Sunday, October 31, 2010

What is a doula? Survey

Not in the Bay Area and able to attend the first meetings? You can be apart of the organization anyway!

Please take this quick survey to help us make What is a doula? an amazing, informative, and inspirational group!

Click here to take survey

What is a doula? The non-profit

I'm excited to be starting the non-profit, What is a doula?--something I've been dreaming of for a long while now.

The organization will serve as a tool to educate the wider public on the role and benefits of a doula, as well as promoting education on options in childbirth.

What is a doula? is still in it's infancy, but you can already follow some of the "makings of..." sorts of things and start to get some great info on resources and options through the What is a doula? tumblr and twitter accounts (#Whatisadoula)!

If you're interested in becoming part of the movement, email me at

What is a doula, anyway?

A doula is a non-clinical birth attendant who is there to help guide you through pregnancy, birth, and the early postpartum period by offering physical and emotional support. Doulas provide a range of comfort measures, such as massage, counter pressure, reading affirmations, etc., to support you and your partner in labor.

A doula is there by your side for the entirety of labor, regardless of length and outcome. You have the power to choose your doula, interviewing her in the last few months of pregnancy, and meeting with her two or three times before you are due and usually two to three more times in postpartum. For many women, having this level of support made a world of a difference in their birth experiences.

Studies have shown that women who choose to have a doula present during labor: 
* tend to have shorter labors with fewer complications and interventions;
* request pain medication less often;
* have lower incidence of operative delivery including c-section;
* and have more positive opinions of their birthing experiences.

Having a doula can help ease your tensions and fears around birth, physically as well as emotionally. During prenatal visits and throughout labor, a doula can demonstrate techniques for relieving pain, calming and massaging away tension and fear, and reassuring the mother of her awesome ability to deliver her baby safely. Though many women choose to have a doula to assist them through natural (un-medicated) births because of this strong support, this service is not exclusive to women who have made that particular decision. All women can benefit from a knowledgeable support person who remains with them through the prenatal and postpartum weeks ahead.

Doulas are also great support for your partner, too! Some women are told that doula will replace the partner by making him feel unnecessary. To the contrary, doulas are there to ensure both mother and partner are able to fully participate in the labor and enjoy this amazing experience with the guidance of a professional labor assistant.  Many partners feel that they were able to be fully included in the birthing process and felt better informed of what was happening because of the additional prenatal education and this constant support.  

There are so many choices to be made in the journey to motherhood and doulas are there to educate and empower you to make meaningful decisions that work best for you, your partner, and your baby. 
 In the prenatal visits, doulas educate expectant families of their options, the benefits and potential outcomes of some standard procedures as well as helping discuss the alternatives. They can recommend books, movies, articles, and professionals in your community who specialize in certain areas of pregnancy and birth to help better guide you through your decisions, too. A doula will never make a medical decision for you and regardless of the decisions your choose to make, a doula stays by your side to support you through your birth.