There’s nothing like the joy of holding your newborn babe in your arms. That instant, beautiful connection, new baby smell, those cute little hands and toes. But the journey to having that adorable newborn is filled with a whole lot of information, decisions to make, and—inevitably—some awkward birthing classes. But one of the biggest choices you’ll make? How you’ll give birth to this bundle of joy and who will be there with you. Which is why we’ve brought in doula expert, Meagan Heaton, to talk a little more about what doulas do and what their benefits are. So without any further ado, take it away, Meagan!
I can distinctly remember the moment I first heard about a doula. I was pregnant with my second child and I was desperately hoping for a very different birth experience than I had with my first daughter. A dear friend had just experienced an incredible delivery with the support of a doula—a delivery just like I had always envisioned.
I started researching doulas, reading experiences of others who had hired doulas and began searching out ones in my area. I immediately felt a connection to the world of doulas.
Unfortunately it took my sweet husband a little longer to get on-board with the whole idea. It was new and unfamiliar territory to both of us. We decided to move forward with my second pregnancy without a doula.
The birth of my second beautiful daughter ended in a repeat C-section. As grateful as I was for her safe arrival and the wonderful doctors who took care of us I felt like I had missed out on a huge part of the birthing process. I truly felt like my body could handle a vaginal birth. So again I decided to research more about doulas.
It was as if something inside of me came alive. I knew what I needed to do! I needed to become a doula.
Just the thought of helping couples during one of the most beautiful experiences in life made me excited. My second daughter was just six months old when I started training to become a doula.
I have been practicing for three years now! These past few years have been such a rewarding and beautiful journey.
So what is a doula?
Many couples hear doula and immediately think midwife. Though the two have a few similarities, their job descriptions differ greatly. A doula provides constant physical, emotional, and educational support through the prenatal, labor/birth and postpartum stages of pregnancy. Their overall goal and job is to help families (husbands included) have an uplifting and positive experience that they can cherish forever! A doula is there to answer questions and provide resources whenever needed.
A doula is able to provide support in all types of deliveries. They are able to help at home, in a birthing center, or a hospital. A doula can support the birth of a mother hoping to have an un-medicated birth or those wanting medication. Some might think “Why hire a doula if I’m planning on having an epidural?” Doula’s can provide help with positions to promote progression, knowledge on interventions that may happen during birth, and education on the birthing process all while providing constant encouragement, education and support! A doula also provides support to the partner as they educate and help the partner feel empowered to support the mother.
Most doulas, like myself, provide one to two in person prenatal visits. The first visit is mostly a get to know you visit. This visit is one where the doula and mother/partner will chat and get to know each other better! They will discuss hopes and wishes for their pregnancy and birth. They will talk about how you and your partner cope with stress, fear and excitement. They will also talk about what you are looking for in a doula. The second visit will get more into the nitty gritty of pregnancy and birth! That includes the stages of labor, fetal rotation, counter pressure spots, positions in labor and so much more! The doula can also go through your birth preference sheet (if you have one) and fine-tune it so that it’s perfectly ready for when baby decides to come.
When the labor process begins the doula is available for whenever the mother decides she is ready for support! Some mothers prefer to labor at home for a time, others are more comfortable at their birthing location. Doula’s often stay for an hour or so after the baby is born to help with breastfeeding and any other support needed! The doula often will also provide an in-home follow-up visit a few weeks after birth. This is a fun visit where the doula may provide a birth timeline and reminisce on the birth.
Like many things in life, pregnancy, birth/labor and postpartum don’t always go as planned, much like the birth of my first two children. A doula is a great resource for providing emotional support and direction during these difficult times.
When I found out I was expecting my third child I was determined to finally try for the delivery and birth I had been dreaming of! A type of birth like I had helped my clients achieve. With the support of my sweet husband and incredible doulas I was finally able to experience a natural vaginal birth after two cesareans in which I felt empowered, in control and calm! It was an incredible experience for both me and my husband! One that I want to help recreate for other couples!
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about doulas and Tiny Blessings Doula Services please visit tinyblessingsdoulaservices.com.
Tiny Blessings Doula Services