What is a doula anyway? 

Doulas are companions who provide non-clinical support and care to a person during their pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. Doulas work with people in labor, their families, and their health care team to ensure effective communication and understanding of their bodies and the many different elements of the pregnancy and birthing process. Doulas have a collective motivation to ensure that families have a secure, comfortable, positive birth experience.

Why should you consider having a doula?

Your doula’s main priority is YOU.

You may already have a few people in mind to support you on your upcoming labor and birth and the weeks and months leading up to it. Your partner, your family members, your midwife, your doctors, your nurses; they all have a role to play on your big day. However, they may not always be with you to ensure you are comforted throughout your labor and birth. A doula’s job is to provide you with physical, emotional, and informational support. Doulas make sure that expecting parents (1) feel safe and comfortable, (2) they are aware of their choices, (3) and that they are making fully informed decisions when it comes to their birthing experience. 

The same can be said for a full-spectrum doula or a postpartum doula. A full-spectrum doula offers support to people during the full spectrum of pregnancy – from preconception, to birth, to abortion, to miscarriage, to adoption, to postpartum. A postpartum doula can help people feel comfortable and confident in caring for their newborn and make sure they get enough sleep, be nourished, and take enough time for themselves to fully recover. Doulas help parents transition smoothly into parenthood.

Your doula can be a personal resource guide.

You will likely be in touch with your doula well before labor even begins. Doulas can help expectant parents process conflicting pregnancy, labor and birthing, postpartum advice and figure out what is best for them and their family.

Doulas are educators. While it can be easy to simply go online and find answers quickly, doulas are more hands-on and offer non-clinical advice that is thoughtful, non-judgmental, and specific to their clients’ pregnancy experience.

You deserve to feel confident and have constant support

Having doulas in birth and in postpartum is associated with many benefits such as (1) reduction in the incidence of C-sections, operative vaginal deliveries, and likelihood of birth complications involving mothers or children; (2) reduction in the number of low-birth weight babies; (3) reduction in the duration of labor; (4) reduction in the need for pain-relief medications; (5) increase success of breastfeeding; (6) increase parents’ satisfaction of the birth experience; (7) reduction in the incidence of postpartum mood disorders; and (8) increase new parents confidence in the care of their newborn.

While no one can possibly predict how birth unfolds (no matter how much planning and preparation are done), having continuous advocacy provides a whole other level of comfort and confidence in a person’s ability to cope and thrive. Everyone is deserving of a chance to get the support they need.

 

If you have worked with doulas before, do share with us and help spread the word. If you have questions and/or are curious about how doulas and naturopathic medicine can help you have a positive birthing experience, don’t hesitate to reach out!

 

Dr. Kim Abog, ND