By Randi van Wiltenburg, Owner of Butterfly Baby Doula Services
Just because you’ve had a baby before does not mean you are an expert on pregnancy, labour and birth. Every single pregnancy, labour and birth is different because you’re working with a different human.
There are a lot of people who have experienced trauma during their pregnancy and birth experience, and being in that situation again can stir up those feelings and emotions. A doula can help you decipher what is typical and can help you work through some of that trauma or find resources that would benefit you during your current pregnancy.
Here are some of the things a doula can do during pregnancy:
- Give evidence-based information
- Help distinguish the normal and common from what necessitates a call to your care provider
- Be a constant—knowing there is someone that will always1 be there to answer your questions can be so reassuring
- Help navigate the healthcare system: what is optional vs mandatory and why you may or may not want to consider it
- Provide guidance about what to ask your care provider or how to discuss things with them
- Support your partner and other support people
- Normalize what you’re going through
… and some of the things a doula may help with during labour:
- Make sure you’re hydrated (something so basic, and yet so easily forgotten about)
- Help with physical comfort support
- Assist with emotional support
- Make sure your partner and support people are caring for themselves
- Help make the space for you to voice your needs, wants and desires
- Make room for collaborative care
- Normalize the experience for all involved
Simply by having a doula in the room with you, rates of trauma and post-tramautic stress disorder (PTSD) are reduced—that’s without a doula even doing anything!
Having a doula as part of the birth team can reduce the risk of having a Caesarian birth, shorten the duration of labour and reduce the need for synthetic oxytocin. Studies show that people report more positive birth experiences when a doula was present during birth.2
After each birth, I make sure my client gets what they need, whether it’s grabbing the best tasting toast of their life, a cup of tea or coffee, or assisting with feeding or ensuring their support team is taking care of their needs as well. After homebirths, I also assist with the clean up.
After baby is born, I stay on call. My clients have said they go home feeling more confident in their abilities to parent their newborn just knowing there is someone they can reach out to.
Looking for a doula in Calgary? Contact Randi today!
- For the duration of the contract
- Hodnett ED. Gates S Hofmyr GJ. Sakala C. Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews. CD003766, (2003) & Klaus, M., Kennell, J., Klaus, P. Mothering the Mother.: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, (1993)