What is a Doula?
A doula is a non-medical professional who assists a family during pregnancy, labour and delivery as well as postpartum care. A doula specializes in providing emotional, physical, and informational support. The continuity of care that is provided by a doula can lead to increased maternal and fetal health as well as contributing to the lasting memory of a family’s birth experience.
What a Doula Does...
Lasting Memories Doula services will differ from family to family, and can be accommodated to fit the needs and wishes of the family, but typically this is what can be done:
- Meet with an expecting family to get acquainted, and learn the history of the pregnancy and any specific comfort measures they would like in labour, birth and postpartum
- Assist with the creation of a birth plan if desired
- Provide a list of essentials for labouring at home or in the hospital
- Provide a list of newborn essentials
- Teach relaxation, visualization, and beneficial labour positions and breathing techniques to assist the family during labour
- Provide resources such as books/ websites that could be beneficial to the family depending on their ideal birth plan or wishes
During Labour and Delivery
- Encourage and empower the family, address and work through any fears and keep the everyone calm
- Ensuring the environment (whether hospital or home) is one where the family can feel safe, secure, and comfortable
- Provide constant emotional support, informational support and physical comfort measures to help the entire family cope with labour which can include positions that can benefit the birth by reducing pain and promoting relaxation
- Coach both the partners in breathing, visualizations, or position changes to support the labour process and relieve any discomfort
- Encourage listening to their body to lead to effective pushing
- Support any changes to a birth plan
- Take pictures of the birth and the new addition to the family
- Help with the first latch to encourage breastfeeding if desired
- Follow up with breastfeeding support if desired
- Follow up with newborn care
- Listen to the family's birth experience
- Answer any questions they may have about newborn care, newborn feeding, and early parenting
- Referring the family to any resources they may need