For the next few days I enjoyed some quality time with my husband. We generally do not get to spend all day together, and I was so happy to have him around. He attended Mother Goose time with Lily and me, and she seemed to enjoy it so much more with Daddy there. I noticed that his and her bond seems to have grown since he was able to spend so much time with her.
Finally, this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday I attended the DONA Introduction to Childbirth, Basic Lactation, and DONA Doula Workshop that I have been waiting to attend. I am so excited to have taken the steps necessary to start helping women in labor.
For those of you who may not know what a doula is, visit the DONA International Website to find out more.
What is a doula?*
The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.
What does a birth doula do?*
A birth doula:
- Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
- Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
- Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
- Stays with the woman throughout the labor
- Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decision
- Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
- Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience
- Allows the woman's partner to participate at his/her comfort level
A birth doula certified by DONA International is designated by the initials CD(DONA).
Why use a birth doula?**
Women have complex needs during childbirth and the weeks that follow. In addition to medical care and the love and companionship provided by their partners, women need consistent, continuous reassurance, comfort, encouragement and respect. They need individualized care based on their circumstances and preferences.
DONA International doulas are educated and experienced in childbirth and the postpartum period. We are prepared to provide physical (non-medical), emotional and informational support to women and their partners during labor and birth, as well as to families in the weeks following childbirth. We offer a loving touch, positioning and comfort measures that make childbearing women and families feel nurtured and cared for.
Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth
- tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
- reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
- reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction and cesareans
- reduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals
Research shows parents who receive support can:
- Feel more secure and cared for
- Are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
- Have greater success with breastfeeding
- Have greater self-confidence
- Have less postpartum depression
- Have lower incidence of abuse
Do I need a doula if I plan to have an epidural, other medications or am planning a cesarean section?
Yes! All women receive benefits from having a doula present at their birth. A doula is there to help the woman carry out HER birth plans and to help HER have the best experience possible. If a woman desires to have a doula at her birth, then she should have one.