Meeting Your Doula During Pregnancy
Find out what to expect before, during and after your prenatal doula visits.
Your pregnancy is a wonderful time to learn, care for yourself and prepare for your birth experience. Whether you’re new to working with a doula or want to receive support for a more empowered birth experience, your prenatal visits will be a valuable part of your journey. Knowing what to expect during these visits can give you peace of mind and allow you to take full advantage of this time with your doula.
What to do before the visit
Before your first visit with a doula, take some time to write down your questions, hopes, worries and physical and emotional needs. Taking stock of how you feel and what you need will help you communicate more openly with your doula. She is here to support you during this exciting and ever-changing time.
You’ll also want to decide on a space in your home for your visit. Consider an area where you can truly focus on yourself and your baby. It’s important to meet in a space where you feel comfortable discussing more personal information and, at times, moving or practicing labor and birthing techniques.
What will happen during the visit
Every mother and family is unique, which is why we tailor your visits and conversations to your individual needs. These visits are a time to get to know each other better, so feel free to ask questions, share your wishes, and really get to know your doula.
During an initial visit, you can expect to review your medical and pregnancy history, as well as details about your family and lifestyle that will help your doula support you exactly as you need. You will likely discuss your doula’s experience, childbirth philosophy, availability and the best way to get in touch with her.
As you move closer to your delivery, your doula can help you create a birth plan. Though births don’t always follow a specific plan, thinking about what is most important to you—and what you want to avoid—sets you and your care team up for the most empowering experience possible.
Your birth plan informs your doula of your wishes so she can work with you to ensure the best birth experience possible. Doulas do not provide medical care, but they do understand birthing protocols and can communicate with your birth team to create a positive birthing space.
Your doula will provide incredible evidence-based information and continuous support so that you feel informed, confident and nurtured on your birth journey. In preparation for labor and delivery, she will review breathing and birthing techniques, labor positioning and hands-on comfort touch. This moment is also a good time to discuss the role your partner would like to have in the birth process, as well as items that may calm or uplift you, such as specific music, scents, imagery or mantras.
Your doula’s sole job is to support you, the mother. She is dedicated to providing physical and emotional support as you labor and bring your baby into the world.
Additional options for support
For centuries, mothers have been nurtured and cared for by others in their family and community. Beyond birth preparation, a doula can help you find peace and relaxation during your pregnancy and leading up to delivery. Tasks such as regular massages, belly wrapping and spa visit scheduling offer physical and mental relief opportunities.
Pregnancy is also a time to celebrate the changes in your body and your life. If you desire, your doula can lead an in-home mother blessing ceremony to bring the people in your support circle together and mark this special time.
What to expect after the visit
After each visit, you may schedule future visits or prepare for the next meeting. You may also practice what you and your doula discussed, whether relaxation techniques, positive affirmations or different comfort measures. Take note of any questions or thoughts you’d like to share with your doula in the time between visits.
Working with a doula is truly a relationship of shared communication and support every step of the way. Building this relationship during pregnancy creates a strong foundation for laboring and birthing with your doula by your side.
If you’d like to work with a doula for your birth experience, learn more about Chicago Birthworks Collective’s birth packages and complete our intake form. For those who do not live in the Chicagoland area, join our Virtual Birth Village for education, community and support.