So you are newly pregnant, and you are getting a TON of advice from well meaning friends about everything and anything. It's hard to know where to start to sift through it all, right?
One of the things you may have heard about, but aren't really sure what it means, is the concept of a birth or postpartum doula. If you have questions about who and what doulas are, what they do, and how they can benefit you, this week is World Doula Week, a week dedicated to answering your questions!
From March 22-28 we will be posting the basics about who and what doulas are, and what we do for growing families, not just in Cincinnati and Dayton, but all over the world.
First the basics.
Who Are Doulas?
At Tender Beginnings, all of our labor and birth doulas are specially trained professionals, and members of your birth team right alongside your doctor, midwife, and nurse. Many of us are mothers ourselves, and have been in your shoes, although to be a good doula does not require that you be a mother yourself. Rather, qualities of a good doula include: flexibility, attentiveness, intuition, compassion, and adaptability.
What Do Doulas Do?
There are two main types of doulas: Birth or Labor Doulas, and Postpartum and Infant Care Doulas. All great doulas provide non-judgmental support to families, not telling them what works best, but rather, helping families to discover what works best, for them.
Birth Doulas are your BFF from first pregnancy test all the way through the birth itself, providing non-biased and supportive guidance, answering questions, and creating as smooth, positive, and comfortable an experience for you, your partner, and any other family members along the way. It's kind of like having your birth class in your back pocket at the birth itself.
Postpartum and Infant Care Doulas are your go-to once baby is here. Not only can we help you navigate the (sometimes crazy) first several weeks and months with a new baby, we also understand the unique challenges that you, the parents, face, and can support you through those challenges!
Where Do Doulas Typically Work?
Birth and Postpartum Doulas don't just attend births at either home or the hospital. We can work in any setting, with any provider, according to the preferences of your family. In fact, if you aren't sure what your options are, a doula is a great resource for figuring out where and with whom might be the very best fit for your family based on your individual goals and desires.
When Do You Hire a Doula?
The help of a doula comes in most handy from the time you first find out you are pregnant, through your baby's first birthday. The most critical times most families find for having a doula is from about 28 weeks of pregnancy through the newborn baby's first 12 weeks of life, because a LOT is happening in this timeframe in terms of preparation, growth, and change. It is never too late to hire a doula, and we have had clients even hire us last minute, already in labor, or when labor is only days away!
How Do Doulas Benefit Families?
Want to know how doulas benefit families through all pregnancy, birth, and new parenting experiences? Check out our blog posts that go more in-depth on individual topics: