You may have heard about the benefits of having a doula present at your labor or postpartum. But what is a doula and what are the benefits of hiring one?
Doula is a greek word meaning “woman’s servant”. Specifically relating to labor, a doula is a professional companion who helps you through the emotional needs you may have during the labor and delivery process. A doula can also be retained for postpartum needs, such as breastfeeding help or mother and newborn care.
Why do some women retain doulas? Doulas are a good idea for first time birth experiences. While your nurses and doctors are concerned about you and your baby’s physical health, your doula is committed to serving your emotional needs by providing constant support and nurturing the birth experience.
Many women ask, “Isn’t that what your partner or husband is for?” Yes and no. While our husbands may mean well, let’s face it. They’re even more in the dark than we are when it comes to what to expect during labor, delivery and postpartum. Our friends and family may have more of a clue, but have they been trained to handle your emotional needs? Your doula will work with your partner to complement him in strengths. She is not there to replace your partner.
Doulas are experienced and trained in child birth. They will provide you with physical, emotional, and informational support to carry you through this new experience. Your doula should be certified and able to offer references and background information. To find a doula, you can go through your local hospital, or visit DONA (Doulas of North America) for more information.
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