The word Doula comes from the Greek word which means, ‘woman supporter, woman helper’. Today, the word Doula is widely accepted as a ‘labor assistant who provides continuous physical and emotional support during labor and delivery.’ Some may be called a labor coach (for mom & dad), a childbirth assistant, a mother assistant, a labor companion. However you would like to term it, doulas share a common belief, that childbirth is a miraculous process, and a powerful event in your life.
When it comes to birth, couples may have expectations and thoughts about the type of birth they want. They often believe that they can handle the process by themselves. During your discussions, you may find that you have fear about what is really going to happen, or how will labor/delivery/birth really be, will you lose control because of the pain? These questions and concerns are real! Typically in a hospital, you will find that the nurses are busy taking care of several moms about to deliver at the same time. Your questions go unanswered, and you find yourself alone. Fear and panic can set in due to the nature of what is going on. Having a certified doula apart of your support team is helpful, because she is able to provide you with objective insight through a calm and reassuring voice. She is able to support you on a different level because she is not intimately related to the woman in labor. Her goal is a happy and healthy delivery, one that will be remembered throughout their lives. Having a doula present does not mean that she is replacing her partner during this time, but rather, she is able to provide a nurturing, helpful and supportive role for the couple.
Another role of the doula is to help with position changes, brings a birthing ball, and uses massage with a goal to reassure, relax, comfort and inform mom during the birth. You may be faced with choices and decisions that you need help with. As your doula, I do NOT ever make decisions for you, but will be an advocate for you and your choices. If you don’t know what your choices are (before, during and after the birth), then you really don’t have much of a choice, or even a voice. That is another example of where a doula comes in. She is able to help you process what your choices might be After all, this is YOUR body, YOUR birth and YOUR baby!
According to DONA International:
Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.
A Birth Doula
*Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
*Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
*Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
*Stays with the woman throughout the labor
*Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decision
*Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
*Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman’s memory of the birth experience
*Allows the woman’s partner to participate at his/her comfort level
A birth doula certified by DONA International is designated by the initials CD(DONA).
The birth of every baby will have a long and lasting impact on the mother, the child, and the entire family. My goal is to help you have the most satisfying and safest birth possible.
I am proud to display the letters CD(DONA) behind my name and I am a certified Birth Doula in Fresno, California
Kathryn DiPalma CD(DONA)
DONA International has recently released this great video on “The Essential Ingredient: Doula”