The journey of labor for many individuals can be daunting and confusing. When a family is considering their birth plan, wishes and the team, they may consider hiring a birth doula but are confused about the duties of one. A birth doula is not a medically trained professional but instead a trained companion who supports an individual through the entirety of their labor. (1) Birth doulas provide both physical and emotional support, expertise and advocacy. These aspects of a birth doula helps empower a birthing person and give a positive birthing experience.
Some of the physical support that birth doulas provide is during labor. Although they’re not trained in aiding in the actual birthing of the child, they’re trained in different practices that help ease the pain during labor. Some services that Latch onto Health provides during labor are: acupressure, light massages, cool and warm compressions, labor positions and activities, aromatherapy and assistance with breathing. Moreover, these different practices are to be highly soothing and allow the mother to build confidence in the delivery of her child. These practices are helpful to where studies show that the aid of a birth doula decreases the use of pain medication during labor while also increasing the rate of a spontaneous delivery as well as decreasing the length of labor. (2)
Birth doulas provide emotional support during labor. On top of the labor their continuous involvement throughout the pregnancy is ongoing and they take pride in learning about their client by proactively listening to them in order to understand any possible concern that may occur. During the pregnancy birth doulas are sure to regularly offer encouragement, positive words of affirmations and an numerous types of lending hands in order to eliminate any fears of self-doubt.
There is evidence-based expertise that comes alongside of having a birth doula. (3) For example, birth doulas provide labor education in terms of what to expect and guide the birthing person and their partner in order to weigh out their birthing options. Some services Latch onto Health provides are: birthing recommendations, childbirth education, breastfeeding education, nutritional and wellness support. If a birthing person happens to become confused about medical terminology used by a healthcare professional, a birth doula may help translate the terms in a way that’s easier to grasp. Birth doulas also guide the birthing person’s partner to understand what their partner is going through and how to support them.
The communication between a doula and the birthing person is extremely important. For example, if a birthing person’s voice wasn’t being listened to by a medical professional, a birth doula is trained to allow their voice to be heard on behalf of the birthing party.
Even though some birth doulas aren’t medically trained, they’re able to offer additional support during pregnancy, labor, birth and shortly after postpartum. Physical support helps ease the pain experienced during labor. Emotional support involves positive words of affirmation and actively listening to demonstrate thorough understanding. Advocacy allows a birth person’s voice to be heard by their medical team in order to allow a birthing person to feel comfortable during labor and delivery. Many individuals who hire a birth doula report positive birthing experiences. If you’re interested in hiring a birth doula check my services for virtual and in-person support.