5 Unexpected Ways a Doula Can Provide Support

Before getting pregnant, many women aren’t aware that doulas exist. Once they start researching birth though, especially if they’re planning a medication free birth, they’re often overwhelmed with recommendations to “get a doula!” A doula can provide support to birthing women during labor but, as it turns out, they also provide a lot more. Check out the ways below that a doula can support you during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and the postpartum phase.

Image via Unsplash/ Kelly Sikkema

They can talk to you about your worries

Doulas are experts on pregnancy and birth and, while they’re not medical providers and will always recommend that you check in with your doctor or midwife about any medical concerns, they can talk you through your worries, fears, hopes, and dreams. They can also provide great tips and home remedies to help you deal with many of the uncomfortable or unpleasant side effects that come along with pregnancy. Most doulas have a ‘call me anytime’ policy that allows you to reach out during pregnancy for the support you need!

If you don't have friends or family to reach out to during your pregnancy don't underestimate the value of having someone who you can reach out to when you're needing to talk through all those pregnancy emotions, fears, and questions. 

They can help you determine when it’s time to head to the hospital or birth center

While many people claim “you’ll know!” when it’s time to head to the hospital or birth center, many first time parents worry about getting there too soon or too late. A doula can talk through what you’re experiencing to help you determine what stage of labor you’re in and provide guidance on when it’s time to leave home and head to your baby’s birthplace.

They can support you AND your partner as you labor and deliver

While doulas are very hands on and will likely be providing a lot of pain relief, comfort, and advocacy as you labor, they can also often step aside while your partner takes a turn. The goal is for you and your family to feel supported during the process, so they're willing to step in or step aside as needed. They can be right at your side when necessary or step back to allow space for family moments and snap a few pictures to help you remember the experience. While the images they snap likely won’t be birth photographer quality images, they will make sweet memories for years to come!

They can help out with a sibling

Doulas are there to provide you the exact sort of support you need and, if that includes helping support an older sibling as you birth, most are happy to do so. Choosing to have an older sibling present for birth can be exciting but overwhelming and knowing you’ve got someone on deck to help your other child understand and feel comfortable during the birth process can ease any of your worries.

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Many postpartum doulas also work with families, including any siblings, to help ease the transition of adding another family member. 

{ MORE: Study Shows Midwives Bring Many Benefits to Safer Birth Outcomes }

They can support your family in the weeks after birth

While most people imagine doulas supporting women as they labor and deliver, some of their most valuable support often comes in the days and weeks after birth. Doulas can help prepare your home for your homecoming, support you as you learn to breastfeed, help you get some much needed rest, and sometimes even provide placenta encapsulation services!

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5 Unexpected Ways a Doula Can Provide Support

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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