5 Ways Having a Doula Benefits Your Birthing Experience
From prenatal to postpartum and everything in between, doulas provide support and guidance during your pregnancy journey
From emotional support throughout your pregnancy to managing labor pain and more, a doula is a trusted guide for your pregnancy journey. A doula is a birth worker who supports birthing people from pregnancy through childbirth to help you have a safe, healthy and empowering pregnancy and delivery experience.
At Chicago Birthworks Collective, our doulas are an amazing resource for both first-time mothers and mothers who have already experienced birth. The same hands-on techniques we use in labor we provide them in pregnancy and beyond. That’s why we’re sharing a few ways we provide support during your pregnancy and delivery. Learn the five major benefits of going through pregnancy and birth with a doula at your side.
1. Doulas provide both physical and emotional support
Not only are doulas trained to guide you through pregnancy in a physical manner, but they are also trained to be a source of emotional support. While doulas are not there to replace your partner, they can provide you both with additional support as an experienced guide. Doulas are different from midwives and OB/GYNs because they do not have medical training. However, they must pass through a doula training program and obtain certification that allows them to give top-tier support and comfort.
Their wealth of experience can also be reassuring during childbirth and increase positive birth outcomes. Research shows that doula support for Black mothers during pregnancy and delivery “increases their chances of a healthy birth for both mom and baby.” A 2013 study also found that mothers who had doula support were four times less likely to give birth to a baby with low birth weight, two times less likely to experience a complication during childbirth, and much more likely to start breastfeeding.
Here at CBC, we call this continuous support of your body, mind, and spirit full-circle care. This approach is vital to properly supporting Black birthing people in what is one of the most vulnerable times of your life.
2. Doulas guide you through every step of the birthing process
Doula support begins the day you choose your doula and let them into your journey toward motherhood. Your doula is a valuable resource from pregnancy through delivery and the postpartum period. At CBC, our doula’s provide support before you are pregnant and trying to conceive. During labor and delivery, a doula provides maximum support while keeping your birth plan the number-one priority. Some ways a doula provides support include: sharing educational resources, practicing breathing and pain-relief techniques, offering encouragement and massages, helping communicate with medical staff, and more. Our Collective of doulas is committed to centering Black mamas and birthing people by elevating the services we provide. Through radical attention, culturally congruent education, and an emphasis on cultivating community, our clients receive full-circle care that results in better birth outcomes.
3. Your doula will prepare you to advocate for yourself
One of the many priorities of the doula is to ensure that they guide you toward formulating the best possible birth plan for your family—and empowering you to carry that birth plan out. They are your biggest supporter and cheerleader during the birthing process. As your doula, we know you and your desires for your birth experience intimately. If we see signs of your wishes not being honored, as long as safety allows, we slow things down and truly take a moment to check in with you. From there, we see how you are feeling and ensure that you create a moment to be heard.
4. Doulas are knowledgeable about the medical aspects of labor and delivery
Doulas are trained in childbirth education, breastfeeding, and doula birthing techniques. By the time a doula becomes certified, they have been present at many births and have gained a lot of knowledge through the process. While they do not have the same medical training as a midwife or OB/GYN, doulas are familiar with medical terminology surrounding labor and delivery and can easily translate these terms to make them more digestible. They can also serve as a liaison between physicians and the family, increasing communication and understanding.
When you work with a CBC doula, we can bridge any culture or communication gap between you and your health care provider. This gives you the tools to make the best decision that feels best and communicate effectively with your care team.
5. Doulas provide go-to support for postpartum care
While some doulas focus on guiding you through pregnancy, labor and childbirth, others are available who continue to provide support during the postpartum period. Postpartum care can be delivered as ongoing community support and postpartum education through educational materials and many other ways. Doula support during this critical period also helps mothers initiate and continue breastfeeding. At Chicago Birthworks Collective, all of our doula packages include a postpartum care session for mama and baby. We also offer specialized packages with on-call breastfeeding support to help moms get started. Our team believes the postpartum period is a special time for a family, which is why our services set you up to make the most of it.
Having the presence of an experienced doula throughout your pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postpartum period benefits both you and your baby. From answering questions to providing encouragement and support, a doula’s role is to guide and empower you through the birthing experience. At Chicago Birthworks Collective, our mission is to connect Black families to the support they deserve and desire, ensuring our clients have an empowered birth and postpartum experience.