Monday, May 11, 2015
I am a birth advocate. I want every woman to be able to experience a healthy and happy birth.  With May being International Doula Month, I found this a great opportunity to elaborate on this topic.
I absolutely had no idea what a doula was until about 6 years ago, when I was first diagnosed with a High Risk Pregnancy.  I wanted to learn everything about what they do and how they help, so I started researching.  I'm going to share with you everything I know about doulas and why you want to have a doula!
What is a doula? 
DOULA is a greek word for "woman who serves." 
 A doula is someone who provides support for a woman who is pregnant, laboring and also some doulas help with postpartum care.  Doulas give you emotional and physical support- many aid in the creation of a birth plan, help you interpret necessary medical procedures, advocate for your choices, offer strategies to ease tension/reduce pain, assist with laboring positions, and can also provide reassurance for you and your partner during birth.  
Doulas are not medical professionals, they do not replace your medical provider and do not make any medical decisions for you.
Why should you have a doula?
According to a clinical article titled Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth available HERE, there is overwhelming evidence that having a doula present at birth has a substantial effect on childbirth interventions used (or rather, not used).  Here are the stats:
* you are 28% less likely to have a c-section
* you are 31% less likely to use Pitocin
* 9% less likely to use any pain medications
* 34% less likely to say your birth experience was negative
Birth doulas help you make your birthing environment a positive place.  They nurture you and encourage you to have strength.  Doulas help you feel secure when you may feel vulnerable.  Doulas also improve breastfeeding rates (source HERE)!

Doulas are available everywhere and every family deserves a doula.
How to find a doula for your birth:
Military families can also look here- http://www.operationspecialdelivery.com

Ask these questions to find the right doula for you:
1.  What training have you had?
2.  How long have you been a doula?
3.  Specialties- Do you have experience with high risk pregnancy, c-sections, etc.
4.  What inspired you to become a doula?
5.  Are you available around my "due date?"
6.  Do you have a partner or a back-up in case you're unable to come to my birth?
7.  Do you only attend birth or do you also offer postpartum services?
8.  What are your fees?
9.  What skills do you feel you have that will benefit my child birthing experience?
10.  What is your philosophy of childbirth?
It's also important that you meet prior to birth and gauge your connection to the doula.  Is it someone you'd want to have next to your side for up to 48 hours?  You can ask for references as well.  Make sure that you feel comfortable with them, and never be afraid to ask questions!

I hope this helps!  Stay tuned for more information about doulas next week!  Leave a comment about your experience with doulas!  

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