What Does a Doula Do?

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Resources > What Does a Doula Do?

 

 

November 28, 2023


 

Image of the word "doula" spelled out in blocks

Welcoming a child into the world is an amazing journey that is both exhilarating and challenging. While medical professionals play a crucial role in ensuring a safe and healthy delivery, there’s another unsung hero who provides invaluable emotional and physical support — the doula. What does a doula do? Let’s take a look.

At Jewell Chiropractic, we work to support your whole self. In addition to our chiropractic and massage offerings, we also provide education and new parent groups to help with your physical and emotional well-being. Our doulas are here to support your growing family. Book your appointment or sign up for a class through our online portal. 

What Is a Doula?

The role of the doula has been around since ancient times, existing in cultures worldwide. Derived from the Greek word meaning “a woman who serves,” today’s doula is a trained professional who offers ongoing support to expectant parents and their partners before, during, and after childbirth. 

What does a doula do? They provide physical and emotional support and advocacy during labor and delivery and postpartum.

Currently, there are no federal guidelines for doula certification, so each state may have different regulations. In Oregon, a doula who meets specific requirements qualifies as an Oregon State Certified Traditional Health Worker (THW) Birth Doula. In this instance, the Oregon Health Plan may cover their services. 

Although some insurance plans cover doula support, doulas do not perform medical tasks. Instead, they focus on the emotional, physical, and informational needs of the birthing individual. 

What Does a Doula Do?

A doula’s role can encompass everything from prenatal to postpartum support. Here are some of the primary ways a doula can support you during and after pregnancy and childbirth.

Emotional Support

One of the most crucial roles of a doula is to provide emotional support to the expectant parent and their partner, if applicable. Pregnancy and childbirth can be emotionally overwhelming, filled with joy, excitement, and anxiety. 

Doulas offer a reassuring presence to help individuals navigate the rollercoaster of emotions that often accompany the journey to parenthood. And while they don’t give medical advice, they are excellent at explaining any procedures or tests that the medical team is considering.

Continuous Presence

Image of woman in labor, leaning on her partner while a doula provides back massage

Unlike medical professionals who come and go during labor, doulas rarely leave your side. From the early stages of labor to the delivery room and beyond, a doula is there, offering comfort, encouragement, and a steady hand to hold. This continuous support helps reduce stress and anxiety, leading to a more positive birthing experience.

Advocacy and Communication

Speaking up for yourself and your wishes during labor and delivery can be difficult. Some birthing folks feel unheard at this crucial time. 

Doulas act as advocates for the birthing individual, communicating their wishes and preferences to the medical team. They help bridge the gap between expectant families and medical professionals to foster shared decision-making. This collaborative approach empowers parents to make informed choices about their birthing experience.

Comfort Measures

Doulas are well-versed in a variety of comfort measures to ease the physical challenges of labor. From massage and positioning techniques to breathing exercises and relaxation strategies, they provide a toolbox of support to help manage pain and discomfort. 

These techniques contribute to a more positive birthing experience and can even reduce the need for medical interventions. People who are hoping to avoid pain medication during labor and delivery often have great success with a doula’s support.

Image of birthing woman focusing on her doula for support

Postpartum Care

In the postpartum period, doulas offer guidance and support as individuals navigate the challenges of early parenthood. They help families transition smoothly into this new chapter.

Depending on their training and expertise, doulas may offer any of the following postpartum services:

  • Lactation support
  • Babywearing support
  • Nighttime care to allow parents to sleep
  • Light housework
  • Meal preparation

Doulas Are Wonderful Partners

As part of your childbirth team, a doula offers support, empathy, and advocacy. Their role is not to replace medical professionals but to complement their care.

The Jewell team invites you to visit our doulas and other professionals in our Portland, OR, clinic. With chiropractic care, massage therapy, and ongoing education and support, we are here for your whole family. You can contact us with any questions about our services, book an appointment, or register for a class to get the support you deserve.

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