What is a doula?
What is a Birth Doula?
A Birth Doula is a person who assists the family before, during and immediately after the birth of their baby. They are trained professionals who provide continuous physical, emotional and educational support to parents before, during and shortly after childbirth to help them achieve a healthy, enjoyable birth experience.
During the pregnancy, the Doula learns about the parents’ concerns and priorities for the birth. They stay in close contact as the due date approaches, providing reassurance and ensuring their availability for labor. The Doula also helps the parents to understand any tests or procedures and helps to provide evidence-based information pertinent to their specific pregnancy and labor.
During labor, a Doula with provide support to the parent, continuously. The Doula offers comforting touch and massage, emotional support, and reassurance in the birth process. They can provide hot and cold compresses at just the right time, use aromatherapy, and assist the parents in effective positions for labor and birth. They will also provide simple explanations of obstetrical terms and procedures. This continuous care is provided throughout labor until after the baby is born.
Following the birth of the baby, the Doula offers breastfeeding assistance, information and support. They can take photos and help the family with their immediate needs. The Doula visits again soon after the birth to review the experience with the family, answer any questions and supply referrals to postpartum services or may provide postpartum care, themselves.
What is a Postpartum Doula? (after baby is born)
Postpartum Doulas are trained professionals that assist a new family in those first days and weeks after the birth or adoption of a baby. A postpartum doula provides the family with evidenced-based information on infant feeding, soothing methods, and basic newborn care.
The Postpartum Doula is a reference point; an assistant and resource for the family in the postpartum period. They can support a parent’s emotional and physical recovery from birth, as well as parent–child bonding. They provide loving support so that the new parent feels nurtured, while keeping the household running efficiently so that they can focus their energy on their baby.
Working alongside parents, the Postpartum Doula can assist in making the transition to parenthood and family relationships easier. The Postpartum Doula does not assume the role of caregiver, but supports and assists the family in learning about newborn, self and family care. They empower families in feeling secure in their skills as caregivers.
A Postpartum Doula does not make or give medical advice, or perform medical procedures. They simply offer education and support and assist the family in finding answers and resources. Postpartum Doulas work well with children using patient, non-judgmental communication.