What is a Doula and why the heck do I need one?

Doulas are professionally trained birth companions. The role of the Doula is to educate, guide and support parents in understanding the options available to them before, during and after the birth of their child.

During pregnancy, Doulas work to establish a trusting relationship where parents feel safe asking questions, discussing concerns and expressing hopes and fears. We encourage couples to advocate for themselves and to take an active role in the birth of their child. Doulas help facilitate partner participation at a level that feels most comfortable to them by teaching comfort measures and relaxation techniques.

During your delivery, your Doula remains in constant communication and close proximity to you and your partner while providing guidance through the different stages of labor. Her job is to support you both as individuals and as a couple. A Doula’s goal is to provide balanced support so that parents feel guided through the birth process. Doulas answer questions and make sure your needs are met before leaving you both to continue bonding with your baby.

Doulas continue to support parents after the birth of their child by offering guidance and encouragement when needed, providing support, whether breast or bottle feeding and answering questions to ensure you are getting the most out of your 4th trimester.

The American College of Obstetrics has cited numerous studies that document the benefit of Doula support. (Number 687, Feb. 2017)

Benefits include, but are not limited to:
• Decreased cesarean rate
• A reduction in the length of labor
• A reduction in the use of Pitocin and other interventions
• A reduction in the request for medical pain relief

Other studies have shown that having a Doula leads to a more positive birth experience and better outcome for both mother and partner. (Cochran Review Updated, Jul. 2017) These studies speak to the importance of making a Doula part of your birth team.

How do you pick the Doula that’s right for you?
Our recommendation is to ALWAYS trust your gut! Birth is one of the most vulnerable and intimate times in your lives. Find a Doula that will respect and support your birth choices as a family. Make sure she is knowledgeable in all aspects of birth and birth practices, as well as local birth practitioners, hospitals, and birth facilities. Having a Doula that knows her community and its resources can be valuable before, during, and after the birth of your baby. Remember, personal connection is important as she is the first member of your birthing tribe.

When you have the right combination of medical care from a provider you trust, emotional and physical support from your partner guided by your Doula, you have built an incredible birth team. Make Doulas of Southern Maryland part of your birth team. Contact us today at doulasofsouthernmaryland@gmail.com.

For more information visit www.doulasofsouthernmaryland.com and call Samantha Feldman at 254-630-3216 or Stacy Seigel at 240-925-8312.

Realizing their shared love for all things birth, Stacy Seigel and Samantha Feldman joined together forming Doulas of Southern Maryland in 2015. Together, with over 7 years combined experience, they have helped support and welcome over 400 babies earth-side. It is through training, established working relationships and continued growth, that we bring our passion for birth to better serve our community. We work hard to ensure that the voices, visions, and needs of our families are met.