One of the biggest stressors during pregnancies can be the fear of the unknown. Even when it’s a second or third child, women imagine how the delivery process will go. Sometimes it’s pictured perfectly and other times women let their imaginations run wild.
Doulas are a fabulous resource throughout the birthing process, acting as a support, advocate, and resource for women and their partners.
I recently interviewed my dear friend, Melissa, and certified doula who is pregnant with her 5th child.
So what is a doula?
“The heart behind what I do is to educate and provide support to women in this amazing time of life. Whether childbirth is a brand new experience or a road traveled before, I help women (and their partners) find their own strength to make their birth everything they want it to be.
Starting with the first trimester, all the way to the “fourth,” Doula Dove Love wants to provide you the help you need in nearly every aspect of pregnancy and early motherhood. From education and feeding technique to nutrition and fitness, I am confident that I can help you achieve your goals and make your birth your birth.”
What is a birth like with a doula?
Doula’s are there to provide a hands on support, which creates a warm, interactive environment that aids the birthing experience. The culture of calmness created throughout the process of pregnancy, birth, and post partum (AKA the fourth trimester) allows women and their partners to thrive and enjoy the experience.
What happens after you hire a doula?
Typically, you and your doula will meet a few times prior to the birth to discuss basic childbirth education, your priorities, fears and concerns, and formulate a birth plan. As a pregnant women, you can ask your doula to practice birthing positions, breathing, and visualization that will reduce pain and work through contractions.
One popular question for women in labor: “When do I go to the hospital?”
Most doulas will arrive to your house once you are in active labor, working to keep you calm and relaxed and provide advice on when to head to the hospital.
After the birth, your doula will provide a postpartum appointment in your home to check on you and the baby.
What do you, as a doula, pack in your hospital bag?
- Essential Oils
- Unscented Lotions
- Spike Balls for gripping during contractions
- A comb to rake down the palm during contractions
- Peanut Ball (which is for women who have to stay in the bed, it’s shaped like a peanut and allows the legs and pelvis to stay open.)
- Rebozo Wrap (this looks like pashmina, and is used to alleviate pressure from certain parts of the body when positioned correctly)
- Massage tools
Advice for Partners
If your partner thinks her labor has started, ask if she wants to go for a walk, offer her water, and anticipate her needs. It’s a great time to let her know how amazing she is and how special this moment is in your life.
Advice for Expectant Mothers
You know it’s labor when it doesn’t stop. If you feel contractions, but you get up and take a shower or get a glass of water and you don’t have one for a while, probably not time yet. When the contractions keep coming, that is the indication that real labor has begun. If you eat, shower, or perform daily functions and they stop then you still have time.
Once you are sure labor has started, let yourself have 10 minutes to be really excited and then either lay down to rest or distract yourself. The more relaxed you are, the easier time your body has dilating.
If you are still in early labor and your contractions are manageable, go for a romantic walk with your partner, get ice cream, or go out to eat. Enjoy those last few minutes before the baby joins your family.
Melissa owns Doula Dove Love and has been working with expectant mothers for 10 years. She is a mom of four with baby 5 on the way, and became a certified doula in between baby 4 and 5. You can learn more about her services over at her website: DoulaDoveLove.com