The major role of a birth doula is to support laboring women physically, spiritually and emotionally during their labor and childbirth experiences so that they feel respected, empowered and capable as they focus on preparing themselves to face the unknown during and after their rebirth as mothers. Private sessions with a doula are often composed exploring belief systems and becoming informed of the modern medical maps we must all be prepared to navigate if we choose a hospital birth. A doula then supports their clients through their labor and during the immediate postpartum hours - shrouding them in belief and support as they welcome both their new babies and their new selves.
Studies have shown that women who have a birth doula with them during labor and childbirth have shorter labors, are less likely to request pain medications, are less likely to have emergency cesarean sections and are more likely to be satisfied with their birth experience.
The major role of the postpartum doula is to help the family make a smooth adjustment to life with a new baby by educating and supporting the new parents in such a way that they feel empowered to care for their newborn, each other and themselves with confidence. A postpartum doula focuses on encouraging new mothers to rest and bond with their babies while resisting the pull to resume their busy lives before it's actually time. They provide their clients with resources to aid them in healing themselves physically and emotionally after giving birth, and they nourish them with food, conversation, guided meditations, time to rest and bathe, and, of course, validation and encouragement.
Studies have shown that women who have social support during the postpartum period tend to have less postpartum depression, breastfeed for a longer duration and make a better adjustment to parenthood overall.
To learn a significant reason why I chose to become a birth and postpartum mentor/doula, please read this personal piece that was published by HelloGiggles.