Today I am welcoming Lara from WabiSabiMom, who is a doula. She's here to tell us what the heck a doula is, and why you might consider having one at your birth. Be sure to send her some love down in the comments section below. xoCandace
Ali Wong says in her comedy show ‘A Doula is a Hippie Witch who blows Quinoa into your vagina’. Now this is not quite the case. I am a doula, I do eat Quinoa occasionally, but I don’t use it for birth support!!
So what is a doula? Not a Paula Abdoula, not an ‘adoula’… Where I was trained we actually preferred ‘Perinatal Support Practitioner’ because doula can sound a little weird.
Myths about doulas
- attend home births and deliver babies without medical staff, equipment, or help.
- influence women to make unsafe decisions and put them and their babies at risk.
- make a partner feel less needed, and over shadows them.
- argues with health care providers because they know better (note: they don’t)
- a doula and a midwife are the same thing.
- I don’t need a doula if I am having a hospital birth, or a scheduled caesarian.
- they are expensive.
- they only want to attend “natural births”
What a doula actually does
- a doula is hired by the expecting couple as an emotional, informational, and physical support for pregnancy, labour, and postpartum. I like to explain it as a personal trainer for labour, and beyond!
- a doula attends and supports midwife or obstetrician births, either at home or in the hospital. They do not discriminate. It's your birth.
- a doula is a non-medical member of your birth support squad. They are not a doctor, they have not gone to university for this, and they should not be the only birth support attending your delivery.
- a doula makes the partner look good. A doula makes sure your partner knows how to support you. She can teach your partner physical support techniques, how to speak to you at various points of labour, and help you to be fully present and involved instead of overwhelmed and afraid. A doula will also make sure that you and your partner are nourished with food, and sleep as much as possible in the early hours of labour setting you up for a successful birth.
- A doula is not the same as a midwife. A midwife is a medically trained person who is very educated in safely delivering babies for non high-risk pregnancies. A midwife can act for you in place of a obstetrician, but a doula is not either of those things.
- A doula may be covered by your extended health insurance. Or your doula may also have another health designation that can be covered. For example, I am a Massage Therapist and I can legally provide massage as a Labour Support Practitioner, and give receipts.
- A doula supports your birth ideals: whether you are striving for no interventions or are hoping to get an epidural as soon as possible. A good doula supports your choices and is your cheerleader the entire time.
- A doula gets to know your health care providers and respects their medical opinions. She may be able to help you weed through medical jargon and find evidence based research when you are having to make a decision, but she is not a medical person.
- Regardless of your birth ‘plan’ a doula can be helpful in so many ways. They can come to your home with you to make sure you don’t rush to the hospital too quickly in early labour. They can help you decide when to call the midwife. They can offer tips to keep labour moving along. They can come to the hospital for your C-section and help get you comfortable, take pictures in the surgery, bring you food, help with nursing the baby right afterward. They can come to your home after baby is born and help with adjusting to your new life, including prepping food for you in your kitchen, doing laundry, cleaning, holding baby while you nap. There are even overnight doulas who help with baby in the middle of the night when you need to catch up on some rest.
I think most women could truly benefit from having a doula by their side. In so many cultures it is customary for the women of the village to come and support the child-bearing woman and take care of her. Essentially that is what a doula does. She supports you, validates you, and makes sure you are confident and empowered in your birth however it may go.
A doula is one of those things that until after the birth you don’t really even understand how badly you need one. They are so incredibly helpful for making a birth feel stress-free, and creating as beautiful of an environment as possible. Regardless of if its a home water birth, or a scheduled Caesarian in the hospital.
My name is Lara. I am a self proclaimed modern day hippie, massage therapist, yoga instructor and doula. I am a mom of two amazing girls, wife to my high school sweetheart, business owner, CrossFitter and travel addict. I live in Ontario, Canada. I have always enjoyed writing and have had a blog on and off for 15 years. I am a wellness weirdo, but also totally a modern day woman who loves instagram, Facebook, and shopping. I am always looking to meet amazing, inspiring people and have as many adventures as life will throw at me. My home base for my blog is WabiSabimom.com