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Prenatal doulas

Prenatal, antepartum, pre-birth, or just plain old pregnant! These are basically the same time period in the childbirth process, and many doulas specialize in supporting women, their partner if they have one, and any previous children during this phase. The word doula comes from the Greek language, and refers to a woman who personally serves another woman. Though this actually has some negative connotations in Greece, the term has become so widespread in the rest of the world, that it is now taking on meaning of its own.

What do prenatal doulas do?

Doulas are trained to respond to the needs of the pregnant woman. These needs can range widely, but commonly include providing:

* Emotional support

* Explanations of medical procedures and possible interventions

* Facilitation of communication between members of the pregnant woman's birth team

* Advice about pregnancy and birth

* Help in preparing a birth plan

* Exercise and suggestions about how to physically make pregnancy and childbirth more comfortable

* Non-pharmacological pain relief measures, such as massage, aromatherapy, and any other non-medical comfort enhancing techniques she may be trained in.

During labor

During labor, many women find it very comforting having a trained and experience labor support doula on hand. The doula will attend to the emotional and physical comfort requirements of laboring women to ease the labor process. Doulas do not do clinical tasks such as vaginal exams or heart rate checks, but rather use massage, aromatherapy, calming words, positioning suggestions, and so on to help labor progress as smoothly as possible. Most labor support doulas join the laboring woman and any family either at her home or in the birth center or hospital. She will remain with her until several hours after the birth. In addition to emotional support, doulas act as advocates of the birthing mother and may assist in communicating with medical staff to help the mother make informed decisions regarding sometimes complex and occasionally urgent medical procedures.

What is a doula?
A woman trained in childbirth who provides advice, info, and emotional support to a mother and family before, during, and after childbirth.

Recommended Reading

Many women find having their own copy of a book nearby during labour can put many fears to rest. We have chosen to recommend a book written by Rachel Gurevich entitled " The Doula Advantage: Your Complete Guide to Having an Empowered and Positive Birth with the Help of a Professional Childbirth Assistant." Pregnancy & Childbirth Books)





The Doula Book
Here's a great book written by Marshall Klaus that delineates the functions and characteristics of a well-trained doula, the top criteria for selecting one, and the numerous benefits of using one. The Doula Book: How A Trained Labor Companion Can Help You Have A Shorter, Easier, And Healthier BirthChild Psychology Books)