doula guide to birth

The Doula Guide to Birth

Every birth is unique. But childbirth for everyone is a transformative experience. No matter how your birth unfolds, it will be an event that stays with you for a lifetime. Pregnancy and birth have the power to change you, to show you hidden strengths and love deeper than you ever thought imaginable. That’s why having a doula there by your side is such a wonderful investment. Doulas lower the rate of unnecessary intervention at births, leading to better health outcomes for moms and babies. And parents who work with a doula report higher satisfaction on their birthing day. So, how do doulas help parents have better birth experiences? Let’s explore the doula guide to birth to find out. 

An attitude of calm and trust

Doulas trust that birth works. They believe in birther’s bodies and aim to create an environment that supports the body to do its own thing well. This starts with a calm, trusting attitude that’s truly contagious. Doulas remind parents that the primary hormone involved in labor is oxytocin, the love hormone. Oxytocin floods the body when we hug or kiss a loved one, but it’s also the hormone responsible for contracting the uterus. When you call your doula when you might be in labor, or look to her when your contractions are getting intense, her contagious calm makes you feel more at ease. And when she turns the lights down, turns on your favorite labor playlist and silently offers you a sip of coconut water, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief. Doulas know that a relaxed state of mind is not just a nice perk, it’s an essential ingredient for a smooth birth. 

Optimal fetal positioning 

No guide to birth would be complete without discussing optimal fetal positioning. Human babies are designed to be born head first, with the back of their head facing the front of their mother’s body. When you hire a doula in pregnancy, one of her main jobs is to help you understand important posture tips and gentle exercises to guide your baby into an optimal position. When babies are head down with their chins tucked, they come down into the birth canal with less force – meaning less contractions for you! Also babies in an optimal position are able to more easily perform the cardinal movements of labor, helping them do their part of the birth process. If your labor stalls or your contraction pattern looks unusual, it’s often a sign that your baby is not in an ideal position. Your doula is trained to help you get into labor positions that help to bring your body and your baby back into balance, shortening your overall labor or reducing the need for medical intervention. 

Encyclopedia of knowledge 

Want your own personal guide to birth? Hire a doula! Professional doulas are living, breathing encyclopedias of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. They know all the best tips for easing pregnancy discomfort, making birth easier, and heaving a more peaceful postpartum experience. Heartburn keeping you awake in pregnancy? Text your doula. Think you’re losing your mucous plug? Call your doula. Need help getting your newborn to sleep? Ask your postpartum doula. As you build a relationship with your doula over the weeks and months leading up to birth, her advice becomes even better tailored to your personal style and values. In pregnancy, doulas walk you through your options in creating a birth plan and help you figure out what kind of birth experience you want to have. At the birth, doulas remind you of your options and help you weigh the benefits and risks of different medical interventions. When it comes to non-medical comfort measures, doulas have tons of options up their sleeve to help make you more comfortable during the different stages of labor. 

Healing hands

Bringing it all together, where doulas really shine is their physical touch. After they teach you all about birth and arrive radiating calm, their physical touch in labor is a godsend. Doulas are trained in basic massage, acupressure, and other labor comfort measures like hip squeezes and counterpressure. Need pressure on your sacrum to get through every contraction? Your doula has got your back, literally. And she’s not stealing the spotlight – as you focus, eyes-closed during each contraction, you can be sure she’s whispering tips and guiding your partner to best support you, too. Doulas are not just their for the birthers, they’re there for partners and the whole family. Your doula will help remind you to drink and eat during early labor, and she’ll remind your partner to keep his strength up, too. In a world when medical obstetric care is high-tech and low-touch, a doula’s warm touch provides an essential missing ingredient. 

Doulas make birth better

Becoming a parent without a doula is like hiking a big mountain without a guide. It’s possible, but it’s surely more relaxing and enjoyable with one by your side. Doulas help parents sift through an immense amount of conflicting advice and find that path that’s right for them. They provide unwavering calm, healing touch, and essential tips on keeping mom, partner, and baby comfortable during pregnancy and birth. They’re a walking guide to birth, your personal expert on all things birth and baby. Doulas bring together the knowledge, skills, and attitude that help make birth better for parents. When you work with a doula, no matter how your birth unfolds, you’ll look back on a transformative day with a calm, loving presence by you and your partner’s side.