What does a Doula Do?
“Overall, people who received continuous support were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals, negative feelings about childbirth, vacuum or forceps-assisted births, and Cesareans. In addition, their labors were shorter by about 40 minutes and their babies were less likely to have low Apgar scores at birth. There is a smaller amount of evidence that doula support in labor can lower postpartum depression in mothers. There is no evidence for negative consequences to continuous labor support.” https://evidencebasedbirth.com/the-evidence-for-doulas/
In no particular order, and not exhaustive, these are some things that I have done to support the women who have hired me.
Stayed with my client.
Protected their birthing space.
Advocated for clients, if that was requested in their birth plan.
Supported clients writing a birth plan.
Provided links and resources to information that was needed for clients to make informed decisions.
Occasionally go on a little bit about informed decision making and B.R.A.I.N.
Made no judgements about the informed decisions clients made.
Supported clients in writing a post-natal recovery plan.
Physically supported clients during labour.
Mothered the mother.
Made sure clients & their significant other if there was one, was comfortable, fed, and watered when baby arrived.
Held the baby when asked.
Supported breastfeeding and attachment.
Know lots of other doulas and early parenting service providers and referred to them if there was a need I couldn’t fill myself.
Attended a job finding events with my client to hold and care for the baby and to provide emotional support when client was made redundant during their maternity leave.
Take photo snaps of the birthing parent at key stages, with consent, but not as a professional photographer.
Loaded my phone with music to be played during labour when client didn’t have the time or technology to do so
Set up birth rooms to increase Oxytocin
Massaged a client’s swollen ankles post-natally to provide comfort and touch.