Considering using a doula? Here are 5 things you should know
Expecting parents have a lot to contend with. Besides planning for the imminent arrival of a new tot, there's also the birthing plan. Many couples tend to discuss this before the time with their obstetrician or family doctor. But in recent years, birthing trends have seen a revival of doulas.
If you're considering using one in your birthing plan, here are some fun facts you should know.
It has its origins in Greece
The word "doula" comes from the Greek language and translates to "woman who serves". It’s a person who’s been trained to give you emotional and physical support before, during, and after childbirth.
Some medical aid programmes like Fedhealth will even cover the cost of a doula, because they want you to have the most positive birthing experience possible.
A doula is different from a midwife, and they play different roles
How? Well, typically, they are not formally trained in medicine, unlike midwives and doctors. In the case of writer Pamela Power’s birthing experience, her doula remained with her at the early stages of the birthing process, and then called the midwife once she was needed.
“For my daughter’s birth I had two doulas… they gave me reflexology and were like my cheerleading team, telling me how wonderful I was. When the time came, they woke the midwife up and we got down to business,” she says.
A doula does not make your partner/husband/boyfriend feel superfluous
The extent to which a doula replaces or enhances the care provided by your partner is up to you. Many women find having the support of other trained women more useful at this stage, especially if they’re experienced in the birthing process (unlike their husband/partner who may not be).
Your partner can always be there for the actual arrival of the baby and doesn’t necessarily need to be by your side the entire time. This also gives them time to rest before the big moment when they meet their child. Besides supporting mothers, doulas are also experienced in handling hysterical partners. So, they’ll go a long way to helping everyone feel less anxious about what you’re all going through together.
Doulas work with doctors; they don’t necessarily replace them
Doulas and midwives are trained to know when it’s time to call in the gynaecologist or doctor, especially in the case of you needing an emergency Caesarean section. “I gave birth in the hospital’s natural birth unit – and I felt safe knowing we had back-up,” says Power.
She also says that in terms of expense, her natural births cost a fraction of what a Caesarean may have. “Best of all, a few hours after the birth, I was up and ready to go home,” she ends.