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As I found such a perfect description online, I decided to just quote it directly from that site.

“The word doula is a Greek word that means women’s servant. Women have been serving other women in childbirth for centuries and have proven that this support from another woman has positive effects on the labor process…A doula is a professional trained in childbirth who provides emotional, physical and informational support to the woman who is expecting, in labor or has recently given birth. The doula’s role is to help women have a safe, memorable and empowering birthing experience…Most often the word doula is referring to the birth doula, or labor support companion, but there is also the antepartum doula and the postpartum doula…Doulas can also be called labor companions, labor support specialist, labor support professional, birth assistants or labor assistants.”http://www.americanpregnancy.org/labornbirth/havingadoula.html

What a great definition. I couldn’t have explained it any better. It is exactly that. A woman who is trained and helps an expectant mother before, during, and after childbirth. A doula will know your birth plan inside and out and should be able to tell you any obstacles you might have depending on the hospital, doctors on call, and nursing staff that you might encounter. They will be your eyes, ears, and mouth while you are in labor. They will also help you into various positions that will aid in the birthing process, they will explain things that are happening to you and where you are in your labor, they will watch the baby monitor, hold your hand, remind you to breathe, remind you to drink water and to pee hourly…basically, they are a more informed version of you while you are in labor.

They can be life savers to husbands. Men don’t often remember their wife’s wishes and some don’t even fully understand everything their wife wants. Plus, they want to be concentrating on the delivery, not on speaking to the doctor about what position you want to give birth in,  knowing what position to roll you in to to help ease the surges or when you need to get up and pee. Men, typically, just want to be there, hold your hand and hope you don’t curse them out. A doula can relieve a great deal of stress off of their shoulders as they know they aren’t responsible for doing much else than to stand there at your beck and call.

I was in the dark about doulas until I took my hypnobirthing class and prenatal yoga class. Both classes opened me up to other women using doulas. As I am more private, I knew that I didn’t want any family from either side in the delivery room. I wanted someone to help me that I didn’t know.  So I began researching and interviewing doulas. I found my doula through a referral and interviewed her and a couple of others about 3 months before I was due.

I conducted 2 interviews in my home, 1 at my local midwifery, and 1 at a massage therapy spa.  Location is all up to you and what you are comfortable with. The interview I did at the massage therapy spa was done there because the doula was also a massage therapist; I took a prenatal massage from her and then interviewed her right afterward.  Do whatever feels comfortable to you.

So, what do you ask? Well, the first thing to ask is if they are available to be your doula around your due date. Then find out how they were trained, if they’re certified, how many births they’ve assisted, what makes them different from other doulas, are they familiar with your doctor and the hospital where you’ll be delivering, etc. Here is a great site that you can print that helps you ask the right questions when interviewing a doula: http://www.babycenter.com/0_doula-interview-sheet-questions-to-ask-a-potential-birth-dou_1458427.bc. Overall it comes down to finding out as much about them as possible and their views about positions, birthing techniques, if they massage during labor, do they have issues with your doctor, what can they do to help you in labor, will they bring a labor ball for you, do they have a squat bar, are they for or against taking off the baby monitor while at the hospital, what are they comfortable with you doing in labor?  There’s much to ask and find out. You want to have an idea of what you’re looking for and then find a doula as close to your qualifications as possible.

Not only is meeting your qualifications important, but you also need to be comfortable with them. Don’t be nervous when conducting the interview. They are just normal people that want to help you. Upon meeting them, feel the energy they bring through the door. Was it warm and friendly or cold and distant? Do you feel comfortable with them? Remember, you will be relying on and trusting them to present your needs and wishes to the nurses and the doctors when you can’t speak during labor. You don’t want someone that takes time to warm up to you—unless that’s what you’re looking for. I like more outgoing, but calm personalities, myself. A motherly figure. Someone who is around my age but someone I respect and can look to them for advice and guidance in an area that I may not know everything about. I also want someone who is persistent in their beliefs and who will not back down when it comes to expressing my wishes in a hospital. Ultimately, you have to find someone like you. This may take interviewing a couple of doulas. You have to like and be completely comfortable in who you choose.

What should I expect after I choose a doula? Depending on the doula you’ll probably have one or two sessions with them before you go into labor regarding your birth plan, any questions you have about what to expect at the hospital, positions you might want, additional items they can bring to help in the delivery, massage and surge relieving techniques, etc. They will prep you and then when it’s time to go to the hospital, you call them and they will arrive to be with you during labor. After you give birth they will help you in breastfeeding and will stay until the baby latches on or until you get the hang of things. Then they might come back to the hospital before you leave and double check on you. Once home, they normally come by for one or two sessions to make sure you have the breast feeding down, find out any problems you might be having, and any postpartum hormonal issues you might be feeling. They are both a mom and a friend. You can ask them things that might be too embarrassing to ask a family member. They are available to you until you get everything underway.

I would recommend a doula to everyone. That one extra person can help you have the best birthing experience. They help you and your husband just focus on the birth. You also may be surprised to find a new friend!

To find a doula in your area, google or contact your local Midwifery, or you can find a doula from the link below:

 http://www.drmoz.com/doulas.html

Medical Disclaimer: Certain sections of this Blog deal with health and medical related issues.  Always seek the advice of a trained health professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before seeking any treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking medical treatment due to information obtained on mytoxinfreebaby.com. Any information received from this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure. This site is for information purposes only. The information on this blog is not intended to replace proper medical care.

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Continuing the Discussion

  1. 31 Weeks day 1 – Last minute things you don’t want to forget – My Journey to being healthy, pregnant and toxin free.

    [...] Choosing a doula is a very personal choice. You have to interview several doulas and pick someone who you feel comfortable with. Don’t just go with the first person you interview. The energy and connection have to be there as this person will be in the delivery room with you and will be communicating your wants and needs to the nursing staff. They will be taking care of you and making sure you are in comfortable positions, being massaged, drinking enough water, peeing etc. You want someone who you can trust and feel comfortable with. Take your time and find the right doula. [...]

    May 4, 20105:31 pm
  2. 35 Weeks day 1 – Finding Comfort in a Doula – My Journey to being healthy, pregnant and toxin free.

    [...] my first doula and myself was not exactly right on. I questioned writing this blog as I already blogged about choosing a doula. This blog is a bit different and more about making sure you find who you [...]

    May 25, 20101:05 pm
  3. Fred

    linear@salle.heads” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thanks for information….

    July 27, 20142:56 pm

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