A doula is an unemotionally attached advocate for birthing parent and partner. A doula provides education and a sense of security. While people frequently associate doulas with being present at birth, doulas, especially full spectrum doulas have a much broader offering.
A birth doula provides support during labor and birth into the early postpartum. They also do a 24-48 hour postpartum check-in to see how parent(s) and baby are doing and allow space for sharing about the birth story and asking any questions that come up. Bonus if your birth doula brings bomb banana bread to the postpartum visit! Another visit typically occurs between 3-5 days postpartum as this is when birthing parents go through a major hormonal transition and can feel blues or even the start of postpartum mood disorders. Doulas advocate for your postpartum health too!
A postpartum doula comes to your home in the early postpartum period days, evenings or both depending on the agreement and provides help with household tasks or errand running and can also be an excellent support for chestfeeding. Sounds glorious, doesn’t it?! This doula may be the go to for arranging meal train or visitation information and can be a security guard when parent(s) and babe need some time and space.
A bereavement doula is an advocate and support during planned or unplanned infant loss. Parent(s) experiencing loss deserve and need equal support as those bringing home a baby in arms. This arrangement can be beautifully designed by the doula and parent(s) to suit individual needs. The doula may be present at the time of loss and shortly after or provide support in the first few weeks at home.
Studies have shown emotional, physical, and financial benefits to hiring a doula. Many of the early doula studies were done on having a woman simply present in the room. Yet, birth outcomes with the presence of a doula were improved, hospital costs lowered, and a new family born on a foundation of support. While healthcare costs may reduce, many of the benefits to having a doula on your birth team cannot be measured.
The parenthood transition comes with so many options, choices, blasts of information from all different angles, and the never-ending reel of “shoulds” and “highlights” on social media. A doula is not there to provide the best or correct way to do birth or postpartum, nor should they impose their beliefs or opinions on your desires. A doula is present to educate, support, and empower.
Finding a doula that supports you in the way you desire to feel, advocating for your wishes and desires, and connecting you with your local community of resources can make a world of difference as you navigate this new stage of life.
Contact Coulee Health to gain more information on our Doula’s and their services.