What is a doula and what do doulas do?
Having a baby is one of the biggest moments in the life of a parent. Doulas help make sure that you have access to trusted information. They also help you understand your options to support pregnancy. A doula has a lot of knowledge and training related to birthing. Any parent who is having a baby can use a doula.
A doula has a close relationship with a parent. They also have connections within the community. They can guide a parent to services, health providers and support groups. This may help a parent and baby have better physical and mental health before, during and after birth.
Benefits of a doula
Some doulas are trained in areas of fertility, birth, after birth and grief. They are specially trained or have lived experience that translates to the care they offer.
During labor, a doula might help you with breathing, give you massages and provide other support. They usually stay with a parent and baby until a couple of hours after birth. You and your doula will likely create a birth plan before your baby is born, so you’ll have a general idea of what to expect.
How is a doula different from a midwife?
A doula is different from a midwife because a midwife gives you medical care to deliver your baby. A doula prepares you for birth. A doula does not offer medical care. They do give emotional, mental and cultural support during labor and delivery. They can also help you breastfeed your baby.
You may have both a doula and a midwife for your pregnancy.
Standards for doula care
Doulas must follow rules set by a group that certifies them. Not all states mandate standards for doulas to be included on a doula registry. Some states require that a doula must be 18 years old, have CPR training, pass a criminal background check and more.
It is a good idea to interview a doula before you begin working with one. You can check to see if they are a good fit for your personality and situation. There are in-person and virtual care doula options, as well as postpartum-only doula services.