Question #3 There is so much information out there, what books do you recommend?
It is important to read books that both help you prepare (give you the info you need) and fill you with the confidence, the belief that this is doable, that you need just as much and maybe even more than information to have a great birth experience.
The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin
Birthing from Within
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth (and if you like that, then her groundbreaking Spiritual Midwifery)
Misconceptions by Naomi Wolf (a bit scarye but really relevant for Americans especially)
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Childbirth
Dr. Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding
There are many more, but these are my favourites.
I never recommend What to expect” in the circles I travel in, it is referred to as “what to expect when you’re expecting a ceasarean”
Look for future posts with movies, childbirth education classes, and websites
What is a doula?
The American Heritage dictionary:
A woman who assists another woman during labor and provides support to her, the infant, and the family after childbirth.
A doula is an assistant who provides various forms of non-medical and non-midwifery support (physical and emotional) in the childbirth process. Based on a particular doula’s training and background, the doula may offer support during prenatal care, during childbirth and/or during the postpartum period. A birth doula provides support during labor. Thus a labor doula may attend a home birth or might attend the parturient woman during labor at home and continue while in transport and then complete supporting the birth at a hospital or a birth center. A postpartum doula typically begins providing care in the home after the birth. Such care might include cooking for the mother, breastfeeding support, newborn care assistance, errands, light housekeeping, etc. Such care is provided from the day after the birth, providing services through the first six weeks postpartum. In some cases, doula care can last several months or even to a year postpartum - especially in cases when mothers are suffering from postpartum depression, children with special needs require longer care, or there are multiple infants.
Transition to parenthood
What is a Doula?
Doula is a Greek word for “woman’s servant.”
Birth Doulas (aka Labor Support Doulas)
A birth doula is a supportive companion professionally trained to provide physical and emotional support during labor and birth.
A doula provides continuous support, beginning during early or active labor, through birth, and for approximately 2 hours following the birth. The doula offers help and advice on comfort measures such as breathing, relaxation, movement, positioning, and massage. She also assists families with gathering information about the course of labor and their options. Her most critical role is providing continuous emotional reassurance and comfort.
Doulas attend home births and hospital births; medicated births and unmedicated births, with women whose care is being overseen by doctors or midwives. Doulas may be the only support person for the mother, or may be part of a labor support team including mom’s partner, friend(s), and/or family members.
Doulas specialize in non-medical skills, and do not perform clinical tasks, or diagnose medical conditions.
Doulas do not make decisions for their clients. Their goal is to provide the support and information needed to help the birthing mother have a safe and satisfying birth as the mother defines it.
There are also postpartum doulas, who provide support after the baby is born. They have knowledge about postpartum recovery, breastfeeding, and newborn care. Their services vary depending on your needs, and might involve anything from a one-time visit for information and advice, to providing overnight care every night for a month.
Proven Benefits of Doula Care
Decreased medical intervention in labor*:
Reduces need for cesarean by 26%
Reduces the need for forceps or vacuum extractor by 41%
Reduces use of pain medication by 28%
Reduces dissatisfaction with birth by 33%
Reduces length of labor
6 weeks after birth, mothers who had doulas were:
Less anxious and depressed
Had more confidence with baby
More satisfied w/ partner
More likely to be breastfeeding