So what do I actually do as a doula during a birth?

What are some of my typical things I do at a birth (hospital setting).

  • Counter pressure, hip squeeze or sacrum press, trading out with dad during contractions this could be hours long!
  • Breathing techniques helping the mom to keep her breathing deep and steady.
  • Verbal coaching or praise.
  • Making sure mom is hydrated and peeing regularly.
  • Suggesting and helping mom get into new positions to facilitate labor and baby moving down.
  • Medical translations, pro and cons for suggestions from staff and doctor so parents can make informed choices.
  • Knowledge and working with the moms body if baby seems to be out of alignment to help baby get in a better position.
  • Making sure partner has things they can do, understand what is going on and keeping themselves fed and hydrated, reduce fear and helplessness for partners, they don’t have to try and remember all the things!
  • Continual support, having someone there who the laboring mom knows from during her pregnancy and feels comfortable with. She doesn’t have to worry about a stranger coming in to replace your doula except in rare circumstances.
  • Light massage or acupressure to also help with labor pain and encouraged labor.
  • Someone who understands what you are going through and doesn’t judged your decisions, helps you have the best birth for you.
  • Keeps the atmosphere drama free and relaxed.
  • Gate keeper for those you don’t want at your birth.
  • Helps you achieve your birth preferences and feel comfortable with any changes that may need to be made. Helps the parents advocate for themselves.
  • Help with medical and non medical pain relief. Knows how to help with a medical birth as well as unmedicated.
  • Photography, while I am not a professional photographer. I always try and make sure my clients have some good photos from their birth and immediately after delivery. Some hospital have strict policies on who can attend births. I am starting to offer more photography services, to help my clients get the pictures they want when, they can’t also have a photographer there.
  • Someone will be with mom if partner has to go with baby, mom is never left alone without support!
  • My only goal is to help my clients, I don’t have any protocols or hospital agenda I need to follow.

Can’t my Doctor/Midwife/Nurse do all those things? Doctors only show up for the actual birth when you are pushing otherwise they are just relaying information through the nurses. Midwives in hospital are usually around but may not be able to be by your side the whole birth they have other clients they need to help. Nurses have other patients and have medical duties that take precedent over being able to help their patients cope with labor. Some might be able to stay for awhile and help, but most are monitoring multiple patients and need to be at the front desk. Shift changes can also be a problem you never know if you will get an amazing nurse that fully advocates for you or if you get someone you don’t connect with. Plus the big difference is all medical personnel are coming from a place of policies, litigation, and focusing on just the medical wellbeing of the baby and mom. They are less concerned with the mental and emotional wellbeing.

What about my partner they can do all that! Yep they sure can! Many partners are amazing at helping their loved ones get through birth. But that list above is a lot to remember during a stressful situation and without other help to support them as well. A doula give the partner someone to rely on too and not have to do it all alone.

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