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Why Hire a Doula?
Studies have shown that the presence of a doula improves birth outcomes for both mother and baby.
Benefits of using a doula include:
*Statistics from Mothering the Mother by Kennel, Kennel, and Klaus
Other benefits include:
What does a doula do?
A doula provides continuous emotional, physical, and informational support during pregnancy, labor and the post partum period. A doula helps meet the needs of women as they journey into motherhood. Doulas are educated and knowledgeable about childbirth and the postpartum experience. They are advocates and a listening ear for birthing mothers, as well as facilitators to her partner.
A doula does not perform any clinical tasks such as vaginal exams, fetal monitoring, etc. A doula does not make decisions for you.BACK TO TOP
What should I ask a potential doula?
From the DONA website, here are recommendations about how to interview a potential doula.
To hire a birth doula, ask the following questions:
What about my partner?
The woman's partner (the baby's father or another loved one) is essential in providing support for the woman. A doula cannot make some of the unique contributions that the partner makes, such as a long-term commitment, intimate knowledge of the woman, and love for her and her child. The doula is there in addition to, not instead of, the partner. Ideally, the doula and the partner make the perfect support team for the woman, complementing each other's strengths.
In the 1960s, the earliest days of fathers' involvement in childbirth, the expectation was that they would be intimately involved as advisors, coaches and decision-makers for the woman. This turned out to be an unrealistic expectation for most men because they had little prior knowledge of birth or medical procedures and little confidence or desire to ask questions of medical staff. In addition, some men felt helpless and distressed over the women's pain and were not able to provide the constant reassurance and nurturing that women need. With a doula present, the pressure on the father is decreased and he can participate at his own comfort level. Fathers often feel relieved when they can rely on a doula for help; they enjoy the experience more. For those fathers who want to play an active support role, the doula assists and guides them in effective ways to help their loved ones in labor. Partners other than fathers (lovers, friends, family members) also appreciate the doula's support, reassurance and assistance.
*From the DONA Birth Doula Position Paper
For more information, read DONA's article "Dads and Doulas."BACK TO TOP
What is your philosophy about birth?
I believe that childbirth is a natural, normal process. I believe that womens' bodies were designed to give birth and that the natural process of birth is best for mother and baby. I think that women can be empowered by giving birth and that knowledge of the process is essential to good decision-making. When mothers feel safe and supported, birth happens naturally. I feel that my job as a doula is to support the mother so that she is comfortable with her birth and her decisions. My goal is to help the mother have a beautiful birth that she will remember forever, and a healthy baby for her to love.BACK TO TOP
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