- What a Doula does:
- She believes in a woman’s ability to know her body, her labor and her baby. She helps women trust this knowledge.
- Helps women discover and draw on their strength to do their very best and be proud of their effort.
- Complements rather than displaces the partner. She provides support and encouragement for both the mother and her partner as they birth their baby.
- A doula seeks to empower her clients with her knowledge of the birth process and its variations and the choices to be made while respecting the integrity of the clients’ choices.
- An advocate for the woman and can facilitate communication with the medical staff.
- Recommends a variety of labor coping skills and labor management techniques, reminding the couple of their options.
- Strives to maintain a calm atmosphere with lighting and music.
- The doula fully understands the impact the birth experience can have on women’s lives. She wants it to be a positive memory.
- What a Doula does not do:
- Perform clinical tasks, such as blood pressure, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams, and others. I am there to provide only physical comfort, emotional support, advocacy.
- Make decisions for you. I will help you get the information necessary to make an informed decision. I will also remind you if there is a departure from your Birth Plan.
- Speak to the staff on your behalf. I will discuss your concerns with you and suggest options, but you or your partner will speak on your behalf to the clinical staff.
Dads and Doulas
Today many childbirth classes emphasize the role of the partner as coach, suggesting they educate themselves on how to help labor progress or help the mother cope with pain. This may be a lot to expect, especially if your partner has not been through the childbirth experience before. It is an emotionally charged event for him (or her) as well.
A doula can help remind you and your partner of things learned in class, and provide assistance with comfort measures. A doula is not present to replace your partner rather, she is there to work together with him in order to support you. In some cases this might mean a very hands-on role for the doula. In others, the doula may simply provide direction and guidance and the partner takes a more hands-on role. The level of participation will be based on information discussed together prenatally. Even if your partner is not comfortable with providing physical support and reassurance, a doula can never replace the loving support he provides to the mother.