Anyone who has birthed a baby can tell you, giving birth is definitely a time when extra support can be a life-changer. That is where a birth doula, like me, can help. Unlike your primary care provider (PCP), a birth doula is not a medical professional, we do not physically deliver babies. We are there solely to provide emotional, physical, and informational support to birthing people and families at the end of pregnancies, throughout labor, and postpartum.
1. You can have a primary care provider AND a birth doula, in fact, it is a great idea to have both!
Your PCP will be in and out of the room as you labor, they have a lot going on! But I will stay with you from the beginning to end. I will not leave until your baby is born, your placenta is delivered, and if you are breastfeeding, the first latch is established. A doula can attend home births and will happily come to your home if you want to labor there before heading to the hospital or birth center.
2. Get Comfy!
To keep comfortable during labor and birth, a birth doula might suggest different labor positions, massage you, apply warm compresses, or get you into a hot shower or tub which helps ease the sensations of contractions. Additionally, if at some point you, or your partner, start feeling overwhelmed, tired, or frustrated I will be your one person cheerleader!-Your PCP(primary care provider) will probably appreciate my help as a second set of hands in so valuable during labor. You should talk to your PCP as soon as possible about hiring a doula, most providers see the benefits that we provide families and encourage our presence during labor and delivery. (WE SUPPORT YOUR BIRTH PLAN)
3. Birth Doulas are not a third wheel!
Your partner, or support person will probably not be as knowledgeable about birth as I am. No matter how many times your partner or support person has seen you give birth, they still may feel overwhelmed or nervous. I can guide both of you through the process, by suggesting specific ways your partner or support person can encourage you, while still respecting the intimacy of your experience together.
4. Get recommendations!
I think the best way to find a birth doula is through word of mouth. Talk to friends and family, ask your PCP. You can also use the “doula matchmaker” at Portland Doula Love. If you do not have any personal recommendations, check out the listings at DONA International or doulamatch.net. You should meet with at least two birth doulas, in order to have options. Tell them why you want a doula and ask questions! This will ensure you get the perfect birth doula for you.
Written By: Rauna Otteson, Birth & Postpartum Doula at Portland Doula Love.
Rauna Otteson, Birth & Postpartum Doula
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