Starting off the new year with another installment of my Better Birth Experience series! 🙂 I’ve brought on Maggie Decker, who is a doula here in Los Angeles, to chat about the benefits of having a doula when your little one is born!
If you are pregnant or are planning to be, have you thought about having a doula at your birth? Not sure what a doula is, perhaps? 🙂 That’s okay! Hopefully the following will help give you an idea of what a doula is and how they can help you have a better birth experience!
Tell me a little bit about yourself, how did you decide to become a Doula? What was that process like?
Well.. it all happened very organically. A family friend, now a mentor of mine was working on opening up a birth center. I was very intrigued by this idea and had always been intrigued by the whole process of birth but didn’t know what kind of a role I could play. I said to her I want to be apart of that! What could I do? She said you should be a doula! My response… what’s a doula? And that’s how it all started! I had no idea how I would react at my first birth. Turns out I loved it and I was forever changed. Experiencing birth is such an intimate and special moment in these families lives and I feel so blessed to be apart of every birth I attend. It is like nothing else in the world. You just can’t even begin to compare it.
Now, before I even think of asking you any other questions…please explain what a doula is/does since I know there are some people reading this who aren’t sure.
A doula is professionally trained to support and encourage you physically and emotionally from early labor up until your first hours with your baby. The Doula provides continual support offering advice on comfort measures; such as relaxing, breathing, positioning, massage, and movement. Doula’s can create a support system that helps connect everyone to play their own role in supporting mom, including acting as an ally for the partner.
Doulas can attend hospital births, home births, or a birthing center. Doulas provide non-medical support, and do not perform clinical tasks or diagnose medical conditions.
Studies have shown that having a doula present at your birth can do the following:
How long have you been a doula?
At what point do you usually arrive during birth, and typically how long do you stay after the baby is born?
It is different for every client. It depends on when that particular client feels she needs the support. It can be very early on or when they are in transition. I usually stay 2-3 hours after birth to help get mom and baby settled and to help with breastfeeding.
What would you say is your main focus during a birth?
My main focus is the mother. Your primal instincts really have to come into play. Communication becomes very animalistic in labor so you have to be very intuitive in reading body language to understand what she needs. Another big focus is getting creative to see what different kinds of positions work and do not work in order to get labor to progress. You really just have to observe and listen to know what step is next.
In your opinion, why should an expecting mother hire a doula?
Every mother should hire a doula because a doula can change your birth experience in a big way positively. Not only does a doula help with the following:
A doula also helps the mother emotionally get through labor with the extra support of someone she can trust and rely on. It allows her to let her guard down and just focus on her labor.
What services do you offer? And are you strictly a birth doula or postpartum as well?
I offer nutritional counseling, Placenta encapsulation, placenta tincture, along with being a birth doula. I am not a postpartum doula.
If you could give one little tidbit of advice to expecting moms reading this, what would that be?
My advice would be to get a doula you connect with and feel comfortable with, find a primary care dr or midwife that you see eye to eye with and will support you to have the birth experience that you want. Also trust your body it knows what to do.
Maggie Decker CD(DONA)
626 616 1103