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doula.

So we are now a mere 6 weeks away from Baby Smith joining the family, and I am beginning to get just a tad bit nervous about trying the whole “birthing naturally” thing.  I see the benefit of it, and really desire to do it, but when the times comes, can I handle it?  Both my Bradley instructor and my cousin have emphasized that having a doula makes a whole world of difference once those labor pains kick in.  So in order to make my wish closer to a reality, we’ve begun the search for the right doula — not that this is the answer to birthing naturally, but it sure will be a help!  First off, what is a “doula?”

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Where does the word “doula” come from?
The word “doula” comes from ancient Greek, meaning “woman’s servant.”  Throughout history and in much of the world today, a cadre of women support a woman through labor and birth, giving back rubs and providing continuous emotional support.
 
What is a birth doula?
A birth doula is a person trained and experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth.  Most doula and client relationships begin a few months before the baby is due.  During this time, they establish a relationship that gives the mother complete freedom to ask questions, express fears and concerns, and take an active role in creating a birth plan.  Most doulas make themselves available to the mother by phone to answer questions or explain any developments that may arise in pregnancy.  Doulas do not provide any type of medical care.  However, they are knowledgeable in the medical aspect of labor and delivery so they can help their clients get a better understanding of procedures and complications that may arise in late pregnancy or during delivery.
 
During delivery, doulas are in constant, close proximity to the mother at all times.  They can provide comfort with pain relief techniques, such as breathing, relaxing, and laboring position.  Doulas also encourage participation from the partner and offer reassurance.  A doula acts as an advocate for the mother, encouraging her in her desires for her birth.  The goal of a doula is to help the mother have a positive and safe birth experience, whether the mother wants an un-medicated birth or is having a planned cesarean birth. 
 
Benefits of a doula:
  • Recognizes birth as a key life experience that the mother will remember all her life.
  • Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor.
  • Assists the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plans for the birth.
  • Stays by the side of the laboring woman throughout the entire labor.
  • Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint and assistance to the woman in getting the information she needs to make good decisions.
  • Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and clinical care providers.
  • A doula perceives her role as one who nurtures and protects the woman’s memory of her birth experience.
For those of you who are interested, here is an informative clip, called “Birth Matters — Doulas Make A Difference.”
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About the author susiemey

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2 Comments

  1. if you lived closer to me (ps where DO you live? :-p), i’d be happy to doula for you! 🙂 my girlfriend (who i met because she was my Natural Family Planning teaching), herself the mother of 3 kids, was my doula for an all natural childbirth and i can’t say enough good things about having one!

    natural childbirth IS possible, don’t worry. or, embrace the worrying. let Christ help you carry the cross – that’s the only way I was able to mentally accept what I knew was coming.

    when you think about it, labour and giving birth is such a powerful way to participate in the redemptive suffering of Christ, a way that is ONLY available to women. As a woman, we, too, are giving up our bodies for another, that this little one might have life, and as a Christian mother, life in Christ. Pretty powerful stuff! 🙂

    Also, as a mother, esp. the mother of our Saviour, I found/find Mary’s example and her fiat (Luke 2?) – Be it done unto me according to Thy Word – to be especially helpful.

    I said that verse a lot in labor. Or, i tried to anyways. when i wasn’t, you know, distracted :-p

    prayers and best of luck!

    Reply

  2. I would encourage you to try have a natural birth. I had all eight of my children with no pain medication. I also found that birth was a kind of “appointment with Jesus” because I knew He would be there with me.

    Several verses that I found helpful were:
    Isa. 40:11- it says that He gently leads those who are with young.

    Also, Psalm 40:17-“But I am poor and needy; Yet the Lord thinks upon me. You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.”

    Psalm 22:9-“But You are He who took Me out of the womb”

    He is intimately involved in this process and will be with you.

    This was my favorite:
    Psalm 41:10- “Fear not, for I am with you:
    Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you,
    Yes, I will help you.
    I will uphold you with My
    righteous right hand.”

    It is “I AM” who will be with you and strengthen you and help you with His own hand! The God who created the universe will uphold you with His own hand.

    It is helpful to have another woman or women who have been through birth to be with you. Sister Muriel and Sister Claudia were at several of my births and were very much help and encouragement to me.

    We’ll be praying for you here in NY!

    Reply

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