What's a doula? And more importantly, why should i have one?
Birth can be hard, unpredictable, and even a little scary. As a doula I provide physical and emotional support to help you have the labor you want. Births attended by doulas tend to be shorter, have fewer complications, and babies from doula-assisted births tend to be healthier and breastfeed more easily.
That’s why Dr. John Kennel said “If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical to withhold her.”
What does a doula actually do?
I’ll help you find positions that feel good.
No matter how many times you practice the positions from your Lamaze class, no matter how many books you read, when active labor sets in it can be hard to remember what you learned. I can help suggest positions, like hands and knees, squatting, sitting on a ball or backwards on the toilet that can help open your pelvis and move the baby down. I’ll keep an eye out to see which positions are working for you and make suggestions for when to change. The less you have to think about what you are doing, the faster your labor will be.
I’ll hula with you!
Everyone has heard that moving helps speed up labor, but walking up and down the hallway for 10+ hours can get boring. I will suggest creative ways to help get you and your baby moving. I’ll walk, hula, dance and bounce on a ball with you.
I’ll tell you that “You’ve got this!”
Almost everyone reaches the point in labor where they feel they just can't go any further. As your doula, I will encourage you through the hardest parts of labor. Sometimes a “You can do it” is enough to get you through the toughest contractions.
I’ll stay with you the whole time.
Having continuous support allows you to focus on your baby, rather than who is coming in and out of the room. I will be there at your home before the hospital or birthing center will even let you in.
I’ll help track your contractions and help you decide when to leave FOR the hospital/birth center.
A watched pot doesn’t boil, and counting the minutes between your contractions won’t make them go faster. I can help track your contractions so you don’t have to, and help you decide when it's time to leave for the hospital or birthing center.
I can help your partner be more confident.
Partners often feel at a loss during birth. It can be scary for them to see you in pain, or they just might not know what to do. As your doula I will reassure your partner that yes, those noises you are making are normal, and will give concrete suggestions, like counter pressure, hip squeezes, or offering sips of water and other ways they can be helpful.
I’ll help you settle into the hospital/birth center.
It's best to labor at home as long as possible, because that is where most people feel the safest, which is critical to helping your labor progress. Often, when a laboring person leaves their home, their may labor slows, or sometimes even stops. I will help handle the logistics like hailing a cab, and continue to support you so that you can stay in the zone.
I’ll make sure your voice is heard.
As your doula I will never make decisions for you, and I won’t speak for you. But I can help create the space for you to be heard. We will meet in the weeks or months leading up to your birth to discuss your birth plan and preferences. If during labor things start to stray from those plans, I can help you get them back on track, or help ensure that you are in control of creating a new plan if necessary.
How does a postpartum doula help my family?
Postpartum doulas provide companionship, and emotional and practical support to the whole family in the days and weeks after a birth.
During each visit we’ll sit down and assess how best to use our time together. Below are some ideas for what I might do during that time.
I’ll help change diapers.
I’ll help you learn the ins and outs of baby care. From cloth diapers to disposable, bathing, umbilical cord care to circumcision care, I’ll be there with practical advice and support to help build your confidence and trust your instincts.
I’ll be there to listen and answer questions.
Many people continue to relive the experiences and feelings of birth for days, even weeks afterwards, but may not have someone they can talk with who really gets it. I can help process what happened in labor, and also answer any questions you have about the recovery period.
I’ll make sure you can get a nap and a shower.
Newborns eat every 2-4 hours, even during the night, so it doesn’t take long for sleep deprivation to set in. I can care for your baby so that you can get some much needed sleep or a shower.
I’ll support you in breastfeeding.
Many new parents have questions about breastfeeding. I can offer support, answer questions and make suggestions for holds or how to improve latch.
I’ll pick up some eggs and milk.
Whether you've had a cesarean section or a vaginal birth the recovery period after birth is long, and simple tasks, like picking up the groceries, aren’t really an option. I’ll run to the store to stock your fridge, pick up your dry cleaning, and run other errands that you won’t be up for until you’ve healed.
I’ll prepare healthy meals.
It takes more calories to breastfeed a baby than it does to grow one! I’ll prepare healthy meals for you to eat and can even help stock up your freezer. I love to bake, so I can even make you a treat if you like! That way you can focus on bonding with your baby and recovering from labor.