What is a Doula? And why would I need one?
This week is World Doula Week and given that I had no idea what a Doula was 2 years ago I thought now was a good time to share with you some of what I have learned.
noun: doula; plural noun: doulas
a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born.
Seems simple enough, but I have learned that the support that these amazing women provide is anything but simple. It is complex, in depth and unwavering. A doula provides endless support to a new mother before, during and after childbirth. Their goal is to provide the informational, physical and emotional support needed to achieve the most fulfilling experience possible.
I had extremely limited knowledge of doulas when I had my daughters. And by limited, I mean I had heard of them but had no clue what they did or why I would need one. As my photography focus slowly shifted from young children to newborn, I have spent a significant amount of time surrounded by amazing and inspiring women whose sole purpose is to improve a woman’s pregnancy, delivery, birth and beyond. I have learned more about doulas and the service and support they provide and I can’t help but wish I could go back. Wish I could have had different birth experiences with my daughters… with the support that I now realize was so lacking from my medical provider and hospital staff. Hindsight is 20/20. Coulda, woulda, shoulda. There is so much now I know that I could have done differently. I get it, hospitals are busy. Everyone is doing their best to do their job well, but at what cost. Often times hospital staff are too busy to devote the time a mother truly needs. A doula is 100% there for the laboring mother.
This study conducted last year concluded that women receiving continuous laboring support, like that provided by a doula are:
More likely to have a spontaneous birth
Less likely to require pain medication
Typically experience shorter labors
Are less likely to require a cesarean section
So let me get this straight… you are telling me that continuous labor support can not only lower birth risks (more evidence here) but provide support to both moms and dads alike. I am not sure about you, but I found all of this information to be fascinating. I am sure that each experience is different, each with its own challenges and trials, but how amazing would it be to know you have someone in your corner?
A little over a year ago, I had the privilege of meeting South Florida’s most highly sought after on-call hospital doula, Lisa Raynor. Over the past year she has taught me so much about her profession through education, but what has amazed me most is what I have learned through the admiration of her clients. I have seen the work that she does, the support that she provides and I am inspired. I am moved to share the little that I have learned about her noble profession in the hopes that it can help one mother achieve the birth she dreams of, the birth she truly deserves.
Still unsure, here are some questions to help you hire the right doula for you.