Part One- What Labor Doulas Do and Don’t Do
In the past few years doula has become a household word synonymous with birth and breastfeeding. Many of us have heard about how beneficial and invaluable a labor doula can be. In this three part series we will look at what labor doulas do, the benefits of a using a doula and how to hire the best doula for your family.
First off let’s talk about the word doula. Sounds kind of funny doesn’t it? Pronounced doo-lah, this is an ancient Greek word meaning “a woman who serves”. Doulas are trained to serve a laboring mother and the people she has chosen to support her during this special and difficult time. Doulas serve by providing continuous physical and emotional support from early labor until after the baby is born.
Here is a rundown of what doulas do and do not do:
- Doulas do stay by your side throughout your labor from the time you request her arrival until an hour or so after your baby is born. Doulas do not change shifts or go home.
- Doulas provide guidance and support using relaxation and comfort techniques to help with the pain of labor. Doulas do not perform medical tasks.
- Doulas can be an advocate for you by reminding hospital/birth center staff of your desires and making sure you have informed consent for important decisions. Doulas do not give medical advice.
- Doulas are there to support your desires and choices no matter the changes in the course of labor or the outcomes. Doulas do not insert their personal opinions or dictate the direction of your labor.
- Doulas respect the nursing and healthcare provider staff by being supportive and helpful.
In part two of the labor doula series we will look at the benefits of hiring a labor doula and how doulas can be helpful at any kind of labor and support the many birth choices women have.