What is a Doula?

A doula is a person who provides informational, physical, and emotional support to a woman and her loved ones during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. Doulas are usually formally trained, and are well-informed on the physiological and emotional aspects of childbirth, as well as childbirth options available in the local area. A doula complements the care a woman is already receiving, and adds a caring, nurturing presence to all.

A Doula is a labor coach.
A Doula is a support person.
A Doula understands the physiological process of birth.
A Doula believes in your ability to give birth however you feel is right.
A Doula is non-judgmental, and supports you in whatever way you need.
A Doula also supports your partner, family, and friends who are attending your birth.
A Doula provides informational, physical, and emotional support to you, your partner, family, and friends.

What I Do, In Detail

I provide information about pregnancy, childbirth, and newborn care. 
If there is a subject you need to know more about and you would like help, I can provide you with the latest, non-biased information on the subject through books, articles, studies, websites, and referrals to local professionals as required. Give me a bell and I’m on the case.

I provide assistance creating your birth plan.
With so many options to consider, I’m able to make the creation of a birthplan a little less daunting. Depending on your preferences we can cover topics including birth environment, relaxation and pain relieving techniques, preferred positions, interventions, birth management, emergencies, cord and placenta preferences, and newborn care. Discussing and creating your birthplan also helps me understand in detail how I can best help you throughout the birthing process.

I provide unlimited phone and email support.
Any time you have a question or concern, need to vent, or just want to chat, I’m here for you.This service is available throughout pregnancy until 4 weeks after the birth.

I provide help practicing relaxation, pain relieving techniques, and position changes.
Before the birth we can go through a wide range of techniques you might like to use. Until birth you really may not know just what will work for you, each birth is uniquely different. But knowing what options you have, and having practiced them before, gives you a little more confidence when implementing them on the big day.

I provide continuous support for you throughout the birthing process.
As soon as labor starts at home I can be there providing support, you don’t have to wait until active labor to call me. Whether the birth progresses as per the birth plan or continues on a new path I am there by your side, providing support in whatever way you need it.

For example, in early labor I may fix you some healthy food and drink, put on a funny DVD for you, or run you a bath. In active labor we would head to your birthing location (home or hospital), where I would create a relaxing environment as per your preferences, provide massage and acupressure, or help you experiment with different positions, movement, and pain relieving techniques.

During the second stage of labor I may hold your hand as baby descends, offer encouragement, wipe your forehead with a cool cloth, and ensure your birth preferences are respected.

After the birth I would stay with you for an hour or more, I may offer breastfeeding advice, help you shower and dress if needed, fix you food and drink, and stay until you and your baby feel secure and settled.

Ultimately I am there to provide support in whatever way you feel I am most needed, though I also intuitively provide help when I can see you need it.

I provide a follow up postpartum visit.
Sometime in the following week after birth, at a time of your choosing, I make a final visit to discuss the birth with you, provide breastfeeding and baby care advice if necessary, offer massage, or care for the new baby and/or siblings while you rest.

Also see The Doula Package, and Doula FAQ's

For further info about doula care:
Doula Article from Oh Baby
Quiet and calm, behind the scenes offering invaluable support, doulas are gaining popularity in New Zealand as professional birthing partners. Samantha Thurlby-Brooks explains the role.
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