What Is the Role of a Birth Doula?

The role of the birth doula

One of my favorite questions to answer during a birth doula interview is: "What do you see the role of the doula being?" The more that I do this work, the more I see very clearly what my role is, and how incredibly beneficial it is to the families I get the pleasure to work with. Also, I've gotten it down to an alliteration, and who doesn't love a good alliteration? So here it is, the three C's that define what my role is as a professional Labor/Birth Doula:

Comfort

As professional doulas, we provide you with unbiased prenatal education, assist in providing you with additional resources and information, offer emotional support both during pregnancy and during labor, and use non-medical labor coping techniques to help you through your labor. All of this is with one goal: reducing stress, pain, and fear, and increasing your overall comfort and satisfaction throughout pregnancy and during the birth itself. As professional doulas, we do not offer medical advice, or perform clinical tasks like checking heart tones or your cervix.

Communication

We assist you in developing your own birth plan if desired, and at the very least, and we work hard to facilitate open communication between you and your chosen healthcare team. Often this means discussing your preferences prenatally, and helping you to form good questions to ask your doctor, midwife, or the hospital to get a more clear picture about what you can expect. During the birth itself, we may gently remind you of some of the preferences and goals you may have shared with us previously. Sometimes it is as simple as asking, "Did you have any more questions for Doctor X about Y and Z?" As professional doulas we will not speak for you, or make decisions on your behalf. We respect the education and experience of your healthcare team, and we seek to have good working relationships with them in order to benefit you!

Continuous Care

From prenatal to postpartum, we work to understand your needs, hopes, and goals. We are there from the beginning to walk alongside you, and give you as much or as little support as you need to work toward those desires. Our goal is to make your pregnancy and the transition to parenthood as smooth as possible, however you define that. As professional doulas, we support all preferences, choices, and outcomes. That includes epidurals, unmedicated births, and cesarean births. We are there for you!

A professional birth doula is an invaluable part of any birth team. We work alongside doctors, nurses, and midwives, who are committed and excellent at providing you with medical care and watching out for you and your baby's physical safety. We complement and enhance their care by focusing on everything else you need to have the happiest, healthiest, and safest birth possible.

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