Labor Doulas provide on-going emotional and physical support through the entire process of labor. Why necessary? Because in the hospital setting many couples labor for most of the time alone. While the nurses on staff would like to provide labor support, they often have little time to spend individually with a couple. The nurse’s role is to monitor the progress of the labor so she comes in and out of the labor room checking on the progress. A birth assistant’s role is to fill the gap in human support in the hospital setting for the couple by staying with them through the entire length of labor. Studies have shown that a doula’s presence can actually reduce the length of labor, lessen the mother’s chance at having a caesarean section as well as lessen the need other medicines or interventions.
Our Labor Doulas are trained by means of DONA (Doulas of North America), and ALACE (Associates of Labor and Childbirth Education).
Our labor doulas provide on-going emotional and physical support for both mother and partner through the entire length of labor. Contact is made up to 5 months in advance. When a family has met with a doula and committed to working with her, she will be available by phone. She may make more than one home visit (if necessary) prior to labor. The client may call the doula as she goes to her doctor visits or as questions or concerns arise during her pregnancy. Once labor begins, the doula may attend to her at home or meet the couple at the hospital. At the hospital, the doula will provide continuous guidance and practical suggestions on how to manage pain, help the couple understand what is happening during the different stages of labor and how best to manage it.
The labor support doula can help the mother understand the options she may have as to pain medications. If a mother wants a completely non-medicated birth, the doula will help her achieve that through various strategies for managing the contractions. If the laboring mom wants medication the doula will help her to understand the options and the mom will receive what she needs. MothersCare doulas do not interfere with the hospital staff. A MothersCare Labor Doula does not challenge any medical decisions the doctor makes but rather helps the couple understand any information given, as well as the choices they may have (if any) in any given situation. Our doulas do not have an “agenda” for your birth. We will help you to have the birth you want (if possible!) but in any case to have a positive birth experience.
The doula does not take the place of the spouse but helps the partner participate at his comfort level. Some partners want to be the primary support person and the doula will provide ways that he can help support the mom with comfort techniques to lessen discomfort. The doula will provide encouragement for them both.
For other partners, the stress of the hospital setting and the laboring event can be overwhelming. In that situation, the partner decides how much he can participate and the doula will pick up where he leaves off. The support of a doula allows the spouse some respite if it is a long labor. He can get a bite to eat or a cup of coffee without feeling he’s leaving his partner alone. Having a doula allows everyone to get the support they need to have a positive birth experience.
A labor doula stays the entire length of labor. If the labor is quick and takes a few hours or if the labor is lengthy, the doula stays until the mother is comfortable in her recovery room. The doula can help a mom to get off to a good start with breastfeeding by teaching her how to latch her baby on correctly as soon as possible after delivery. Giving the baby the opportunity to nurse soon after birth helps the baby and mom get off to a good start in the hospital and helps prevent problems with breastfeeding once mom and baby are at home.
When the mom and partner feel happy and comfortable, the doula leaves them and will see them again later for a postpartum visit. During this visit she will go over the birth with them, sharing notes she has taken, helping to leave the birth experience as a positive memory for the couple that will last a lifetime. She will also bring any pictures that she may have taken during the labor process.