Is it Worth Having a Doula?

The demands of the third trimester of your pregnancy and the transition of a growing family come with many challenges. Caring for your first (or even fourth) newborn requires a substantial lifestyle change and a lot of new experiences until everyone adjusts to your new family size. If you're seeking extra support during this time, you may be considering the services of a doula. Before making such a decision, many new moms wonder, "Exactly what does a doula do?"

Doulas provide physical and emotional support to birthing parents during labor and birth. They have varied roles to assist mothers in ways that align with their needs. If you're considering hiring a doula but are unsure about the advantages it brings, consider this your guide. Discover how a doula from 4th Down can transform your journey into motherhood and provide the support you need every step of the way.

pregnant woman on yoga ball being held by a caretaker

What Is a Doula and What Is Their Role?

A doula is a professional trained in childbirth. They're separate from your medical team and act as an advocate and a source of support before, during, and after childbirth.

So, what does a doula do?

Doulas aren't medically trained. They typically undergo a training and certification process to learn more about making mothers comfortable during and after the delivery. Birth doulas are often referred to as labor support companions. However, there are also antepartum and postpartum doulas to assist with different parts of the transition. Doulas answer questions before the baby is born. They help mothers develop a birthing plan and provide constant support during the birthing process by sharing pain relief techniques, offering reassurance, and encouraging participation from your partner. Postpartum doulas help you and your family adjust to the responsibilities of caring for your new baby.

What Are the Benefits of Having a Doula?

Depending on your situation, you may seek to interact with a doula before, during, or after childbirth. They provide several benefits for new moms.

A Positive Birth Experience

During delivery, doulas stay close to the mother. They assist with natural pain relief techniques, provide reassurance, and encourage participation from your partner. While they aren't a part of the medical team, a doula acts as an advocate to help you fulfill your desires for the birth experience. Studies show that these efforts yield positive effects like decreased requests for oxytocin and epidurals. Other studies show that having a doula on your birth team reduces the cesarean rate by 50%.

Stress Reduction

Doulas aren't medical professionals, but they have substantial knowledge in the areas of pregnancy and childbirth. This education enables doulas to help reduce stress in several ways. Your doula can provide information about the birthing process to help diminish stress and help you choose a birth plan. They can also provide support as you navigate challenges postpartum. Birth doulas provide constant support during labor and birth. They can help remove coaching stress and free up the father to experience the delivery from a different perspective.

Informational Support

Antepartum doulas provide support to mothers during the final months of the pregnancy. This is especially helpful during high-risk pregnancies, where many questions arise. They offer both physical and emotional support during what can be a stressful time.

Support After the Birth

The first few weeks with a newborn can be overwhelming. Integrating the care of your new baby with typical household chores like taking care of older children, cooking meals, and cleaning requires substantial adjustments. Postpartum doulas provide support in the first weeks after birth. This may include cleaning, cooking, or providing care for your newborn. Some doulas also offer overnight child support. What's more, is that doulas provide support to the mother as well, helping them overcome the stress of being a new parent and providing support during the hormonal changes that come postpartum.

Fourth Down: A Cleveland-Based Doula Service

The benefits of having a doula are designed to align with your unique needs. Having a strong local support system during pregnancy and during the first months after welcoming a new baby can help you have a joyful and transformative experience. Fourth Down’s mission is to connect families with the right people to prepare and support them through this exciting time. Get in touch to learn more about the benefits of having the support of a doula.

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