Continuous Labor Support
What is a doula? Do I need one? Can my husband, partner, family member, or friend be the support that I need?
The word ‘doula’ comes from the Greek language, and it means “woman who helps women”. A birth doula is a professionally certified birth support professional who supports laboring woman by using encouragement, listening, safe touch, understanding of and experience with the birth process, as well as emotional support and information that can help you and your family make decisions and advocate for yourselves. The baby’s father, a family member, or a friend can certainly provide labor support. Your loved ones and your Doula work together to comfort and encourage you.
A medical study on birth support was done in over 16 countries, with over 15,000 women in a wide range of settings & circumstances, involving 23 trials, and it has shown that all women benefit from continuous support throughout childbirth.
What is continuous labor support?
Continuous birth support is any designated person who is there solely for the mother’s emotional support, encouragement, and physical (non-medical) needs to help her cope. A continuous support person is there only for the mother’s needs and stays throughout the entire birth process. Studies on birth support have used 3 different kinds of support: hospital staff (such as nurses or midwives), companions of the woman’s choice, and women who were neither hospital employees or had any personal relationship with the laboring woman. It turned out that support from a person who was not hospital staff and who was not from the laboring woman’s social circle showed the most benefit. This may be because the mother knows the support person is only there for her and she will not be judged on how she handles the process.
The doula does not replace the father or other support persons.
The birthing doula’s job is to help your support team help you. The certification process they go through provides them with information and options that they pass onto you and your support team. The doula can show the father how to do a low-back squeeze, how to guide the Mother’s breathing, how to provide encouragement, and so much more. She helps your partner help you. A doula has the information you need to help you make crucial decisions if / when you need to, and she knows where to find more information. The best part of having a doula is that she is there just for you.
What can a doula do that a family member or friend can’t do?
Doulas have previous birth experiences with all kinds of different people in all kinds of different scenarios. She can not give you the intimate love that someone who knows you deeply can, but she also doesn’t know anything about you, other than your pregnancy and birth experience, so she is fully immersed in your needs for your birth. A doula believes in your ability to give birth, she helps you achieve your birth goals, and she only wants to do what is best for you and your family, whatever that might be. She is also there to give your other support persons a break when they need it. It’s her job to stay by your side throughout the entire process.
How do I hire a doula?
Hiring a birth support person is a lot like choosing a baby-sitter, it should be someone you feel comfortable trusting and that you feel you can get along with. Birth is a very intimate experience so your doula should make you feel comfortable. You should trust your doula’s professional credentials and feel secure that she wont pressure you to make any decision you don’t want to, but instead will provide you with information so you can make decisions for yourself.
You can inquire about the doula services offered by Open To Birth by visiting the contact page and sending your information and questions. You will receive a response as soon as possible.
Open To Birth’s Doula Services:
I’m Kimberly Ambrose, CD (DONA); RMP. I’ve been a Doula for 8 years, certified by DONA International, and a Massage Therapist for 6 years. I’ve worked with many different families in the Baltimore area, all with different needs, as well as with the Doula Touch Program at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. I am on-call to you from the time we agree to work together until 2 weeks postpartum. My philosophy is that everyone’s journey is different so I support each Mama as an individual and any kind of birth experience as needed, in other words – I go with the flow. I am honored to be apart of your child’s birth and your journey to parenthood.
$800 Doula Service Includes:
- A prenatal meeting.
- Phone and email consultation whenever you need it.
- Assistance putting together your birth plan.
- Your doula is on-call for your birth consistently from the time you agree to work together until after you are in the postpartum stage and your primary caregiver has declared you to be in stable health.
- The guarantee that your doula will be present throughout your birth.
- A back-up doula will be on-call to you in case your doula has a medical or family emergency and can not attend your birth.
- A postpartum meeting.
Doula Support provides you and your family with:
- Professional support throughout your labor and delivery
- Information and resources
- An experienced perspective
- Continuous personal care and attention
- Support that is on-call for you 24/7
- Information and assistance for your loved ones to better support you
For a copy of the Birth Doula’s Standards of Practice go to: www.dona.org.