The Role of Doulas in Pregnancy and Birth
The role of a doula is to provide physical, emotional, and informational support to a woman during pregnancy, labor and birth. Women throughout history had female confidants, sister-friends, and midwives as support throughout this significant experience. Although doulas don’t typically provide medical advice, they are a vital piece to a woman’s pregnancy and help to create a positive birth experience.
Why Use a Doula?
A doula can provide many unique benefits for expecting mothers and their families.
- Psychological Support: Doulas offer emotional and practical support throughout pregnancy, labor and birth. They are trained to provide comfort techniques, support through labor and help manage fear, so the mother can have a positive birth experience.
- Informational Support: Doulas can provide prenatal education and help the parents process medical information. This support allows the parents to make informed choices and better advocate for their family.
- Partner Support: During labor, partners can provide emotional and practical support, but they may not know how to best help. A doula is trained in comfort techniques and can provide advice on how to manage labor pain and help the partner know what to expect.
How to Choose a Doula
Finding the right doula is important, and there are a few things to consider before making a decision:
- Research the doula’s experience and qualifications
- Check references
- Meet with the doula in person
- Discuss fees, services, and expectations
- Feel comfortable and confident with the doula
Having a doula present in pregnancy and birth can be an important part in helping a woman and her partner achieve a positive birth experience. There are many doula options, and choosing the right one can help ensure that the expecting family receives the best care.