Doula Support: Empowering You to Have the Birth Experience You Deserve
As a mother-to-be, you may be feeling overwhelmed and anxious about the birthing process. And that’s completely normal – after all, it’s a significant event that will change your life forever. That’s why it’s essential to have a strong support system in place, and one of the best additions to that system is a doula.
You’ve likely heard of a doula recently, but do you actually know what a doula is?
- What does a doula do for you?
- Do they deliver your baby?
- Do they hold your hand and support you during delivery?
- Do they help your partner?
- Can I have a doula and a hospital delivery?
- Are they expensive?
Let’s break this down and set the record straight!
What is a Doula?
A doula is a trained birth worker who provides emotional, physical, and educational support before, during, and after childbirth. Doulas are there to be your reliable best friend, your cool cousin who’s got your back, and your auntie who doesn’t play about her niece. They’re like an encyclopedia, a mom, and a cheerleader all rolled into one, and they’ll be there to support you every step of the way.
How is a Doula Essential During Pregnancy and Childbirth?
You might still be wondering, Why do I need a doula? I already have my mom, my aunties, and my cousin who have all had kids.
While having that support system is vital, a doula has in-depth training and knowledge of pregnancy and childbirth. They’re there to ensure that you have the best possible experience, on your own terms.
Whether you want to have a free birth, home birth, birth center birth, or hospital birth, there is a doula out there who is equipped to support your goals. And it’s essential to find the right doula for you because they’ll be your wing-woman in your birthing space.
Why is Doula Support Critical for Black Women?
Finding the right doula takes time, but it’s worth it – especially for Black mothers.
Black women are more likely to have negative experiences during childbirth and after, including higher rates of maternal mortality and morbidity. Institutional racism and personal bias in healthcare means that Black women are often not treated with the respect or given the care they deserve.
But with a doula by your side, you’re in a better position to advocate for yourself and your baby. Statistics show that having a doula can lead to better birth outcomes, and it ensures that you’re getting the care you need and want.
How Can a Doula Help You During Pregnancy and Childbirth?
So what exactly can a doula do for you? First and foremost, they can help you create a birth plan that reflects your wishes and preferences. They’ll be there to provide comfort measures during labor, like massage and breathing techniques. They’ll advocate for you with medical staff and help you navigate any decisions that need to be made. And they’re there to remind you that you’re strong, capable, and beautiful – even when you’re covered in sweat and screaming.
Doulas provide all of this support during the postpartum period as well, when you’re adjusting to life with a new baby.
A Doula is a Mother to Mothers
It’s not just about the practical support that doulas provide. They also offer emotional support that can be invaluable during this time of great change.
Pregnancy and childbirth can be stressful and overwhelming, but doulas are there to listen to your fears and concerns, to offer guidance and reassurance, and to be a calming presence when you need it most.
They’ll be there to cheer you on, to remind you of your strength, and to help you stay positive and focused throughout the birthing process.
Postpartum Doula Support is Also Essential
The benefits of having a doula don’t end with the birth itself.
Postpartum doulas provide practical support during those first few weeks after your baby is born. They’ll help you with tasks like breastfeeding, diaper changes, and basic household chores, so you can rest and recover.
They will also support your partner, parents, other children, and those in your village. Everyone is experiencing lots of changes and will benefit from the support.
Doulas are also there to offer emotional support and guidance as you adjust to life as a new mother.
Why Should You Consider Hiring a Doula?
If you’re pregnant or planning to be, consider how having a doula may benefit you. As Black mothers, it’s even more beneficial to have a doula who understands your unique needs and experiences. Investing in a doula is an investment in your health and happiness.
Quick Facts About Doulas:
Do they deliver your baby? Doulas do not deliver your baby, they are non-medical birth workers.
Do they hold your hand and support you during delivery? Doulas can and will hold your hand if you want or need them to. Doulas are there to help you navigate your own decisions and be empowered and ready to give birth.
Do they help your partner? A doula is there for your partner as much as they are there for you. You’re both becoming new parents and that process requires extra support.
Can I have a doula and a hospital delivery? You can have a doula and a hospital birth. Doulas support a wide range of birth options including hospital births and cesareans.
Are they expensive? The cost of a doula can vary from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand. There are need-based organizations that offer affordable doula services, and in some states, doulas are covered by Medicaid insurance.
To learn more about Mae’s pregnancy support and how you may get access to free doula support, visit meetmae.com.
To find more community, resources, information and support, follow us @maehealthinc.
To learn more about how Mae supports Black birth workers, visit meetmae.com/doula.