Are Postpartum Doula Services Right for Me?
Many modern moms choose to employ a postpartum doula to help them during childbirth and as you learn the ropes in the postpartum period. If you want to take a holistic approach to the birth process, feel anxious about giving birth or learning to be a mother, or just want some experienced support, having a doula might be right for you. Read on to find out more about what doulas do and whether their services are right for you.
What is a Postpartum Doula?
Doulas are trained to offer help and support to new mothers. You can think of it like a professional birth partner. Unlike the midwife and obstetrician, the doula does not give medical support, but rather practical and emotional help throughout your labor and the postpartum period. Your doula is a trained professional who is there just to help meet your needs.
Doula Definition: The word is derived from Ancient Greek and originally meant “women’s servant”, but as you can see, the modern definition of doula is much broader.
What are the Benefits of a Doula?
- They provide you with emotional support during and immediately after giving birth.
- Doulas can help you with physical tasks you are finding difficult after childbirth (particularly useful if you have to have a caesarean).
- Studies show that women who employ a doula are more likely to have a successful natural birth (drug-free) and less likely to need a caesarean section.
- Your doula will help you with early breastfeeding, offering emotional and practical support as your baby learns to latch on.
- A doula is experienced with newborn babies and is able to advise you on what is normal and what could be cause to seek medical help.
Finding the Right Person for You – Questions to Ask a Doula:
Choosing the right doula for you is a deeply personal decision. There’s no need to go with the first one in the phonebook – take your time – it’ll be worth it.
It’s a good idea to prepare a set of questions to ask any prospective doula. Don’t worry, they shouldn’t mind doing a bit of a ‘job interview’. It’s important that the relationship is friendly, relaxed, and trusting. Here are a few ideas for questions you could ask:
- What is your philosophy around childbirth?
- What training have you had as a doula?
- Are you a certified postpartum doula?
- Are you available at the time of my due date?
- What type of help and support do you provide?
It’s the personal relationship that matters most when choosing a doula. You’ll work incredibly intimately with this person and they’ll see you in your most vulnerable moments. Choose someone you can develop a strong and trusting bond with.
More Articles on Pregnancy and Postpartum Health and Care:
As well as doulas, there are quite a few other professionals who can help and support you before, during, and after pregnancy. Find out more about your options for pregnancy care here.
It’s really important to know what to expect when you (finally!) go into labor. And developing a written birth plan helps make your wishes clear to anyone involved in the delivery and helps you stay in control of the process. After all, you may not be in a position to communicate clearly once you’re in the throes of childbirth. Check out our practical guide to creating a birth plan here.
While you’re pregnant, it’s very easy to focus on just being pregnant. But what should you expect in the first days and weeks after giving birth? Explore our directory of articles on the postpartum period here.