An Overview of Birth and Postpartum Doulas from the Premier Doula Agency on the South Shore: New World Doula Services
What is a doula? How can a doula help all birthing and newly postpartum women?
A birth doula is defined as being a continuous support person to a laboring woman and
her partner, providing non-judgmental, emotional, physical, and informational support.
What does this mean? This means that a doula is the support person, hired by you and
not your provider, who usually provides 1-2 prenatal visits in your home to go over your plans for birth and how she can best be a part of your birth team, stays with you during labor and through the birth of your baby(ies), and provides 1-2 postpartum visits in your home, as well as giving you unlimited phone/email support. She provides physical comfort measures (such as massage, position changes, breathing, and relaxation techniques) to guide you through the labor process.
She is the person in the room who knows birth and what is normal and what isn’t, and can reassure you and your partner when something doesn’t go as you hoped. She provides information to you so you and your partner can make informed decisions about your care. Most importantly, she empowers you. We, as doulas, believe in the amazing strength women have and are there to remind you every step of the way.
Birth doulas also improve birth outcomes. Studies (read more here:
https://evidencebasedbirth.com/using-a-doula-for-pain-relief/ ) show that continuous support from a doula leads to a 31% decrease in the use of pitocin (synthetic oxytocin), 28% decrease in the risk of a cesarean, 12% increase in the probability of a vaginal birth, as well as a decrease in the use of pain medications or the need for newborns to be admitted to a special care nursery. Finally, use of a doula leads to more positive birth experiences.
A postpartum doula offers support similar to a birth doula, but in the client’s home after
the baby is born. She is an expert in newborn care, breastfeeding and bottle feeding support, and postpartum mental health. She will also offer practical support to help you get through those early days, such as baby laundry and food prep. Finally, they can be a big help with sibling support and that transition into the 4th trimester.
Postpartum doulas offer two kinds of shifts: daytime and overnight. A daytime shifts
usually consists of a 3-4 hour shift where your doula will help with the day-to-day needs.
Sometimes, it’s just holding your baby so you can nap or shower! Sometimes, it’s going with you on errands so you have an extra set of hands. Sometimes, it’s sitting with you while you nurse your baby and actively listening to your struggles and successes. Overnight shifts are really about helping new parents get the rest they need. We stay in the same room as your baby(ies) and change them, feed them (if bottle feeding), burp them and get them back to sleep. Having a new baby takes its toll on your body, so being able to catch up on sleep, even just one night a week can be so helpful, both physically and emotionally. Studies show that postpartum doulas help reduce postpartum mood disorders, improve breastfeeding success, and provide superior outcomes in adjusting to life with a new baby (www.dona.org/what-is-a-doula/benefits-of-a-doula/).
Our doulas offer you the best in unbiased and compassionate suppport. You don’t have
to do it alone. We can help you along this amazing journey through parenthood!
Author Jocelyn Albertson is the owner of New World Doula Services, LLC. She is a Certified Birth and Postpartum and Infant Care Doula a Certified Childbirth Educator and Certified Postpartum Placenta Specialist. To learn more about her services or contact Jocelyn please visit her website: http://www.newworlddoula.com/