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What is a Doula?!

Updated: Feb 5, 2020

"I'm sorry, what exactly is a doula?" or "medulla oblongata what?!" are often the first questions I get from most people when I tell them what I do for a living. Before the birth of my 1st, I had no idea what a doula was myself. I had no idea that birth could (and SHOULD) feel empowering, beautiful, and supported regardless of what your birth plan is.

Surprisingly, doulas aren't a new, "trendy" thing. Women have been supporting other women in childbirth since the beginning of time. However, with the rise in the maternal mortality crisis in the US and the desire by many women to have low intervention births, doulas are attending births more and more frequently. With that being said, doulas attend ALL births because literally every birthing person could benefit from having one (including scheduled c-sections, but I'll save this for a different post).

So what do DOULAS do exactly? What can you expect from your doula at your birth?

In short, we provide informational, physical, and emotional support but I don't personally feel that this definition does our job justice... because there's so much more to it. Keep reading to figure out what role doulas play in the birth process.

1. Informational Support

The informational aspect of doula work might be my favorite. Most people aren't aware of the many options they have, especially in a hospital setting. I love knowing my clients feel informed in their birth, even if it doesn't go according to plan.

While doulas are not a replacement for a childbirth education course, I am available to you to discuss any questions you might have about your birth including (but certainly not limited to) your options on pain management, induction methods, and provider choices. I am also trained in positional techniques for you to utilize before and during labor to ensure baby is in an ideal position. I typically give my clients different exercises to start working on before their birth so it can go as smoothly as possible.

Towards the middle and end of your pregnancy, I will set up two prenatal meetings where we (the birthing family and myself) will go over birth preferences, put together a birth plan, and practice the different comfort measures we'll likely utilize while you're in labor.

I also help my clients navigate conversations (sometimes difficult ones) with their provider. I give my clients a list of questions to ask their doctor/midwife so they can ensure that their provider is the one they want to stay with throughout the remainder of their pregnancy.

After booking with me, I provide my clients a list of recommendations for different resources they might need access to during their pregnancy and postpartum journey. This might include a chiropractor, acupuncturist, massage therapist, lactation professional, or placenta encapsulator.

2. Physical Support

This is likely what doulas might be most known for. I am there to provide physical support to my clients while they are in labor. I literally use my entire body during a birth. Overcoming the contractions can be an exhausting journey, so having someone skilled in the birth process can help one move and breath through them. I have quite a few tools to be able to pull from as well; rebozos, massage tools, oils, etc. I'd say my most used tool in a birth are my hands. Hip squeezes are a game changer in labor. While they don't take away all the discomfort, they do make it slightly more manageable.

3. Emotional Support

Birth is hard, both physically and emotionally. While I completely believe we were made to do hard things, it can still take a toll on us. As a doula, I am there to help you process your birth as it's happening and then during the postpartum period. It's wonderful having a different set of eyes to bear witness to this incredible journey you're on. I'm there to remind you of your body's abilities and encourage you when you feel like you can't press on.

I wasn't joking when I said I throw my entire body into a birth, and my heart is included in that. I am with you emotionally as you and your partner bring your baby Earth side.

BEST Doula Training gave my personal favorite definition of what a doula is/does:

"Birth doulas build relationships with expecting families to help them have a positive birth experience. We help facilitate conversations between the birthing person, and her care provider, provide non-judgmental support for her birth choices, and support the family through labor and birth. We work with our minds, hearts, and hands and are a bridge to many other forms of care"

So you see, there's a lot more to doula work than just basic "support". Of course I support my clients but there are a wide variety of ways we do that. I work hard to ensure my clients feel EMPOWERED, EDUCATED and INFORMED during their birth. I recently read a hashtag that said #birthdoesnthavetosuck and THAT IS SO TRUE! Birth can be amazing! Having a doula there can increase the likelihood of that happening. Evidence has shown that people who hire doulas are less likely to be dissatisfied with how their birth went ( Who doesn't want to feel amazing after birth?!

Pregnant or planning to be at some point and live in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area? I'd love to meet with you to go over your different options! Schedule an interview today!

Bilton Birth Services is currently serving Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grand Prairie, Midlothian, Mansfield, Euless, Bedford, Colleyville, Irving, Waxahachie, Garland, Mesquite, Venus, Carrollton, Richardson, Grapevine, Garland, Lewisville, DFW.

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Bilton Birth Services is by far exceptional. Caty was amazing! My second birth, first home birth, would not have gone the way it did without her. She was so supportive, informatively (even when I had tons of questions), emotionally (when I needed that extra support and push to stay positive through tough contractions and even prior to labor), physically (positions, long walks, and squeezing my hips for over 6 hours) without complaints or anything but a smile on her face and telling me how strong I was and how amazing giving birth was. She did so much I can’t put it all into words. She’s a strong mama as well and has such a positive attitude and outlook on life…

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