What is a Doula and should you have one involved in your birth?
On a recent podcast episode, we chatted with Trisha Baird, a remarkable doula and childbirth educator who’s transforming the birth experience in Southern Utah.
Trisha illuminated the crucial role a doula plays during childbirth, often serving as an unbiased, nurturing, and knowledgeable companion for the mother.
Trisha utilizes and teaches The Bradley Method . This approach places emphasis on the role of the partner in childbirth, stressing the importance of understanding, support, and ensuring the couple’s wishes are respected. This approach demystifies the childbirth process and emphasizes the critical role of a doula in supporting both the mother and partner.
So, what is a Doula?
According to Dr. Christine Morton, author of the book Birth Ambassadors, a birth doula is a companion who supports a birthing person during labor and birth. Birth doulas are trained to provide continuous, one-on-one care, as well as information, physical support, and emotional support to birthing persons and their partners.
But Trisha doesn’t stop there. An essential part of Trisha’s philosophy is the significance of prenatal preparation. She instills confidence in expectant mothers by encouraging them to trust their body’s innate ability to birth, a principle often overlooked. Comprehensive resources, holistic pre- and postnatal care, and fostering a positive birth experience are all part of Trisha’s toolkit to equip mothers for their incredible journey.
Tthe doula’s role and agenda are tied solely to the mother’s agenda. This is also known as primacy of interest. In other words, a doula’s primary responsibility is to the mother—not to a hospital administrator, nurse, midwife, or doctor.
How a Doula supports a mom in pregnancy & childbirth
Examples of physical support may include:
- soothing through the use of massage or counter pressure
- helping to create a calm environment (dimming the lights, making the room inviting)
- assisting in water therapy or the use of a bathtub
- providing food, drink, or ice chips
- helping the mom walk to the bathroom or other physical tasks
One of the doula’s primary goals is to care for the mother’s emotional health and enhance her ability to have positive birth memories. Examples of emotional support may include:
- Helping the mother see themselves or their situation more positively
- Just being there as company in the room
- Showing a caring attitude
- Mirroring—calmly describing what the mother is experiencing and echoing back the same feelings and intensity
- Accepting what the mother wants
- Helping the mother and partner work through fears and self-doubt
- Debriefing after the birth—listening to the mother with empathy
An important role of a Doula is the provide a mom and her partner with access to evidence-based information about birth options. Examples of informational support include:
- Suggesting techniques in labor, such as breathing, relaxation techniques, movement, and positioning (positioning is important both with and without epidurals)
- Helping them find evidence-based information about different options in pregnancy and childbirth
- Helping explain medical procedures before or as they occur
- Helping the partner understand what’s going on with their loved one’s labor
A Doula’s role is to help a mother advocate for herself in pregnancy and childbirth. A doula may not necessarily speak on behalf of a mother and her partner, but may guide them to make educated decisions and speak up for themselves when necessary as it relates to their wants and needs in childbirth.
If you’d like to learn more about Trisha and working with her in Southern Utah, visit www.empoweredbirthwithtrisha.com
If you’re not in Southern Utah and are interested in hiring a Doula, we highly recommending doing research, asking for referrals, and interviewing a few options to make sure they feel like a great fit!
Listen to our Podcast episode with Trisha!