Once you’ve been through the process of meeting and hiring a doula, you feel like you’re one step closer to preparing for the labor and delivery of your baby.
Now you have someone on your side. Someone who will provide you and your partner professional labor support.
Some mothers, though, tend to not take full advantage of their doula and her services.
You’ve paid the money and signed the contract, so make sure you get the most of it.
Doula services consist of much more than just support during labor.
There are four things you should remember after you hire a doula.
1. Education and Information
One of the doula’s jobs is to provide non-biased, evidence-based information to expecting parents. She isn’t there to interject her opinion or encourage the future parents to make certain decisions.
Instead she’s there to help educate the parents so they can make the decision that’s best for them.
This includes any of the following subjects and more:
- GBS+ antibiotics
- home birth
- baby care
- postpartum depression
Any questions you have before, during, and after your baby’s birth, don’t hesitate to ask your doula.
If your doctor or midwife makes a suggestion at an appointment that leaves you feeling uncertain, ask your doula.
If you and your partner can’t seem to agree about something, talk to your doula. If you’re hearing different opinions and aren’t sure what’s truth, call your doula.
Don’t be afraid to take advantage of this aspect of your doula’s job. You’re not bothering her. That’s why you hired her!
2. Complete Labor Support
You know your doula’s job is to be at your labor, but sometimes women feel bad about disturbing their doula “too early.”
They don’t want to call at the first sign of labor because they don’t want to bother their doula with mundane details.
Do yourself and your doula a favor: CALL HER! Even if it’s Braxton-Hicks. If there are any signs such as bloody show, loss of mucus plug, back pain, etc., your doula wants to know.
You’re not bothering her. In fact, it’s a courtesy. Most likely she won’t need to come to you right away, but she can start preparing and can help give you advice and encouragement along the way.
If you wait and call on your way to the hospital, she may be at an appointment or out somewhere and may not be able to come immediately.
Things can happen quickly once you get to the hospital and having your doula there will help ensure that things go the way you want.
Of course, there are times when labor is so quick that there’s no time for the doula to reach you before you get to the hospital. Those times are rare, though.
During any labor, no matter how quick or slow it is, keep your doula informed as early as possible. That’s what you’ve hired her for.
3. Comfort Suggestions
Doulas are trained to know a plethora of ways to cope with labor. Whether that’s through positioning or visual images or massage, to name a few.
Take advantage of your doula’s knowledge, and start making preparations in advance. Feel free to ask her for some coping techniques so you can think about what might work for you during labor.
The reason the doula knows so many different techniques is because not everything works for every woman. Even something that worked for a mom in one labor may be of no help in her next labor.
During labor, if you need more help coping, take suggestions from your doula. You can always try something and if that doesn’t work, you can try something else.
And don’t worry about hurting your doula’s feelings. Her goal is to make you as comfortable as possible, so be honest and she’ll be able to help you better.
Your doula will respect what you want during labor, even if that’s laying on your back without using any positions or comfort measures.
She understands that sometimes the slightest movement during labor can be extremely hard and uncomfortable. But she is available to offer comfort suggestions, as well as positions that may progress and improve labor.
Take advantage of her knowledge.
4. Partner Help
During labor, the primary focus is on the mom and baby. But that doesn’t make the partner’s job any less difficult.
The partner may not be experiencing the physical trials of labor, but they can become exhausted none-the-less.
When labor is long, the partner usually gets just as little sleep as the mother.
Partners should feel relieved knowing the doula is there. It takes some of the pressure off of them and can allow them a break every now and then.
If they need to get food, take a restroom break, or even take a nap, they can trust that the mother is in good hands.
While the doula is not there to replace the mother’s partner, she is clearly able to better their experience. So, partners, if you need anything, whether it’s a cup of water or a break from counter pressure duty, don’t hesitate to ask your doula.
Wide Scope of Doula Services
Doulas are a great asset during pregnancy, labor & delivery, and the postpartum period. If you hire a doula, feel free to use her for all of her skills. She wants to help you in any way she can.
Doula services include much more than just someone with you while you have your baby. She is your companion at all times, whenever you need her.
She is your advocate and cheerleader, always seeking to ensure you have the best birth experience based on your desires.
When it comes to this amazing experience we call childbirth, your doula can be your best friend!