A doula is your emotional, physical and educational support in pregnancy who is professionally trained to assist you in labour and childbirth in order to ensure that delivery is a beautiful experience for you, whether the birth is natural or not.
It was traditional to be surrounded by women during childbirth who were also known as midwives; doulas are improvised versions of midwives who allow women to feel empowered during the birthing process by equipping them with information that matters.
The Benefits Of Having A Doula
Apart from having them during delivery, a lot of women prefer getting in touch with a doula quite some time ahead of their due date because they feel the need to confide, enquire, be assured and confront on an emotional level that they can’t do with doctors. The non-medical support that doulas provide is highly sought after by women. Listed below are the benefits of having a doula in pregnancy:
- Helps the mother in creating a birth plan1 that would include her specific needs and desires, during and after birth.
- Helps the mother to have a safe and positive experience during birth, while being well-informed of the choices she makes in the process.
- Encourages early skin-to-skin2 and breastfeeding.
- Women are less likely to need pain medication because of the natural pain management techniques that a doula can help to learn.
- Doulas encourage the father to be an active participant in labour and birth.
- Doulas do not choose the type of birth but assist in it, regardless of the type. There is no external pressure to resort to anything specific.
- In unplanned and emergency caesareans, a doula provides emotional encouragement to the woman who might feel deprived.
How To Choose The Right Doula?
Doulas can be interviewed to help make the right choice. They will generally not charge you for that so you can always have a list of questions to ask and assure yourself that you are placing the pregnancy in safe hands. The questions that you could ask a potential doula are:
- What is the kind of professional training she has received?
- What are her charges like?
- What kind of services does she offer in pregnancy and childbirth?
- Will she assist a Caesarean delivery?
- Will she be available on and around your due date?
- Does she believe in a natural, un-medicated home birth?
- Would she help in making a birth plan?
- Will she be available before birth for one-to-one sessions?
Based on the answer to these questions, you can choose your doula. Always remember to choose someone you feel comfortable with because the primary motive of hiring a doula is to provide you comfort.
You could choose to consult your friends and family members to find out if they have had doulas and could refer you to one who is familiar. Always keep your priorities on the table and let a doula help you achieve them while birthing. Women need emotional support more than anything else during pregnancy and a doula helps immensely with that.