Pregnancy is one time in your life when your vocabulary will seem to grow almost endlessly. Words you had never heard of prior to conception will slowly creep into your everyday conversations, and Google will become your best friend as new words are introduced to you. Gems like episiotomy may become common doctor’s office vocabulary words, and like it or not, the meanings of words like vernix and colostrum are added to your collection of life knowledge.
One word being used more and more in the birth community is doula. As the popularity of doulas grows, the word continues to be tossed around, leaving many pregnant mamas wondering what in the world a doula is and what all the fuss is about.
If you are one of these women, this article is for you. In this piece we will cover the definition of a doula, as well as the many reasons you might consider hiring one for yourself.
What is a Doula?
Perhaps you’ve heard the word floating around, or maybe your sister-in-law can’t quit talking about how wonderful her doula was. Either way, you are left wondering what a doula is, and inquiring minds simply must know.
The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek language and means “to serve”. This definition is, in fact, quite accurate. A doula is essentially an assistant and advocate for a birthing mother. A doula is trained in the art of birth assistance and has a variety of tips, tricks, and tools available to her to make birth as magical as it can be for every mother, partner, and baby.
A good doula works quickly and quietly in order to keep the focus on mother and baby rather than herself. She is efficient and anticipates the needs of the birthing woman in order to keep her happy and comfortable during labor and delivery. Some of the ways she might do this is by fetching or making food for the laboring mama, helping them find comfortable laboring positions, and bringing along tools such as birthing balls to help make her client’s birthing experience a good one.
She also carries with her a wealth of knowledge on the subject of birthing—something that will help many new moms be more comfortable throughout labor—and has the potential to lower the rates invasive procedures. Using this knowledge she can serve as an advocate for the new mother as she navigates her birth choices.
Many doulas also offer postpartum services in order to assist new mothers through the transition into motherhood. This transitional service may include breastfeeding advice, emotional support, errand running, and light house work among other things.
Who Needs a Doula?
In a word, “everyone”. Whether you are planning to have your baby at a hospital, in a birthing center, or in the comfort of your own home, a doula is an amazing addition to your birthing team. A doula is a support person throughout pregnancy and can provide you with comfort measures that your doctor or midwife may be unable to. She also is there to help you build a realistic birth plan, and assist you in sticking to that plan as much as possible.
Even those planning a cesarean can benefit from the support of a doula. Going in for a C-section is stressful, and a doula can help ease fears and make mama comfortable before and during the procedure. She is also there to share details of what is happening during the procedure with curious mothers, and provide support after the surgery by staying with mama or going with baby to the nursery, should the need arise.
Why Should I Hire a Doula?
A doula is the perfect addition to any birthing team because she can help the family get the birth experience they desire. This is important in order to prevent birth trauma and help mother and baby bond.
Birth can be a peaceful and beautiful experience, and a doula helps ensure your birth is a magical one. You can click here to have a free consultation with a Thrive Mama Collective doula in Oklahoma City at our plaza district location.