“Doulas provide emotional, informational, and physical support during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period.” This line is often what doulas use to describe what we do. The response to this is often eye blinking followed by, “Sure… now, what exactly does that mean?”
The truth is, doulas do lots of different things. Every client’s needs are unique, and doula support is not a one size fits all. We’ve put together a list of things that doulas actually do based on our experiences with clients:
- answers texts (often accompanied by an image) about the snot-like substance you found when you wiped
- answers the phone at 3:00am when you aren’t sure if you peed yourself or if your water broke
- gives a mini lesson on why some people poop during pushing, and reassures them that this is a great sign
- refers you to the best chiropractors, massage therapists, pediatricians, etc.
- helps you figure out if this is real labor, and if it’s not- how to rest during prodormal labor
- drops everything to come to you when it is real labor and you’re ready for more support
- makes suggestions for laboring positions to help make you more comfortable
- squeezes your hips or provides counter pressure for the duration of every contraction
- reassures you that ________ is normal and is a great sign
- quietly makes suggestions to your partner to help support you
- massages you to help you relax and rest between contractions
- holds the emesis bag if you need to vomit
- helps to open a dialogue with care providers
- translates medical terminology to help make sure you understand your options
- listens for the change in your sounds as labor progresses
- helps you get comfortable with baby after birth
- assists with first feeding
- answers any questions about immediate postpartum or newborn care
- sees you soon after you’re home to process your birth, answer questions, etc.
This is just a short list of the work that doulas do. Every birth is different, and our support is always personalized to your specific needs and desires.
Did any of the things on the list surprise you? If you’ve had a doula before, what are some of the things you remember them doing for you?