In this week’s Baby Matters we looked into the role of a doula during labor. We spoke to one local doula about what they do and why so many expectant moms choose to hire one. “A doula is a trained birth professional who provides continuous support to women throughout their entire labor process,” said Jenny Thompson. Thompson is a doula and co-manager at MotherBirth. She’s served Acadiana as a doula for almost 11 years by providing physical, informational and emotional support to moms in labor, “Stuff like making the birth environment really calm and homey and providing pressure like on their pelvis or on their back to kind of help them deal with their pain.”
Thompson explained the percentage rate of having a cesarean section or even receiving an epidural decreases when an expectant mom has a doula, “We’re giving them evidence based information that they can use to go talk to their care provider. We help them provided everything is normal and low risk, we encourage them to have labor start on its own, to have them move around in labor because if they’re moving around in labor that means baby can move around in labor. We help them during the labor process and decreasing their pain. When we are decreasing their perception of pain, we’re actually increasing the oxytocin in their body which makes the contractions more effective.” At MotherBirth, Thompson said they have doulas that specialize in different types of births, “If a mother is seeking a vaginal birth after cesarean, we have certified doulas for that. We have some moms that are certified in rebozo which is a type of life physical support that moms really love in labor. We also have a still birth day doula so moms who are experiencing a loss we have doulas that can attend those moms as well.”
Thompson said people often believe doulas and midwives are the same, “We are not medical providers. We are not medical staff. We don’t do anything clinical which means we don’t check mom’s blood pressure, we don’t check baby’s heart tones, and we don’t do different types of exams that moms would get during labor from their midwives or from their doctor or from medical staff.” Their goal at the end of the day is to make sure moms have a memorable birth and are comfortable as possible, “We like to kind of hover in the background. We’re squeezing our moms hips helping her and maybe telling dad or grandma like why don’t you go get a cold rag and come put it on her or why don’t you try this and then the mom remembers oh he was so great. He just knew exactly what I needed.”
Doulas at MotherBirth service clients here in Acadiana and Lake Charles. They have classes that moms and dads can attend to learn more about doulas. For more information, head to motherbirth.com.