Sara and her husband, Michael, moved to Texas in early 2013 and shortly thereafter became pregnant. Their previous pregnancy and birth had been in another state. They had a midwife and 2 doulas (I jokingly refer to a doula duo as a doulo). With this pregnancy, Sara had been under the care of a group of midwives that were far from her. The group was large and she never saw the same midwife twice. She began to feel uneasy with the idea of not knowing who would attend her birth and with some of the care she was receiving. Sara’s mother in law suggested she hire a doula for this birth to help ease her mind and so that she would have a familiar face at her birth, someone she was comfortable with. Sara desired a natural birth. She agreed with her mother in law that she would need someone she knew and trusted to be at her birth in case she didn’t know the midwife in attendance. A familiar face she trusted and built a relationship with would help ensure the natural birth she desired in the midst of a possibly stressful situation. They began their search for a doula, but weren’t having much luck because there are no doulas in their area. After much searching and referrals from other doulas, they were referred to me. We met and had an immediate connection. Sara told me about the stress her current provider situation had created. We discussed alternatives and the fact that she had the option of switching care providers at any point during her pregnancy. Sara decided to switch providers and found a midwife she was comfortable with, whom she saw at each visit, and who would be able to attend her birth.
This is the birth story of Presley Jane written by her mom, Sara:
I had a completely natural hospital birth planned (no IV, no pain meds, etc.). I was expecting Presley to make an early arrival like her sister ( who came at 38 weeks ) but she decided to come 3 days after her due date. On the night of January 19th, just after getting to bed, I started to have some contractions. At first I didn’t even bother to time them because I was almost sure it was a false alarm (I had literally given up hope that she was ever going to come, haha!) They seemed pretty consistent, but nothing I had not experienced before so I tried to sleep through them. I did not get any rest that night. Morning came and I told my husband to go to work because I was still in denial. He refused to go in and at the urging of my mother in law, he finally called Lourdes. She assured me that I was indeed in labor and came to my house to help us through the active labor phase. By the time she arrived, my contractions were getting closer and harder. She told me to bounce on the labor ball which helped tremendously. We did lunges, dance moves to help the baby get into position, some curb walking, and a few other exercises. Having her presence there was calming. At some point, she recommended that I eat breakfast, then it would probably be time to head to the hospital. She was right! When it was time to go to the hospital, my husband got my things together while Lourdes helped me get through contractions that were getting more intense. We made the hour long drive to to the hospital. When we arrived at the hospital, I was 8 cm dilated. My midwife let me labor with intermittent monitoring and no IV, like I wanted. She and Lourdes remained with me throughout my labor. With the help of Lourdes, my husband, and my wonderful midwife, Melissa White, I was able to get through the hardest part of labor when I felt like giving up. Sure enough, Presley was born that afternoon with no complications and I had the birth that I planned for. I was so thankful to have the help of my birth team!
What is a doula?
A doula is a trained and experienced professional who builds relationships with expectant families to help them have a positive birth and postpartum experience. Doulas can specialize in birth, postpartum, or both.
Labor or birth doulas provide education and information in the prenatal period. Whether famlies choose to birth in a hospital, birth center, or at home, your doula can help facilitate conversations between The birthing person and their care provider. Doulas provide non-judgemental support for the family’s birth choices and support the family through their labor, birth, and the postpartum period.
A post partum doula works with the families needs to ensure that they are able to care for and enjoy their new baby. They educate the family in areas such as care of the newborn, caring for the new mother, breastfeeding, and more.
Benefits of having a doula
This information is shared from the DONA website.
Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth
- tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
- reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
- reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction and cesareans
- reduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals
Research shows parents who receive support can:
- Feel more secure and cared for
- Are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
- Have greater success with breastfeeding
- Have greater self-confidence
- Have less postpartum depression
- Have lower incidence of abuse
The word DOULA is derived from an ancient Greek word meaning woman’s servant. It is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during, and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier, and they breastfeed more easily.
The journey through pregnancy and childbirth, then in to motherhood, is a joyous one that can be filled with emotions and questions. Your doula is there to educate you along the way and to provide the support you need during this special time in your life. As a doula, I provide families in the Houston area with the nurturing and support they need throughout their pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period through a variety of services including childbirth classes and labor support. Feel free to contact me with any questions you have regarding the role of a doula and the services I offer.