What Does a Doula Do?
Doula is a Greek word that means “woman’s servant.” Over the centuries, labouring women have been surrounded and cared for by women during childbirth and this support has had positive effects on the labour process. Today, doulas are professionally trained in the process of childbirth and help women to have empowering birth experiences.
BIRTH DOULAS (BD)
BD provide continuous emotional, informational, and physical support for women and their families during labour. BD support women who deliver at home or at the hospital and assist during all types of births including: Medicated, Non-Medicated, and Caesarean.
Emotional: BD reduce fears and anxiety by identifying feelings and goals.
Informational: BD provide information to help women make informed decisions and facilitate communication with medical staff.
Physical: BD demonstrate and assist women and their families in comfort techniques, and help with breastfeeding after birth.
Medicated Births: BD coach labouring women through administration of medication and assist with comfort measures.
Non-Medicated Births: Women who choose a birth without interventions can be intimidated with the intense discomfort they may feel. However, women find they can get through the difficult part of the labour with a support team present.
Caesarean Births can be unexpected and labouring women may feel unprepared, disappointed, and afraid. Doulas can often attend the Caesarean delivery and provide constant emotional support.
POSTPARTUM DOULAS (PPD)
PPD support families in their home from the day after birth and often through the first six weeks postpartum.
PPD provide information about routine newborn care, breast-feeding, mom’s physical recovery, infant soothing, and mother-baby/father-baby/sibling-baby bonding. Parents are shown how to care for their child by interpreting their baby’s cues, responding appropriately, and resting when their baby rests.
PPD help with cleaning, cooking meals, and caring for older siblings. Father’s are shown how to “mother the mother” and mothers are shown how to care for themselves through nourishment and frequent breaks. PPD accept mothers where they are emotionally and encourage them to gradually take on more responsibilities.