What does a doula do, exactly?

first breastfeeding with newborn and momIn a recent conversation with an expectant mom, she said:

“I understand that doulas provide informational, physical, and emotional support … but what do you actually do? During a birth? Or before? Or – yeah, what do you do as a birth doula?”

Good question.

As a birth doula I ….

~ Answer any question you can think of – and if I don’t know, I know how to find the answer
~ Provide recommendations on resources that will most appeal to you and apply to your situation (resources include: reading materials, videos, childbirth classes, alternative therapies, and more)
~ Trouble shoot worries and concerns before, during, and after your birth
~ Offer suggestions for early labor to conserve your energy but also encourage labor to progress
~ Come to you whenever you are ready in active labor
~ Remind you of your birth goals, and process decision making as your birth progresses
~ Pour soothing warm/cold water on your back during contractions
~ Discuss healthy nutrition options prenatally, during labor, and postpartum
~ Set up environmental items during your birth (battery-operated candles, limit offensive smells, hang birth affirmations, grabbing extra blankets, etc)
~ Offer water and food when you need it during labor
~ Provide counter pressure, massage, and back rubs during contractions
~ Make suggestions for keeping labor going smoothly and as comfortable as possible
~ Keep eye contact during contractions that transmits confidence and encouragement
~Remind partners and other labor support people to pee (they forget, it’s true)
~ Help with clothing changes needed or wanted for birth
~ Keep cool cloths available and place them on your neck/forehead/back/chest
~ Suggest ways your partner can support you during labor
~ Explain what is happening during your cesarean and reassure you that you and your baby are safe
~ Have a container on hand for when you’re puking
~ Offer a drink and/or go grab food for your partner when labor is going past meal times
~ Make sure the water is the right temperature before you get in the bath or shower
~ Tie  your hair up out of your face
~ Hold your hand when your partner goes with your baby after a cesarean birth
~ Stay with you after the baby is born until you are settled
~ Make sure you get some food in your body soon after birth
~ Tidy up your space so you feel more comfortable
~ Encourage and assist you, your partner, and your baby as you initiate breastfeeding
~ Remain in close contact to listen and process your experience with you
~ Visit within the first couple of weeks postpartum to see how the transition is going for you and your family

This list could continue indefinitely because my role is a doula is to support you and your family during your birthing season. For one family, this may mean the birthing person needs a lot of verbal encouragement. For another birth, it may mean keeping the room as quiet as possible as the parents concentrate on their work of birth.

Hire a doula

One mom recently said:

Sarah was incredible. She was attentive and present when I needed her. She supported both my husband and I while allowing us the chance to guide the experience of our own unique birth. Sarah was respectful of our choices but she also helpfully reminded us of our birth wishes and made us feel informed when we needed to make decisions that deviated from our plan. I wouldn’t have wanted her to do anything different!

Here’s more information about my birth doula services. Call me at 518 293 0533 or send me a note to set up your free consultation.

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