Doulas are amazing and yet most people don’t know what they are or what services they offer. A doula can be one of the most amazing people to support you during your birth and pregnancy or during your parenting journey.
When I got pregnant, one of the first calls I made was to Green Bay Doulas, I knew I wanted a doula there at my birth. Having a doula at your birth and supporting you throughout your pregnancy is like having a best friend who’s an expert in birth, someone you can ask all those embarrassing questions to, and won’t bat an eyelash when you send her a disgusting picture asking “is this my mucus plug?”
Doulas aren’t medical professionals, they have training but they aren’t medically trained. Doulas are there to be in your corner in one of the most overwhelming and vulnerable times for a woman. They’re also there to support your partner, they’ll sit down with you and talk through what you want your birth experience to be, they’ll support you in making medical decisions, and they know where to find all the info.
What I didn’t know when I hired a doula was that I’d be pregnant and birthing during a pandemic, I was lucky enough to have my doula at my birth. I will never give birth without one, my partner has said the same, and yet I was told countless times that doulas were a waste of money.
Services that Doulas Offer
I can’t speak for other doula offices and I’m sure that independent doulas will be different. When you hire a doula, regardless of if they’re independent or part of a business they’ll know of services and resources that you didn’t know existed.
Doulas will support you during any birthing experience, it doesn’t matter if you’re birthing through a surrogate, if you’re choosing termination, if your baby is born sleeping, or if you experience a miscarriage. They are there to support you during any birth experience.
They know who the car seat experts are, yes there are people you can hire to come to your house to install a car seat and show you to use it. They’ll know about lactation consultants that will come to your house, where you can go if your baby needs a lip tie revised, and lactation groups. They’ll know where all the info is about different types of formula. They know all the Facebook groups to support you in any and all parenting decisions you make. They offer birth classes, lactation classes, and parenting classes, they even offer classes for siblings and grandparents.
You can also hire a doula to come to your house and hang out with your baby so you can sleep; it’s called a postpartum doula. You can hire a doula to be there at the birth, you can hire someone to be your postpartum, or you can use them for their birthing classes. You don’t have to hire a birth doula to have access to their other services.
What doulas aren’t
Doulas aren’t medical professionals, they won’t ever tell you what to do, they can’t diagnose anything. What they can do is tell you in their experience what they think it might be and encourage you to contact your doctor, they can go over treatment options with you and give you all the information you could ever want to feel empowered in the decision that you make.
A doula should never work against your doctor, they’ll work with your doctor to support you. If something happens and your baby is breech and your current doctor is telling you, your only option is a c-section they might tell you about a doctor that has different options. The decision is yours and no matter what you decide they’ll support you.
Doulas and Dads
Doulas aren’t there to replace dad or edge him out, as Emily has said “you’re an expert in your partner, we’re an expert in birth” and they’re there to use that expertise to help dads support their partners. They know the different exercises to help ease pain, they’re there to give dad a break if he needs to go take a nap.
Birth is a crazy time, there are lots of questions and doulas are there to reassure dads that it’s all normal. If something happens, they’re there to support mom or dad. If mom needs to have an emergency c-section they’re there to support dad, if someone needs to stay with mom but mom wants someone to go with baby, they’re there.
Also read: Reasons Dads Hire a Doula
May is Doula month and I’d like to thank doulas for all that they do, for all the amazing support they’ve given families. Doulas, you are amazing and you’re more than worth it. If you’re questioning if a doula is right for you this podcast is amazing. To all the doulas, again thanks for all you do!