to attend to the baby and accompany the newborn to the nursery if there are complications.
What do postpartum doulas do?
What a postpartum doula does changes from day to day, as the needs of the family change. Postpartum doulas do whatever a mother needs to best enjoy and care for her new baby. A large part of their role is education. They share information about baby care with parents, as well as teach siblings and partners to “mother the mother.” They assist with breastfeeding education. Postpartum doulas also make sure the mother is fed, well hydrated and comfortable.
How long does a postpartum doula spend with a family?
Doula support can last anywhere from one or two visits to more than three months. This support can be actual visits or emails or telephone help.
What hours can I expect a doula to work with my family?
I do this by appointment basis, usually on an hourly basis. I am also available via phone or email 24 hours a day.
What is the difference between a postpartum doula and a baby nurse?
The role of a postpartum doula is to help a woman through her postpartum period and to nurture the family. Unlike a baby nurse, a doula’s focus is not solely on the baby, but on fostering independence for the entire family. The doula is as available to the father and older children as to the mother and the baby. Treating the family as a unit that is connected and always changing enables doulas to do their job: nurture the family.
What is a postpartum doula’s goal?
The goal of a doula is to nurture the parents into their new roles. As they experience success and their knowledge and self-confidence grow, their needs for professional support should diminish.
How does a doula nurture the parents into their roles
Self-confidence has a tremendous impact on a person’s ability to approach any task, and parenting is no different. Doulas are taught to always consider parents’ feelings and always build confidence whenever possible. Doulas accomplish this through praise, acceptance and a non-judgmental approach. In addition, the doula will teach parents strategies and skills that will improve their ability to bond with their babies. A calm baby who is growing well will help parents to feel more confident in their skills.
Do doulas help mothers to deal with postpartum depression?
Unlike therapists or psychiatrists, doulas do not treat postpartum depression. However, they will help by creating a safe place for the mother emotionally. The doula will provide a cushioning effect by accepting the mother within each stage that she passes through. They relieve some of the pressure on the new mother by helping her move into her new responsibilities gradually. By mothering the mother, doulas make sure that the mother feels nurtured and cared for, as well as making sure she is eating well and getting enough sleep.
Do doulas teach a particular parenting approach?
No. Doulas are educated to support a mothers’ parenting approach. Doulas are good listeners and encourage mothers to develop their own philosophies.
How do postpartum doulas work with a mother’s partner?
A doula respects the partner’s role and input, and teaches concrete skills that will help the partner nurture the baby and mother. The doula will share evidence-based information with the partner that shows how his or her role in the early weeks will have a dramatic positive effect on the family.
Why Belly Bind?
1. assists in abdominal wall retraction
2. supports the womb after birth and speeds up the process of contraction
3. great for c-section healing
4. protects and assists swollen internal organs to return to their pre- pregnant shape
5. tightens other body parts covered by the binding that may have lost muscle tone during pregnancy
6. improves circulation + breaks down fat and cellulite, accelerates fat burning
7. relieves water retention
8. supports spine & posture realignment
9. support the pelvic floor
10. offers back support
11. relief of muscular and tendon tension throughout the torso region
12. stabilizes loosened ligaments
13. helps close ribcage + hips to previous dimensions with steady pressured support
14. looks sexy!!!
15. feels great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I train Moms and Dads on how to use Rebozo during their labour to help with comfort measures and pain relief.
Techniques for the Rebozo in childbirth include:
The "sifting" technique is the most well-known uses of the rebozo in birth. It is a method jiggle a woman, similar to what Ina May Gaskin calls "shaking the apples." The motion promotes relaxation of the birthing muscles, which can aid in rotation and decent of the baby.