Birth Health Blog

Will a Doula really be able to help me?

Studies show that having a doula present at your birthing beget beautiful results, not just in the hospital (though percentages of natural births increase dramatically in this setting), but at home as well. According to the DONA (Doulas of North America) International Birth Position Paper, “The birth of each baby has a long lasting impact on the physical and mental health of mother, baby and family.” In birth, having someone you trust to give you unbiased information, emotional support, and physical comfort is a resource that cannot be measured. THAT is what a doula gives you.

A Doula’s training

A doula has been trained with the specification to support a woman during her birth. With that desire in mind, she has read countless books and studies, attended workshops, discussed with other doulas in chat rooms, or study groups, and the list goes on. In DONA’s Standards of Practice paper it states: “Doulas certified by DONA International will have the experience as set forth in the DONA International Requirements for Certification. This includes provision of support to a minimum number of clients, positive evaluations from clients and health care providers and records of three births, including a summary, observation form and account of each birth.” She WANTS as much information as she can possibly get so that in any special circumstance that may arise, she can be of value to the birthing mother. It is important to have that information in the form of a person because in labor, the woman giving birth likely won’t be able to pull it off the top of her head, and a husband or birth partner can get pretty flustered and make hasty decisions. Just to have a doula there to remind you to ask questions about procedures or medicines is invaluable.

Women to Women

Having another woman present in the room provides a sense of emotional comfort that nothing else can. Knowing that this woman has given birth (or can at least sympathize quite well having a woman’s body), gives the birthing mother a sense of courage: “If she did it I CAN”. A woman is sensitive to the needs of a mother that a husband or care provider oftentimes doesn’t think of. A doula can see emotions that may be hindering the birthing process, especially when they have met prenatally and discussed things that often never get discussed between husband and wife. That knowledge and intuition can help a woman out of an emotional rut.

Can’t my husband be my doula?

According to DONA’s Code of Ethics “The doula should promote the general health of women and their babies, and whenever possible, that of their family and friends as well.” If there is a husband or birth partner present at the birth, they can provide quite a lot of the physical support and comfort, but oftentimes they haven’t learned or just don’t know how. They aren’t quite sure what to do, so they either do too much or too little depending on their personalities. When a doula is present, she makes suggestions to the birth partner that are invaluable because she knows techniques that focus on different kinds of pain or discomfort during labor, and also the words and actions that give the most relaxation. It’s also very valuable to have a two-man labor support team not only to compliment each other, but a lot of times two sets of hands are needed during labor and pushing, when you never thought they would be.

Doula and Friend

A doula is an invaluable friend and companion during labor. She develops a bond with the birthing family prenatally and during birth that can’t be matched by any other relationship. A doula gives informational, emotional, and physical support and comfort in ways that no one else can. She has the goal to make the birthing process a beautiful and enjoyable experience that the family will always cherish and never forget.

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