Value and Purpose of Labor Support
By Cami Nettekoven
There are numerous benefits of a Birth Doula. Studies have shown that having a Doula may greatly reduce the percentages of medical intervention. The relationship between Doula and the family is one of respect and comfort. The relationship starts during pregnancy, where the trust is formed. Information is gathered, education is obtained during these early meetings. During labor the Doula is an advocate or liaison for the family. The purpose of the Doula is to support the woman’s ability to give birth.
The Doula is available to educate the family so they may explore their options for their birth experience. This may be in the form of finding the appropriate childbirth class, learning techniques, writing a birth plan, or many other things. Every woman needs and deserves individualized care based on their circumstances and preferences. The Doula respects the desires and decisions of the family by being trustworthy, available, consistent, ethical and honest. It is important to allow the family to express concerns and expectations without judgment. She may expel myths with providing accurate, non-biased information. The information is to empower the family, strengthening them in their awareness and rights. Sometimes assistance is needed in providing questions to ask of the care provider.
A Doula supplies the knowledge of laboring techniques to accommodate the mother. These techniques can speed the length of labor and reduce the rate of medical intervention procedures. The techniques include: laboring and birthing positions, non-medical pain reduction methods, massage, aromatherapy, relaxation and focusing techniques along with emotional comfort and support.
The Doula acknowledges birth as a sacred moment that belongs to the family. She provides continuous support through labor and early post partum. She is the advocate for the family, equipping them with the tools they need to succeed in a joyous birth experience. She respects the privacy of the family. She in no way replaces the father or birth partner’s role, but enhances it. By making suggestions in comfort techniques, and allowing the partner to take a break. Many fathers and partners are eager to help in the support of the mother; however some may need a little guidance. The father’s presence and commitment of love and support is invaluable to the mother. A Doula’s knowledge can help a father or partner to relax and enjoy the experience more fully. The Doula compliments the birth process, by working along side with the family and care providers. A Doula seeks to protect a positive and memorable birthing experience for the entire family. It is most important that the family can be comfortable with the Doula of choice. They should feel free to discuss their fears, hopes, and desires with the Doula.
Doulas do not provide the mother with any clinical care, so they do not replace the doctor or midwife. A Doula’s expertise is in the physiology of labor and birthing by providing comfort measures to the mother. Doula’s have proven to make a favorable impact on the childbirth experience.
Having a Doula accessible after delivery is also beneficial. She may help the family to process the birthing experience. She will facilitate bonding with the baby, as well as initiating breastfeeding. Many breastfeeding moms need a little assistance in getting the baby latched on for the first time. Some gentle suggestions from the Doula can help get breastfeeding get off to a wonderful start.
A Doula strengthens the mother’s ability to birth in a way that stimulates her natural power within. It is important to give the mother confidence in herself and her body. By having a Doula it can help the family get off to a very good start.
About the Author
Cami Nettekoven: Is a trained and certified birth Doula through DONA International. She works in the Greater Kansas City Metro area for home, hospital or birth center births. She is also trained by the Kansas City Missouri Health Department as a Breastfeeding Counselor with Nutritional Services. Cami has 6 children and has 9 years of personal breastfeeding experience. All of her pregnancies have been high-risk, with pre-term labor and delivery, gestational diabetes, and a baby with abnormalities. It is her privilege as a Doula is to help families understand the nature of the birth process and to empower them with the tools to make pregnancy, childbirth, and their life beyond an experience of fulfillment and joy. Her web site is www.kansascitydoula.com.
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