At 31 weeks pregnant, I can no longer be in denial over the fact that I’m going to need to go through labor to give birth to my precious baby. After a traumatic first birth experience (although the end result was a blessing = healthy mom and baby), I am carrying a lot of baggage, fear and uncertainty with regard to my son’s upcoming birthday. I recently watched The Business of Being Born, and it dawned on me that hiring a birth doula to be my advocate and labor coach might be a good idea to help ease my mind, and hopefully my experience. I have been actively researching doulas and the role they play in assisting birthing mamas, but the question still looms for me, “Should I hire a birth doula?” Here’s a look into the decision-making journey.
What is a Birth Doula?
The word “doula” is derived from ancient Greek and means “a woman who serves.” The modern-day definition of a doula is a “trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth.”
What Does a Birth Doula Do?
A doula’s role is to “mother the mother” during her labor and delivery. She is a trained advocate who is present to help carry out a mother’s birth plan and it is her job to help communicate the mother’s desires to care providers, ensuring that the mother’s needs are met and her wishes respected. Doulas often employ massage, aromatherapy, hypnobirthing, and other relaxation techniques to help mothers cope with labor pain. A doula’s goal is for a mother to achieve the best birth experience possible, and to create a happy memory of the day.
What A Birth Doula Doesn’t Do
A doula does not replace a doctor, midwife or nurse. Doulas are not medically trained and they do not perform the following or any other medical interventions: vaginal examinations, blood drawing or temperature taking, monitoring fetal heart rate.