A birth doula is a trained, compassionate labour companion. Doulas have had training in a variety of situations, such as when labor slows down, if the mother becomes discouraged, or if she’s having back pain. Partners are wonderful support, but one of the disadvantages is that it can be very difficult to watch the person you love in pain. Partners do not have the objective, calm perspective and experience that a woman needs and a doula has. Nurses are excellent caregivers, however their attention is divided by caring for clinical responsibilities. In addition, nurse’s shifts will likely change during your labour, a doula provides the continuity of care and emotional support that couples need.
A doula is a trusted, familiar face in an unfamiliar situation. If you desire, your doula will attend your early labour at home, and will be a continuous presence throughout your labor until after baby is born. A doulas support is invaluable to fathers, reassuring them and allowing them to take a break if needed.
Studies have also shown that having a doula at your birth significantly lowers the chance of interventions such as pitocin, epidurals, forceps and c-sections. Women who are supported by doulas also have shorter labors and have much more satisfying birth experiences. Your doula will help you get the information you need to make informed choices for your birth. She will help you with your birth plan and be a source of unconditional support. A doula is a vital partner in modern maternity care.
A postpartum doula supports a family in their home after the birth of their new baby. The postpartum period is a time of adjustment unlike any other in a family’s life, and some parents find that they can feel overwhelmed and unprepared for the adjustments in lifestyle and routine that occur after their baby is born. Others are simply looking for an extra pair of hands to lighten the load after baby has arrived so their family can rest and enjoy this special time. A postpartum doula is a non-medical professional with training to help families through this time of transition by offering knowledge, support and practical household help. The support offered is tailored to each family’s individual needs and wants. Services offered by postpartum doulas are very personalized and flexible. They can include such things as: keeping mom well hydrated and fed, breastfeeding support and education, newborn care, caring for older siblings, helping family members adjust to their new roles, babywearing education, light household tidying and laundry, and directing families to resources in their communities. Every family deserves the knowledgeable support a postpartum doula can offer. Please feel free to contact any of the postpartum doulas at the Red Deer Doula Association with any questions you may have. We would love to talk to you about how to have the best postpartum experience possible.