What is a Doula and Do I Need One?

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Guest blogger:  Lauren Condron, Doula and Instructor, Sacred Pregnancy

For any woman who has gone through the process of pregnancy - from conception, be it naturally or assisted, through the various months, to the arrival of their bundle of joy, most can attest to the idea that support from all angles, be it family, friends, and of course the chosen birth team, is crucial to their well-being. No matter the setting - home, hospital, or birth center - first time moms and veterans alike are choosing to have an amazing support system in the form of a doula at their side, not only for guidance but to provide comfort and support through all stages.

Many are familiar, but at times I hear mothers ask - what’s a doula? Things that a doula is NOT include:

  • a midwife - we do not assist in the direct delivery
  • a nurse - we do not provide medical interventions such as IV pain medications
  • a doctor - we do not diagnose or prescribe any conditions or treatments

Things that a doula DOES bring to you birth journey include:

  • ongoing emotional and physical support, including alternative pain management techniques for those seeking a natural birth
  • training on the latest techniques and positions for the best possible outcomes, including less need for C-section as well as less medical interventions
  • support of the family unit including the spouse/birth partner/families of the laboring mother
  • an experience and objective viewpoint, providing information on everything from vaccines to bed sharing for informed parenting
  • facilitation of communication between the laboring mother and her healthcare team

Ask around, and you may find that the use of a doula is becoming not only mainstream, but essential in completing the supportive circle surrounding mother and family. It is important to note that while a doula can help you form a birth plan, it is not the role of the doula to be an enforcer, or adversarial in "fighting" for your needs with your healthcare team. All decisions remain in the hands of the pregnant mother and her intimate circle - we are there to facilitate choices and wishes, but not guarantee them!

In selecting a doula, the process can almost mimic dating - sometimes you need to ask around and go by word of mouth! Remember to ask lots of questions, and try to find someone whose personal views and energy align with your own. If you want a medical based birth, make sure you aren't selecting a doula who almost exclusively works in home births. Likewise, if you are a co-sleeping, pro home birth, alternative family lifestyle, remember to find a doula who supports those avenues of parenting. Interview more than one, so you can get a feel to what your area offers - as well looking at the array of services they offer, from belly binding to placenta encapsulation to breastfeeding assistance to prenatal massage. Find what you are looking for, and it will be a magical partnership.

Witnessing this rise of women's choices, many organizations have arisen to advance the acceptance of this return to woman-to-woman support and bring back a sense of sisterhood community to the process of pregnancy. Sacred Pregnancy is at the forefront of this movement, bringing back the beauty, love, and sisterhood that binds women like no other process - it is the only process in humanity that solely belongs to women, and we are reclaiming our love for each other and the unending support that can be found there.

Sacred Pregnancy seeks to pull in the purest partnerships to provide healing, nurturing resources to our mothers and leaders - this is why we are so excited to join with Bundle Organics to promote delicious, pure, organic nutrition to our mothers. The process of pregnancy, labor, and delivery is a product of the intentions, materials, and energy put into it - adding the wonderful support of Bundle Organics is yet another way Sacred Pregnancy is looking to give only the best to our families.

Retreats, one day sessions, and training to become part of Sacred Pregnancy can be found all over the world all year round - please check out www.sacredpregnancy.com and Sacred Pregnancy on Facebook for more information and how to become a part of the movement!

In love and blessing,
Lauren Condron, Doula and Instructor, Sacred Pregnancy
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