Expecting a baby? Doulas supports your comfort, safety and health
YesYou are having a baby – fantastic! Your pregnancy is one of the most important times in your life, and you’ll need all the help you can get to make sure the experience is as healthy and rewarding as possible.
A doula can help. Doulas are trained maternal health professionals who serve as pregnancy coaches before, during and after childbirth.
A doula or a midwife?
Doulas are sometimes confused with midwives, but there are some major differences. Certified nurse midwives have extensive medical training. They provide clinical care to parents and babies before, during and after labor and delivery. Midwives can provide primary health care services to women from adolescence through menopause.
Doulas, on the other hand, are non-medical professionals who focus on the needs of pregnant parents and help them have safe and memorable pregnancies.
How a doula can help you
A doula focuses on your needs, accompanying your friends, family, and anyone else who can support you. Your doula can give you more experienced assistance than a spouse or partner can offer.
A doula tailors her services to your needs and the needs of your family. A doula can provide emotional support; share the latest information on pregnancy, labor, delivery, breastfeeding and personal care; and mentor you and your family to care for a newborn baby. A doula can also help you get the services you need, such as prenatal and postpartum appointments with your health care provider.
Benefits of doula services
Working with a doula can help you in several ways depending on what you want and need.
Support, encouragement, relief
Doulas can provide the help that once came from extended families who surrounded and supported pregnant family members.
For example, a doula can tell you what to expect during your pregnancy and help you plan for your birth. The doula can give you advice on how to follow your provider’s instructions. During labor, a doula can be there to massage your body, help you breathe, and emotionally reassure and encourage you.
ASometimes it can be difficult to speak with your supplier about your questions and concerns. Doulas have experience with mothersduring pregnancy, and your doula will get to know you and your unique situation. Your doula can give you advice and help you communicate clearly with your provider.
If you want a more natural birth, your doula can help you avoid unwanted procedures. If you have a history of trauma or are afraid of giving birth, a doula can accompany you and offer support without judgment or bias.
Studies show that supporting a doula is often associated with decreased use of pain relievers during labor, reduced incidence of cesarean sections, decreased duration of labor, and decreased experiences. negative during childbirth.
According to a study published in the Journal of Perinatal Education, complications for mother and child and low birth weight were reduced when a pregnant mother received doula services. A study published in the journal Birth showed that the rates of premature and cesarean births were lower in pregnant women who worked with a doula.
How Doulas Specialize
When choosing a doula, consider which type is best suited to your needs. Doulas are trained to guide you through pregnancy and childbirth. But a doula cannot and should not replace your primary care provider.
Doulas may specialize as birth doulas, helping during and after childbirth, postpartum doulas, postpartum aide or antepartum doulas, focusing on high risk and difficult pregnancies. They may also be certified in specific areas of expertise, including breastfeeding, childbirth assistance, childbirth techniques, and prenatal and postnatal care.
A birth doula provides emotional and physical support during pregnancy and childbirth. These doulas are part of the delivery team and are there to help and support, but not to replace helpers and partners.
A postpartum doula provides families with information and support on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery after childbirth, calming infants, and new parents’ coping skills. A postpartum doula can help with housework, help prepare meals, and help older children participate in pregnancy and childbirth.
An antepartum doula helps with high risk or difficult pregnancies. This often includes women who are bedridden during pregnancy. An antepartum doula will cook, shop, shop, and support the pregnant mother while she is in bed. Their care ranges from knowing what foods and diet the expectant mother needs, to emotional support and reassurance.
How to hire a doula
If you want to work with a doula, start with your health plan. Some plans, including Tufts Health Together (a MassHealth plan), offer free doula programs to their members. Members of Tufts Health Together can work with a doula before, during and after childbirth. If your plan covers doula services, it may tell you how to contact the doulas covered by your plan.
If your health plan does not cover doula services, you can hire a doula directly. Doulas charge either by the hour or at birth, and their rates vary.
To find a doula in your area, you can:
• Ask your health care provider or friends who have worked with a doula for recommendations
• Find a doula directory, such as doulamatch.net
• Search dona.org for a list of doulas certified by Doulas of North America International, the largest doula training organization in the United States.
• Do a Google search for local doulas
Once you find doulas near you, call them. Meet and talk to see if they are right for you and your family. When you hire a doula, make sure the doula provides the type of services you want and charges a rate that you feel comfortable with.
No matter how you find or hire your doula, the extra help and support during your pregnancy can help you have a healthy, happy, and positive birthing experience.
Tufts Health Plan is one of the few health plans in Massachusetts that offer lifelong coverage, regardless of age or circumstances. This coverage includes Medicaid / Subsidized, Commercial, and Medicare health plans. To learn more, visit tuftshealthplan.com.