You are almost ready to give birth. You are exhausted and praying for labor to begin. Then your doctor says he can induce your labor so you can have your baby before Thanksgiving Holiday.
BEWARE!!! Although this sounds great, it may be your worst nightmare. Labor induction is not always a cake walk. In fact, many times, once you are induced, other interventions follow.
Before you know it, there is talk of cesarean-section because too much time has passed. Your baby may experience heart deceleration. Your blood pressure could go wonky!!
Many possibilities exist for your birth to take a detour from normal.
What Does a Doula do?
Birth doulas provide information and support during pregnancy, and labor and birth. Below is a general list of what they do. Each birth, each woman, and each family is individual, so needs will vary.
Many doulas offer other services, such as placenta encapsulation, childbirth education, and lactation services.
Doulas providegreat support and comfort. Studies show the increase in vaginal birth, the lower rates of cesarean-section, and increased confidence in mothering when women have the support of a birth doula. For more about the postpartum doula check out this blog post.
What happens when the birth that was envisioned, and all the practicing of comfort measures, and information provided does not create the desired birth outcome? What happens when a woman who wanted a natural birth has an epidural, and a long drawn out vaginal birth with much intervention, or a cesarean-section?
The postpartum doula has been around longer than I have been at it (1991), yet there are still many people who don’t know what a doula is. There is often much confusion with a midwife, who is clinically trained.
Many doulas worked hard to get doula into the dictionary. Online Meriam Webster’s says: “a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born.”
Dana Raphael, an anthropologist who wrote a book in the 1970s, The Tender Gift: Breastfeeding, brought us the word doula. It took a while for this term and the doula movement to progress to where we are today. Yet, many people have no clue what it is that doulas actually do!
I would add that we provide non-medical support, because "trained to assist" is very broad.
Sharing my knowledge and wisdom about all things birth