When you're researching pregnancy, you'll likely come across a forum or a friend that says, "You totally need to hire a doula!" Awesome!! I'll get right on that... wait... what the heck is a doula..? Like... a midwife? No... not quite. Midwives and doulas often work very closely together to support physioligical birth, but have very different roles. Midwives are clinical care providers and birth experts. They are healthcare providers who guide the mother in healthcare choices and decisions, making diagnoses, and navigating care plans. They provide clinical care such as blood work, health assessments, baby catching, etc. Doulas, however, provide education and information prenatally to prepare the family for the experience of birth. During labor, a doula provides informational, emotional, and physical support. What the heck does that mean? Informational Support - The doula can direct the birthing person to information that can give her a sense of background knowledge on a topic so that she knows which questions to ask the OB or Midwife. Emotional - Labor is emotionally strenuous for a variety of reasons. Your doula will be by your side, even when clinical care providers can't be, offering encouragement, reminders to trust your body, and reminders to trust your instinct. Your doula will be in your corner no matter what choices and decisions you make during labor. She is there to remind you of your voice, your power, and your strength. Physical - Labor is hard work. It is physical. Your doula will be able to help you into laboring positions, suggest position changes, offer massage, acupressure, etc. Better yet, she can show your partner how to provide this physical support for you as labor is often uncharted territory. But my partner wants to be my support. Why should we hire a stranger?
Your partner is still your primary support person and a good doula will only enhance this experience, not impede it. A good doula will help BOTH of you prepare for baby's birth day. When game time comes, an inexperienced partner may become nervous and unsure of what's "normal". The doula can be a sounding board of support for the birth partner. She can show dad how to do counter pressure. She can go for a coffee run for everyone. She can take photos with your cell phone. And she can be an overall calming presence. If your doula has helped you prepare for labor, I promise you, that by the time you get to D-Day (Delivery Day!) you will not feel like your doula is a stranger in the room.
Jaimie Zaki, owner of Little Bear Services, LLC is a Birth Photographer, Labor Doula, and IBCLC serving families in South Jersey and Central Jersey. Jaimie enthusiastically supports hospital births and home births in Burlington County, Camden County, Mercer County, Atlantic County, and Ocean County. If you reside outside of this service area, reach out! Jaimie may still be available to serve your family!
Learn more about Jaimie and the services she offers now!