Labor Doula Support
“Okay, so…who did you hire as your labor doula?” Brittney asked.
“Oh yeah!” J’nae looked up from her plate. “My doula was AH-MAZING when I was having the twins. She knew just what to do to keep me sane and supported me even through my cesarean.” J’nae chimed in.
“My WHAT?!” Claudia questioned.”What’s a Do-la?“
The trio of friends sat enjoying brunch on the sunny afternoon. It had been weeks since they were able to get together, and Claudia wanted to bask in all of the ‘veteran mom’ knowledge that her two besties had to offer.
“Oh girl…you’re gonna want a doula.” Brittney added. J’nae nodded in agreement.
What is a Labor Doula?
Doula is a Greek term meaning “servant”. A labor doula is someone who supports (serves) during pregnancy, labor, and the birth process. Labor doulas provide unbiased expert guidance in the entire birthing realm. The support of a labor doula can: help decrease onset of preterm labor, decrease the occurrence of a cesarean birth, and decrease instances of Perinatal Mood & anxiety disorders. To name a few benefits. With the rise of studies regarding birth and the openness that society has come to supporting one another, insurance companies and corporate companies are taking notice. These entities are beginning to reimburse for doula support for their members and employees.
In short, a labor doula is YOUR PERSON in BIRTH!
What Type of Support Can A Doula Provide During Pregnancy, Labor, & Birth
In general, doulas provide emotional, educational, and physical support during pregnancy, labor, and birth. But what does that reeeeeeally mean? How does that transpire to what you’re wanting overall? Let’s dive-in more…
Emotionally, labor doulas provide a calm sounding board for one’s questions and concerns prenatally and during labor and delivery. The ups and downs of emotions (and the triggering hormones) that navigate us through the pregnancy journey. The ‘are these normal thoughts and feelings I’m experiencing?’ or ‘Why am I feeling this way? That makes us feel like aliens in our own skin. Your labor doula is your person through it all.
Physically, labor doulas provide support during the laboring and birth process. Comfort measures to help take one’s mind off of the pains of labor. Administering hydration during labor. Hand holding, back rubbing, hair braiding-brushing-or-stroking, and so much more. Being that right kind of distraction right when and where you need it.
Educationally, labor doulas provide the know-how and expertise of a pregnancy 101 book at your fingertips. An expert in the laboring process and what to prepare for at birth. Labor doulas, while not medical providers, have a certain level of education and experience within the birthing realm; and relay that information with a touch of personalization and relatability. When “knowledge is power” and there is SO.MUCH.TO.KNOW, your labor doula is your encyclopedia.
When to Hire a Labor Doula
The time to hire a labor doula is anytime before you deliver baby! But seriously, there are pros to hiring in each trimester of one’s pregnancy. The sooner one has their birth team assembled, the sooner one gets to reap the benefits. In the first trimester, the unknowns and uncertainties can be discussed and shared with your trusted knowledgeable doula. Plus, the sooner the doula is contracted, your support is on their calendar and reserved. In the second trimester, this gives you peace of mind that the baby is thriving, and that you are ready to proceed. Developing that relationship early on, and building on the connection with your doula. In the third trimester, while this may feel like its “cutting it close’, you’re still able to benefit from the skill and support of a labor doula. Maybe you were awaiting the baby shower for gift cards towards your doula support. Maybe you weren’t yet convinced a doula would be a benefit. Or maybe you didn’t know about doulas! No matter when you decide to hire a doula as part of your birth team, know that doulas are one person you want to have along for the ride.
Questions to Consider When Hiring a Doula
With the want for doula support on the rise, more and more families are looking for that unmatched support of the “perfect” doula for their birthing experience. Additionally, more and more doulas are emerging in the workforce. So how does a family which doula IS that right fit? The consult! Consulting with prospective doulas is a smart way to get the feel and connection of how you and the doula will mesh during this important monumental time. What are the right questions to ask? Here’s a great list of the questions to ask the doulas that you consult with, for the intention of hiring:
Because this field of birth work is not regulated by any governing body, training, work ethic,requirements, certification, etc are all subjected to each individual doula. What’s important to keep in mind, is what YOU value and seek in your supporter. While cost may play a factor in the decision, remember sometimes you get what you pay for.
Claudia was without a doubt pleased with her decision to hire a doula. She had consulted with 5 doulas before she was blown away by the company she hired. “I guess I saved the best for last!” She had chuckled with the doula as they hugged at the door during the consult. Blown away by the professionalism, compassion, and experience of the company, Claudia had signed the contract and paid the retainer on the spot. The remaining weeks of Claudia’s pregnancy were going to be supported by her amazing doula team; and she was elated.