There is nothing quite like the miracle of childbirth to illustrate the beauty of life. While the experience is the pinnacle of nine long months of pregnancy, it also can be a time of uncertainty and stress, whether you’re a first-time mother who doesn’t know what to expect or even if you already have children, because each birth is different. Some women opt to hire a doula to accompany them in the months preceding and the moments during their childbirth.
While not an official medical professional, a doula is a combination of a mentor, a medical advisor, and a support companion, whose extensive knowledge of labor and emotional assistance helps many women have a more positive birth experience. There are a number of benefits to having a doula at your side during this special time.
A doula is someone to answer questions and give advice. Doulas have seen tons of births, so they know what to expect and can guide you through every step of the process. At a time when your body is experiencing sensations and doing things you’ve never seen before, it can be nice to have a friendly face to encourage you through the difficult moments.
While doulas aren’t doctors or nurses, they do know a lot about pregnancies and childbirth. Their extensive knowledge and experience can help them serve as an intermediary between the hospital staff and the delivering mother. Doulas can break down unfamiliar medical terminology or explain different stages of childbirth in everyday language in a patient and calming manner.
A pain manager
Doulas can also help with pain management during the various stages of childbirth. They can take walks you to help ease the pain of contractions, offer gentle massage to calm your muscles and soothe your nerves, and offer tips and tricks to dealing with the pain, such as breathing techniques. A doula might incorporate music or mantras to add a meditative aspect to childbirth. A doula won’t judge you if you opt for medical pain relief such as an epidural, and their services can still be fully utilized if you have one.
A constant companion
A doula is a constant companion during birth. Labor can take many hours as you wait for you contractions to increase. If the birth takes place at a hospital, the hospital staff may be in an out as they attend to other patients or take a break from their shifts. A doula will be dedicated to you and stay with you the whole time, so there’s never a minute you feel alone or feel scared because there’s no one to answer your question at any particular time.
One important thing to note is that if you have a co-parent, a doula will not push them out of the way or reduce their role in the childbirth process. The doula will rather support their role as your primary co-parent and partner, and help incorporate them into all the stages of the birth. This is a real plus for some couples, as oftentimes the non-birth-giving parent feels outside of the process in a typical hospital set-up.
Having a doula accompany you through your pregnancy and delivery can help empower you to feel completely in control and aware of all the aspects of the birth process. A doula’s presence can be useful to answer all your medical questions and help you deal with pain in the most calming and natural way possible, and comforting whether you have a co-parent at your side or not.