Orchid Nest doulas happily support expecting and new mothers in West Palm Beach with their pregnancy, delivery, and the days following. Giving birth to a baby is a beautiful and magical experience, but it does not come without its challenges. Many women opt to hire a doula for support through these challenges as a partner and an advocate. Over the past several decades, hospital births with just the mother, doctor, and maybe a spouse or family member have been commonplace. However, in recent years positive studies and focuses on educating new mothers have increased the popularity of doulas.
What is a doula?
“Doula” is a Greek word meaning servant, and that is one of the roles a doula plays for a pregnant woman. A doula is a professional with training in childbirth who acts as a partner, a caregiver, and an advocate for the mother. Doulas provide emotional, physical, and educational support to women who are expecting, currently in labor or recently gave birth. When people hear the term doula, what they generally think of is a birth or labor doula, but doulas also specialize in antepartum and postpartum care.
One advantage of working with a West Palm Beach labor doula is the physical support they provide. Giving birth is said to be one of the most painful experiences a human being can go through. Luckily, there are certain measures that can ease the pain without opting for medication such as an epidural. A doula will help a laboring woman by empowering them to maintain a sense of comfort, control, and confidence. The doula may suggest certain positions, breathing techniques, or provide a soothing touch through massage and counter pressure. Setting an ambiance with dim lighting and aromatherapy is also a common practice for doulas. Labor doulas also help with water therapy through the use of a shower, bath, or specialized birthing tub when the mother desires. You can also expect a doula to help with more basic tasks like helping the laboring mother to the bathroom or giving ice chips, water and food. Whatever physical needs the patient has, the labor doula will assist.
Many studies support the fact that emotional support can be just as important, if not more, than physical support for childbirth. Regardless of the unique circumstances surrounding a pregnancy, it is vital for best outcomes that the mother feels supported throughout the process. Doulas will provide encouragement and praise throughout labor and delivery, being a dependable presence from start to finish. By helping the mother feel good about the process and debriefing after the delivery, the mother will form a more positive memory of the experience.
Your birth doula will meet with you prior to the delivery to discuss expectations and roles. The doula will provide the parents with evidence-based information about different birthing options. The purpose of learning about the different options is to help develop an educated birth plan and prepare the parents-to-be for what they will experience.
During the labor, the doula will guide the birthing mother and her partner through every step and make suggestions to help ease and progress the process. The doula will explain any medical procedures before or while they occur to create an understanding of what is happening. A doula will help you prepare for a variety of situations that commonly arise during labor and delivery, and hold your hand through it all.
A doula is an advocate for both the mother and the baby. She will discuss potential major decisions with the birthing person prior to the delivery and list of wishes during the delivery. For decades, mothers were patients with little to no say about their labor and doctors did what they were trained to do regardless of the mother’s wishes. A doula will not speak on the mother’s behalf, but there are many ways to advocate for a patient without speaking for them. Your doula may:
- Ask you what you want
- Encourage you to ask questions and speak out about preferences
- Support decisions you make
- Create a no-pressure environment for the family to ask questions, become educated, and make decisions
- Facilitate communication between care providers and the patient or loved ones
- Make sure you as the birthing person are aware of any procedures before they are performed
- Make sure your voice is heard and not dismissed
- Teach positive communication techniques
Multiple Types of Doulas
Antepartum Doulas: This type of doula is commonly employed for expecting mothers that have been put on bed rest. When a woman is put on bed rest, it is commonly because they are experiencing a high-risk pregnancy. Bed rest sounds relaxing, but can be extremely stressful and frustrating. An antepartum doula will educate the mother on their situation and what they can expect from the delivery. They will provide emotional and physical support throughout the time they are on bed rest, and comfort the mother through this confusing and emotional situation.
Postpartum Doulas: Doula assistance does not have to end when the child is born. Our West Palm Beach postpartum doulas will provide support during the weeks following the birth. Caring for a newborn child can be difficult and tiring. The doula will offer lactation support, additional care such as diaper changing and bathing, and even help with cooking. By supporting a new mother physically and emotionally, the risk of postpartum depression can be reduced.
Some doulas are experienced in more than one area, meaning you can have the same doula assist you through multiple stages of your pregnancy and childbirth. From simply being there to offer words of guidance, to physically helping you move where you need, your doula can help you make the most of your birthing experience. Studies have shown that the presence of a doula decreases the cesarean rate by 50%, the length of labor by 25%, the use of oxytocin by 40%, and requests for an epidural by 60%. For a more positive and safer experience, add the expertise of a doula to your birth plan. To speak with a West Palm Beach doula today, contact Orchid Nest.