What is a Doula?

I originally posted this on another site. I invite you to check out my older posts there.

I get a variety of responses when I tell people I’m a labour doula-in-training. But the most typical is a raised eyebrow.

If you, like them, don’t really know what a doula does, let me explain. But first, let me point out what a doula does NOT do.

She does NOT…

1. give medical advice

2. conduct medical tests

3. conduct medical examinations

4. criticize you for making decisions you feel are best for you – even if she may personally disagree with those decisions

However, she does…

1. provide resources and information so you can make decisions that are right for you, your partner, and your baby

2. meet with you before the baby comes (How many times you meet is up to you and your doula.)

3. joins you when you go into labour (at a previously agreed upon stage and location)

4. makes sure there is always someone with you during labour (unless, of course, you want to be alone and it is medically advisable)

5. provides comfort measures (for example, massage, counterpressure, verbal encouragement, or just a hand to hold)

6. tends to your needs and in some cases, the needs of your partner

7. suggests ways to cope with labour and keep things progressing

8. takes pictures if you wish (and she is photographically-inclined)

9. helps you get started breastfeeding if so desired

10. visits within the week after the baby’s arrival to go over the birth

There are different types of doulas, but the above is an overview of the services I provide.

I would love to share your stories. If you’ve had a doula, please share your experience with me at stephanienickel@yahoo.com. If you would like to hire a labour doula and live in Southwestern Ontario, let me know, and we can talk.

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