An Essential Part of the Birth Team

Like many people expecting their first child, I thought my partner and my Mom would be the ideal support for labor. I didn’t know then how much I needed a doula!

Don’t get me wrong, my partner and Mom were great! But my ideal support team for my 2nd and 3rd babies’ births was much improved with a doula. My doula helped my family to support me. She helped my baby and me come through pregnancy more healthy and ready for the next phase- parenting a newborn!

I can’t imagine having a baby without a doula!

When I had my kids, doula services were an out-of-pocket expense. But now Medi-Cal covers doula support!

What does a doula do?

Doulas get to know your family and your specific needs and priorities. They know pregnancy and birth through training, education, and the experience they have with birthing families. They also know what a big impact how we feel during labor and birth has on our long-term well-being. So, they typically join birthing families in labor and stay with them until the baby has arrived or longer!

You can have a doula’s support in pregnancy for education, through labor and birth, and the first hour or more after birth. You can also choose to have doula support your family in the 4th trimester- the 3 months or so after birth- or postpartum period.

Doulas can show how to care for your baby. They can often support basic breastfeeding, help the family adjust, and continue sharing information, and resources to make parenting easier.

Things my doulas did:

· went to prenatal appointments with me when I was nervous!

· helped with my birth plan

· remained a calming presence for me and my family through labor until my baby was in my arms

· listened to me, heard what I needed, and helped me communicate with my healthcare providers

· made snacks and took care of things we didn’t think of or have the energy to deal with

· used massage, voice, and reassurances to make me more comfortable

· reminded my partner of ways he could help

· gave my partner support to take a nap when he was overly exhausted and didn’t want to leave me on my own

· worked with my midwife to help me with positions to help labor progress

Doulas are supportive care.

They are not healthcare providers. What they do is important. They are champions and advocates who support you and your birth team including health care providers. They help expecting moms and birthing people with comfort, information, and advocacy while midwives and doctors focus on clinical care.

Photo by Rebekah Vos on Unsplash

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