A doula is a person who can help you before, during and after childbirth. Though they may not have any medical training, they are trained in how to make the birthing process a more comfortable experience.
Extra support to get you through childbirth
What are doulas?
A doula is a person who is specialized in providing women with extra support and care during childbirth. Although doulas are not medically trained, they are well educated in mothers' needs before, during and after giving birth. The support they offer comes in many forms, such as emotional, physical and informational.
Birth doulas vs. postpartum doulas
A birth doula begins by helping you and your partner come up with a birthing plan you are comfortable with. She then acts as a source of information, knowledge, experience, support, care and comfort leading up to and through the birthing process. A birth doula doesn't make decisions for you or act in a medical capacity; she is simply there to facilitate a happier and more comfortable delivery.
A postpartum doula specializes in the care of you, the baby and the rest of your family immediately following the birth. Adapting to a new baby can be an overwhelming process, so your doula is there to help in any capacity you require. She can facilitate breastfeeding, encourage family bonding, provide sibling care, assist with tasks around the home and offer knowledge and support to you and your loved ones.
What are the benefits?
The birthing process can be stressful for you, your partner and your family. A doula is there to support you and act on your behalf. This means your needs are more easily met, and your loved ones don't have to feel panicked when they aren't sure what to do. A doula is the perfect middle ground between the doctors, who know what they're doing but don't necessarily know you, and your partner, who loves you but may not know how best to help.
According to Doula C.A.R.E. (Canadian Association Registry and Education), studies indicate that having a doula involved can lead to a shorter labour, less complications and a better maternal experience. The right doula can reduce your stress level, and a stress-free mommy makes for a happy baby!
How do I find a doula?
You can find a doula in your area by using the Doula C.A.R.E. search engine. Because every person is unique and several training programs are available to them, every doula offers different qualities and services. This means you don't have to settle for the first one you meet with. Working with a doula is a very personal experience, and you want to make sure you feel comfortable with the personality, views and experience level of the one you choose. You, your partner, the rest of your family and your doula will all work as a team to successfully bring your little one into the world, so make sure you are happy with the doula you select.