What are the Birth Doula Dos and Don'ts?

It's 2016 and doulas are in the zeitgeist. Even NPR reported reported this year on the effectiveness of doula care. But amidst the fanfare, it seems like an important moment to reestablish the basics of doula practice. What, exactly, do doulas do? You might be asking. Or: What should I expect of my doula? Here are the DOs and DON'Ts of birth doula care that I work by:

As a doula I DO:

       Provide non-biased emotional, physical and informational support during pregnancy, labor and the birth process, and the immediate postpartum period.

       Work closely with the birthing woman and her family as she explores her values and needs surrounding birth.

       Encourage the birthing woman and her partner to seek care and a place of birth that reflects their values and needs.

       Assist in the preparation of birth preferences to facilitate communication with the birth team.

       Provide information on birth options and resources

       Provide the birthing woman with non-medical comfort techniques and alternatives for labor (including but not limited to positions and movement, comforting touch, visualization, breathing techniques, essential oils, rebozo and affirmation).

       Provide support and assistance with initial breastfeeding.

       Assist the mother in processing her birth experience.

       Answer general questions about newborn care and breastfeeding.

       Refer to healthcare professionals when support requires clinical assessment, a need for prescription or medical diagnosis.

As a doula, I am not a clinician and therefore I DO NOT:

       Diagnose medical conditions

       Perform clinical procedures

       Interpret medical diagnoses or clinical results

       Prescribe or administer treatment of medical conditions

       Perform clinical procedures

       Make decisions for the birthing woman

Are you in need of birth doula services and want to learn more? Drop me a line. I'd love to hear from you!