So...you're expecting. Congratulations! Depending on how far along you are, there's a good chance you've been researching the best baby products, cribs, baby carriers, hospitals, and all things birth! You can't help it. Whether you want it to be or not, your upcoming birth experience is on your mind.
Everywhere you look, moms are posting their birth horror stories in mom groups and "due date groups". Friends who never talked about birth before are suddenly telling you details you're just not ready for.
Or perhaps, you do want to know as much information as you can, but there's so much conflicting recommendations and advice, you don't know what to believe.
How do you figure out what kind of birth you want?
What really is the difference between an OB/GYN and a Midwife, and how do you know what's right for you?
Who should be in the birth room with you, and how do you say "NO" to your mother-in-law?
Do you really need a birth plan? Your friend told you that you won't get what you want anyway.
You are curious about your options for comfort and pain relief, but have heard scary things about epidurals....and not getting epidurals.
Enter....your Birth Doula.
A Birth Doula is a trained professional who is an expert in the field of pregnancy, birth, and the early postpartum period. We are non-medical support professionals, who resemble your very best friend who is non-biased, and just so happens to have the skills and tools to enhance the birth that's right for you.
Labor support and Doulas are statistically proven to:
25% decrease in the risk of Cesarean; the largest effect was seen with a doula (39% decrease)*
8% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth; the largest effect was seen with a doula (15% increase)*
10% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief; the type of person providing continuous support did not make a difference
Shorter labors by 41 minutes on average; there is no data on if the type of person providing continuous support makes a difference
38% decrease in the baby’s risk of a low five minute Apgar score; there is no data on if the type of person providing continuous support makes a difference
31% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience; mothers’ risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience was reduced with continuous support provided by a doula or someone in their social network (family or friend), but not hospital staff
Our goal as your Doula is to instill strength and reduce fear. This happens in various ways and is categorized into three pillars.
1) Educational Support
Many of the questions above can be answered with pure data and written options. For example, according to your hospital, your Doula can provide you with a list of names of providers who practice at that location, the common standards of practice that you can expect such as:
-The process of getting admitted
-Postpartum recovery and newborn care
-Amenities such as labor tubs, pain relief options, and even...the hospital food.
Education support includes the knowledge behind your anatomy, your hormones, and the way they work together during the birth process. They hold information about all kinds of birth including unmedicated, home-birth, birth center, epidural, cesarean, and high-risk.
Say you take a childbirth class you found online, or that was recommended by your provider that had fantastic reviews because you want to know more about the process (DO IT). Perhaps your partner took it with you so that they can learn what to expect, and ways to support you.
The class ends and you lay in bed that night with 14 new questions based on what you learned. Have no fear, your Doula is a phone call away to answer everything she can, and provide resources to the things she can't.
2) Physical Support
This pillar of support is one of the most common reasons that people seek out more information about Doulas. Many expecting parents decide that they would like to have an unmedicated birth, and are nervous about doing it alone. Their partner may be supportive, but they don't know birth.
What if the nurse is busy with another patient?
The doctor doesn't usually show up until Stage 2 of labor (pushing- this is covered in the childbirth class above)
They are nervous about knowing which labor positions to move into, and how to know, "Is this normal)?
What if your partner needs to take a break to nap or eat?
Even if you are not planning an unmedicated birth, there are many reasons to consider Doula support. If you have an epidural, you Doula can work with your partner to move you into safe positions that allow for your pelvis to stay open, to work with your baby and allow them to "descend" (another term covered in a childbirth class) Sometimes, epidurals only work on one side, or take longer to work than expected. Your Doula can breathe with you, and give counter pressure to your lower back until your chosen pain relief begins to work. Even moms who plan, or require cesarean sections can benefit greatly from hiring a Doula.
3) Emotional Support
Emotional support is the pillar of support that really shines. Because, while everyone else in your life has their own agenda and goals for your experience, we have no hidden agenda, and are simply there to hold space for your own exploration of ideas, desires, and beliefs. At 2am when your woken up from a crampy sensation that you can't quite describe, your Doulas voice on the other end of the phone can help you navigate the next steps, reassure you that things are normal, or suggest to call your provider for more guidance. Your goals are our goals. And if those goals change, we won't bully you into a plan, judge you for changing course, or hint that your parenting style is wrong. We will simply be so proud of you and amazed at the strength you have to navigate hard things, make difficult decisions, and follow your intuition.
Emotional support during labor is hard to explain. It's something so beautiful and raw, that is unique to every mother, partner, and Doula.
It's the tears shed and hands held during a moment of an intense contraction when you don't know if you can do it, but your Doula's firm squeeze and a nod of affirmation get you through.
It's the moment your partner hugs your Doula because he is so amazed by your strength and grateful for her expert guidance that allowed him to be such an instrumental part of your support.
It's the moment when your birth changes course and your birth plan quickly gets thrown out the window. Your Doula reminds you of your options, your strength, and your baby.
If any of that made you sigh a deep breath of relief knowing you're not in this alone- good. If at any point reading that, you envisioned yourself on the receiving end of support just like that, the next step is to find your Doula! Just reach out! Our team of spunky, down-to-earth, professional, and Certified Doulas is ready to meet you. You can reach us at TheOmahaBabyNest@gmail.com, 414-491-4064, or check out our services page here. Be sure to follow our Instagram @theomahababynest and Facebook page for all kinds of tips, tricks, and mom related information!
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