Have you been hearing the term Doula lately and wondering what it actually is? Are you curious about what a doula does or how she would play a role in your birth? In this article, we speak to Egyptian doula, Merette Ramses, founder of Your Egyptian Doula to get all the information you need about doulas and how they will help during your childbirth.
Merette is a birth doula who also teaches childbirth education and preparation classes based on Lamaze’s ® Six Healthy Birth Practices. As a birth doula, Merette supports expecting parents before and during labor to encourage and advocate for a positive birth experience.
What is a doula?
“A doula is your personal cheerleader, advocate, and labor coach all in one,” Merette explains. While doulas are not medical professionals, they act as coaches who guide parents through the entire birth process. Because a birth doula studies and trains to be an expert on everything that has to do with labor and deliveries, she can offer useful advice, possible interventions, comforting techniques that help with contraction pains, as well as methods to speed up labor. This all happens while ensuring a smooth delivery for both the mother and the baby.
What labor options are there with a doula?
“Doulas are for every type of birth, every type of mom, and every type of labor. Whether you’re having a C-section or water birth, a doula offers physical, emotional, and informational support to make the entire delivery a lot easier and more comfortable,” Merette shares.
Does having a doula affect the decision to give birth at a hospital?
As most births happen in hospitals, doulas attend hospital deliveries. However, while some doctors are very excited to work with a doula, others might not allow it. Therefore, if you want to have a doula at your birth, it is important that you discuss your wishes with your doctor and hospital early on, to ensure you are getting the support you need during your birth.
What are the major differences between having a doula and a gynecologist? Can one replace the other?
“Doulas are not medical providers; they cannot and will never replace a doctor, a gyno or even a nurse-midwife. Doulas work with doctors and other medical providers as part of the birth team,” Merette explains.
Doulas do not make any decisions on behalf of a doctor or the parent, but simply offer their support, expert advice, and try and make the birth experience as smooth as possible.
“Having a doula allows diffusing the tension between medical staff and parents and helps the parents to access the necessary information to make the best decision. This allows them to reassure the parents, relieve their stress, as well as bridge the conversation between the health providers and parents. ”
What support does a doula offer?
“The more parents know, the better they are able to make a decision that they are confident about.” Mirette shares. “A doula helps make the mother feel safe, informed, prepared, and calm during birth. This prevents a mother from freaking out and feeling more pain during labor.”
- Before labor, a doula will meet with the couple to provide childbirth education, create a birth plan, and prepare the parents to meet their newborn.
- A doula will also support the mother during labor and make her feel comfortable and confident, as well as ensure that the mother’s birth plan is being taken into consideration.
- After birth, a doula will help the mother with breastfeeding and prepare the family for postpartum.
How does one become a doula?
In order to become a doula, one must attend specialized, intensive training related to pregnancy, childbirth, labor, and delivery. Doulas also study, read books, attend seminars to become experts, and gain the skills needed to become a doula. However, there is also a practical part, requiring the attendance of a certain number of births and logging certain hours to receive a certification. If you are interested in becoming a doula, reach out to Your Egyptian Doula.
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