Pregnancy can be an exciting but scary time. With so many questions on how to give birth - natural, hospital, home birth, etc. Doula's help us make that journey easier and help you stick to your birth plan. So today, we're going to dive in to what does it really mean to be a doula and how does that help you. For that we have Samantha Lee Wright who's on this podcast and she was really great in uncovering more about what to expect in working with doula's and gave some great tips on misconceptions that we might have as well about giving birth.
Sam. Samantha is from Wilmington, NC. She moved from place to place such as Chicago, New York and further west where she randomly landed at Boone, North Carolina.
She also loves being a childbirth educator - she gets to talk and teach parents about childbirth and what's to come.
She's also an entrepreneur and just this past year, she founded a doula agency which is known as the High Country Doula which she consider as a great adventure.
Sam cannot imagine any scenario, no matter what the clients would go through, where a doula won't be a good fit. She believes that a doula can benefit every person. Even the most experienced moms deserve someone who's unbiased towards what she wants, someone who's there to serve her 100%, or simply someone to make her experience better.
Someone who can be there that is not attached emotionally, but steps back and just witness and do whatever is in their power to make that experience the best it can be.
Natural childbirth vs Doula. Due to the culture where doula sprung from, a lot of people had a misconception that doula is similar to natural childbirth.
Doula is for everyone. Whatever a doula's personal choice is for childbirth, or personal birth philosophy might be, has no bearing on the type of support that they give their clients. A doula is a person who steps in and say "I'm here to listen to you. You're the one making these decisions and I wanna support you on whatever you think is best for yourself, for your body, for your birth."In a world where parents are inundated with people telling them what to do. A doula can come in and just say, "Hey, honey, I'm here for you. What do you want?"
Doula's work with a lot of clients. Majority of their clients are looking to achieve an unmedicated birth. They also are excited to assist parents who might not know what they want yet, they kind of want to wait and see, or they already know what they want, whether a planned epidural or a C-section.
High Country Doula. Clients can simply call them over the phone so doula's get to know them and understand how they can best help them with their journey.
They then set a complimentary consultation, so clients get to know the doula's too.
If customers want to move forward, then they have a more in-depth consultation. Clients let the doula know of their birth wishes, answer all of their questions, tips on how to deal with early labor, or how to recognize the signs, when to call, etc.On the big day, doula's wait for a call. They provide though a lot of phone support during early labor or early phase where the clients are in labor but not really that intense. This would be the period where the couples could honker down and enjoy the last moments together before the baby comes into their lives.
Doula's get to their clients home occassionally, help them labor at home and help them figure out as to when is the good time to go to the hospital. Or they meet them at the hospital when they're more close to active labor. Doula's don't leave during that process unless they need them to grab food, relay a message to the nurses, or something like that.
Doula's are there by their side the entire journey - help them during the entire experience; helping their partners get involved, getting the family involved, helping the clients get the experience that they want as much as possible which is really a big difference as to what doula's do versus nurses or widwives.
Natural childbirth. Achieving natural childbirth requires a lot of things where some maybe are within your control, but some are not. You cannot control how your birth is going to progress, the baby's position, and things as such.
First and foremost, Samantha explains to the clients that birth has its own authority. There's so much that you can control but there's also these things that you can't. Given this, they always look for ways to help parents let go of that guilt aspect that can happen so easily if their plans were to go natural and things won't go the way they planned.
One biggest tip for natural childbirth is sleep as much as you can during early labor. The number one killer for the goals of the client to go for natural childbirth is not pain threshold, not intensity of contractions, but simply sleep deprivation. If clients do have a really long early labor and didn't get any rest or adequate sleep, that's the biggest killer for their plan as they get so exhausted.
For an average first time mom, when you realize that you're in labor to when that baby's born, you're looking at an average of 18 hours, which is a really long time, added to that is this childbirth which is a very physical process. So Sam always remind her students and clients to not forget to sleep as much as they can in early labor.
Another factor is the attitude. Doula's can help bring a positive attitude. If clients have been in the hospital for at least 24 hours and they haven't called their doula's yet, once the doula walks in, there are times where they sense the clients are in a very negative place or mindset. Something might have happened in the hospital, something medical that freaked them out, etc where one of the best gifts doula's can give to a woman is this super positive attitude. They connect with the client emotionally, they tell her that she's doing great, and help her get back to a really positive mindset. With that, the whole childbirth experience change.
Another misconception is the persona a dad often portrays. Going back to what we see on the screen, they are often portrayed as a mumbling idiot, verbally abused by his wife, etc; however out of the dozens and dozens of family that Sam helped labor, she has never seen that. She's only seen husbands who's been so caring and so intuitive which seems like birth just brings out the best in everyone.
Looking for a doula?
2. Word of mouth. Moms would want to be all over you. They would want to give you a lot of advise. Simply ask if they know any doula.
3. Care provider for referals.
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
- Ina May Gaskin
- Ina May Gaskin
By Judith Lothian - The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence (2005-10-19) [Paperback]
- Judith Lothian and Charlotte DeVries
How to learn more about Samantha