Friday, May 14, 2010

">Women have been supporting each other in pregnancy, labour and childbirth throughout the history of humanity. Only recently in North America, the art the doula is being rediscovered by pregnant women and in some areas it is very new to the medical professionals associated with childbirth. Whether the labour support a woman receives through her childbirth experience is given by a trained, certified and hired doula or her best friend, this support is often invaluable to new mothers. Because of a unique professional relationship the doula builds with each couple during their prenatal, labour, birth and breastfeeding experiences, all these events can be greatly enhanced by the emotional, physical and informational support a doula provides.

The emotional support that an expectant mother requires and receives begins early in pregnancy. Women begin the process of preparing themselves for labour, birth, breastfeeding and motherhood the moment they find out they have conceived their child, long before they have given much thought to hire a doula or who may be supporting them. The ability of a doula for instilling confidence in the prenatal stage by helping women to feel confident in her body’s ability to give birth the way they want. Clients of doulas benefit from all the areas that their doula has to draw from when it come to giving support such as their training and past experiences of knowledge of the physiological and emotional process of labour providing comfort and encouragement. Doulas provide unbiased, evidence-based information when answering their clients questions and explaining the course of this journey. Acting as an advocate for their clients, helping them better understand the different interventions and procedures, but more importantly when they may be necessary from deep discussions with their doula. Doulas do not make decisions on behalf of their clients, speak for them, or provide any clinical medical procedures. In a situation where a labouring woman becomes overwhelmed by medical practices, procedures and policies, by having a doula there reminding them of their rights and to express themselves women are empowered. Making sure a birthing mothers voice is heard and understood. Always keeping woman informed about the process and her progress through labour. Reminding a couple of different relaxation techniques to help with those more difficult stages doing everything to ensure the couple has the birth they had planned for. In event of complications a doula will explain circumstances, help the couple understand suggested alternatives remaining the calm and soothing advocate for the couple as they interact with the medical staff. Supporting the desires and request of a labouring family takes the skill and patience of a doula at all times. Because this is the birth of a baby, a mother, and a father, we want them to have a wonderful memory of their experience. Their doula will make great effort to protect this memory not allowing them to be put down or to feel shame. Doulas empower families through informed decision before, during and after their birthing experience. Comfort measures given by a doula for relief of labour pressure include massage, movement, breathing, relaxation, visualization and more. The doula’s greatest tool is their ability of conveying empathy through comforting touch, calming words and relaxing actions. Labour support is available in the form of a doula so that families can increase their chances of having an empowered birth experience as the doula works within her parameters of offering them emotional, physical, and informational support. As a couple evolve into the parents of their long awaited child the experience and memory of their journey helps to form them. Supporting a couple through one of the most changing and meaningful experience together is to be sensitive. A father is also born at each delivery, and his comfort, security, and ability to support the mother are enhanced by the doula's presence. Having the trust and confidence of the couple allows a doula to support them with valuable encouragement. She allows the labouring couple the freedom to experience birth as a team, participating as an objective guide, lending encouragement and support when needed. A doula helps support the partner so that they can love and support the labouring woman. The doula's experience gives both parents a sense of calm, enabling them to interact in a loving and peaceful way. A doula is sensitive to the labouring couple and respects the couple's relationship. When necessary a doula will step back and allow the couple to work at their own comfort level, or she may guide the partner to involve him gently, complimenting and strengthening his role. A doula will never take the place of the partner; she will nurture and support the couple.

Birth should be a joyous experience for the mother, her partner and all the supporting people. It's a calling that enables doulas to protect the mother's childbirth memories, and lay the foundation for the lifelong family relationships. Women who have experienced this support know they'll have a knowledgeable and compassionate companion, and that provides comfort and security before the birth, emotional and medical benefits during, and positive feelings after and anytime they may want it.