World Doula Week: What a doula can do for you that a medical professional can’t

by Natalie McBride

World Doula Week: What a doula can do for you that a medical professional can’t

Here at Baby Boldly, we’re sharing in the celebration of “World Doula Week”. According to the event’s official website, “the purpose of World Doula Week (WDW) is to empower doulas all over the world to improve the physiological, social, emotional, and psychological health of women, newborns and families in birth and in the postpartum period.” That’s something we believe we can all support and is worth celebrating.

While doulas have been supporting women before, during and after childbirth for centuries, to this day they continue to prove time and time again how their involvement in birth lowers the need for unnecessary medical intervention. Additionally, a mother’s success with breastfeeding her newborn is exponentially higher when she enlists the support of a doula.

Doulas provide a continuum of care to mothers

While no official medical training is required to become a doula, rigorous certification is and can be obtained through one of three legitimate programs, namely: DONA, CAPPA, and Childbirth International. Doulas can specialize in birth or postpartum or provide support in both parts of a mother’s journey into motherhood. They provide something not many other professionals or family members can – a continuum of care for the mother. Doulas advocate for the comfort and wellbeing of the mother before and throughout labor, suggesting positioning to ease her discomfort while providing steadfast encouragement. After the baby is born, doulas can continue to care for the mother so the mother can care for her baby. Some postpartum doulas, in addition to helping establish a solid breastfeeding relationship between mother and newborn, will run errands, maintain the home and even cook for the new family while they adjust to their growing family.

Who will mother the mother?

While I did not have a doula, I wish I had because this type of support would have been invaluable to me. The calling of a doula isn’t easy or glamorous, it’s messy and selfless. That’s the kind of person any mom can benefit from and would improve our first year outcomes. There is so much pressure on moms following childbirth, regardless of their birth experience or whether they’re rushing back to work or staying home. Doulas can ease the transition and displace the burden, allowing the mom to rest and establish a connection with her new baby. If there’s any initial challenges with breastfeeding or psychological disorders such as postpartum depression and anxiety or psychosis, the postpartum doula can identify the symptoms and direct the mother to professional help if necessary.

It’s okay for you to ask yourself and challenge others to ask and answer the question: “Who will mother the mother?” Perhaps you have family nearby, or someone who is willing to be selfless and messy with you, but if you don’t, there’s a doula who will. If you’re looking for a match, consider these resources.

If you’re pregnant and considering your birth style options, we hope you’ll join us on our journey together by signing up for our weekly emailed blog. When you do, you’ll receive access to three helpful downloads, immediately. One of them provides you with a comprehensive list of birth style options, including doulas. The journey is better when it’s shared – will you join us? #babyboldly

Today’s Bold Momma

Natalie is co-founder of Baby Boldly, wife to James and mom to Abigail (4 years) and Mabel (1 year). Her passion (alongside pizza and chocolate) is with new moms and dads, striving to empower them for improved birth and postpartum experiences and changing the way society relates to new moms’ and dads’ unique needs.

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