Finding out you are pregnant is so exciting, whether it is your first child, second, or even a surro-baby pregnancy! During pregnancy and childbirth, having support from family members is great, but having the support from a professional such as a doula would be amazing. Having some help during and after birth is always appreciated. A doula can help you have a more relaxed pregnancy, calmer birth, and a great postpartum experience.
A woman’s body is beyond incredible for being able to go through several pregnancies and childbirth. Choosing to have a doula during your pregnancy and childbirth is of great help. Our very own Surrogate, Catherine DeWolf, is a doula, and with her help we are able to provide you with the right information to understand what a doula is and what she does.
What is a doula?
A doula is a certified and/or trained person who provides emotional and physical support to women during pregnancy, childbirth, and even postpartum. A doula is not a midwife and is not a medical provider but is a professional just the same. A doula will help keep you informed about the process and help you understand your options before, during, and after labor and birth.
Types of Doulas
There are different types of doulas based on your needs:
- Labor or birth doulas who provide you with care during pregnancy and labor
- Postpartum doulas who provide you with support during the first weeks after birth, as well as caring and feeding the baby and performing minor household chores
- Bereavement doulas who provide you with support during and after the loss of a pregnancy
How does a doula work?
Having a child before means you already know what to expect and how pregnancy progresses, but a doula can prepare you with extra information about things you were not aware of before. A doula usually will meet with you 2-3 times during your pregnancy. At these prenatal meetings you will discuss what type of birth you are planning and how your doula will assist you to achieve your goal. She will also work with your birthing team and doctor.
A doula will teach you or refresh your understanding of breathing and relaxation exercises, as well as other comfort measures that you would usually learn at a birthing class. She can help you understand the labor and birth process and answer your questions. A doula can help educate you on options so you can make informed decisions. She can help you develop a birthing plan and help you get organized for when the time comes. Your doula will be with you throughout your labor until after the birth of the baby, and as you are home recovering. Having a doula greatly increases your chances of having a better, easier, and happier birthing experience.
During labor a doula will provide you with support and stay with you. There are massages she can do to help you relax, and she will help you find the positions you feel are the most comfortable. She can tell you the best fluids to drink and the right diet to have during that time. A doula is of great service when it comes to communicating your preferences to the doctors and medical staff so that you feel your best during this time. And, of course, your family and partner are also involved in all of this, and she will reassure them and guide them in order to help you as well.
During labor and delivery, we usually want to have our partners and/or a family member like our mothers with us to have the emotional support we need in these miracle moments. We want our mothers because they have been through this experience and can ease our minds. With a doula in the room, the experience is even more pleasing, given that she is there to relax you and explain to your family members what is going on during labor so that they don’t feel confused or worried about getting in the way of doctors and nurses working.
You might find surprising that having a doula as your birthing coach might help you have a shorter labor, and you are less likely to need a C-section. With a doula by your side you might not even feel the need to ask for pain medication and oxygen, which will help you have a positive experience during childbirth. Not to mention, she will keep you calm during pregnancy, which can help you deliver a healthy, happy baby. Having a doula can even help you after birth with breastfeeding, and in case of a surro-baby, help in giving the Intended Parents any breastmilk that they may request from .
There is nothing better to ask for than an easy going, calm, and happy pregnancy and delivery, and what better to do it with than with a professional by your side to do just that. Whatever you choose to do during your pregnancy, do what feels right for you and the baby you are carrying, whether it is your own or a surro-baby. We all hope to have a healthy and good pregnancy, labor, and post-partum experience and if you have the chance to do it with a doula then we say why not?