A doula is someone who helps a woman during childbirth.
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What Will a Doula Do for Me?
A doula can help you make good decisions about your birth and your baby.
She will help answer any questions you may have about the birth. She can explain anything the doctors tell you and be there once you go to the hospital to explain what is going on.
You will meet your doula a couple of times before you go into labor and she will describe what you can expect during the birth of your baby. You can tell her what you’d like once you go to the hospital, what you are afraid of during labor, and how you’d like to be treated. She will help you write down things you want the doctors and nurses to know once you go to the hospital to have your baby (this is called a birth plan or birth wish list.) This list will look something like:
I’d like to use the shower during labor, and move around to manage the contractions. I don’t want to be hooked up to machines, unless it is necessary
I want to hold my baby as soon as possible after the birth
I don’t want a cesarean birth unless it is an emergency
I’d like to hear my music while I am in labor
Once you are in labor, she can help you decide when it is the right time to go to the hospital, and she will be at your side to help you relax. She will teach you breathing exercises, suggest different positions you can use to ease the pain, and she will rub your back.
Once you go to the hospital she will follow you, help you tell the nurses what you want, and make sure you get it.
If you have other friends or family members at your birth she can help them understand what is going on and she can suggest things they can do to help you.
She will stay a short time after the birth and help you feed your baby if you wish to breastfeed, and then visit you within a few days to check in on you and your baby. You will be able to text or call her after the baby is born and she will help you know many things about your baby like when to feed him/her, how you can help him sleep better, how and when you can give him a bath, and what to do when your baby is crying.
A doula is there for you and you alone, and does not work for your doctor, the hospital.
How Can Having a Doula Help?
Mommies who have doulas:
Have shorter labors
Have less pain
Are less likely to have a cesarean section
Are less likely to need drugs to help labor progress
Are happier with their birth experience
Feel good about their birth and feel closer to their babies.
Feel listened to and well cared for