Welcome! I hope you leave this blog more confident than how you came.
First, let me define what a birth doula is and why these tidbits can be valuable for you, wherever you are in your journey.
A "doula" (Greek-derived word for female servant) is a trained birth professional equipped to provide unconditional and evidence-based support throughout the childbearing year. A doula supports emotionally, physically, and educationally in the preparation and process of childbirth.
What's the deal on "support?" History and the latest research shows us that continuous labor support (a doula) improves maternal outcomes, satisfaction of birth, decreases complications, and makes for an overall smoother birthing experience, along with a million other reasons. (Check out the sources on my Home Page for more information.) Who doesn't want that?!
Doulas have doula'd for thousands of years. Doulas were the mothers, grandmothers, sisters, women in the village with a heart for birth, women who were known to care for women in this one-of-a-kind season, women with experience attending births, women with experience birthing. Just in the recent was a formal title, an occupation, created in culture(s) relearning to reconcile and reclaim support and evidence-based care back to birthing folks.
So, why is a doula valuable? You might be able to answer that yourself! Modern doulas are the wedding planner to your wedding, the Sam to your Frodo, the personal trainer to your body goals. A doula drops everything (plans, children, sleep, commitments, travels) to whisper confidence and reassurance, rebozo your bottom (look it up - it works!), prep the cold rags, catch the queues, guide the birth partner to do exactly what they were always meant to do, and so much more. It is a joy and an honor.
If you are considering hiring a doula or still wondering how a doula can support you, keep reading! If I was your doula, this is what I would support you with or recommend within scope of emotional, physical, and educational support.
TIDBIT #1: Emotional Support - Talk it out. Find someone, preferably a birth doula, to process your pregnancy, your preparations for birth, and debrief your birth experience. Find someone who can act as an unbiased and loving listener so that you can practice feeling safe, understood, and building confidence as you make informed decisions, and cope through the transitions of pregnancy and parenthood.
TIDBIT #2: Physical Support - Be upright as much as possible! Gravity is your friend -whether on a birth ball, standing, swaying, squatting, on the bed, hands-and-knees, on the toilet (sitting on the toilet is the perfect labor hub!) With that said, listen to your body. If you need to rest or lay down, absolutely follow that voice! Tip: Proper use of a peanut ball can open your pelvis while you rest!
TIDBIT #3 Educational Support - Create a birth plan/preferences sheet. I often hear that birth plans "set you up for failure" or that "plans don't always work." Y'all, plans may not happen, but preparation changes everything. A birth plan is the ground for discovery and education of birth choices. Not many people show up on their wedding day without having made lists, plans, and already decided on cake, music, and flower arrangements! View your birth plan as a source of preparation, education and a hub of all the birth things to dialogue with your provider so that your birth team is aligned and you are set up to make informed, educated decisions!