“Hi, my name is Alli Teague and I am a doula!”
This is my new intro and it is often met with, “oh, what’s a doula?” Even when I was going through my training, my friends were curious. “So, what exactly is a doula? What will you be doing?” Doula is a term many people have heard, but never quite figured out what we do...
I can relate! Back when I was having my own kids, I had no idea what a doula was. I thought doula and midwife were interchangeable terms and I thought only super granola people who wanted natural births used these mysterious doula/midwife people.
Well, now that I am a doula I want to help clear the air for others. I want to explain what a doula is and what we do.
First, a birth doula supports a family during pregnancy by educating them on their options and helping them develop a birth plan. There are so many factors that go into delivering a baby these days! How do you choose a provider? Will it be an OB-GYN or a midwife? Where will you deliver? Do you want a home birth, a birthing center, or a hospital? Do you know the benefits and risks of each? Do you want an unmedicated birth? If not, what type of medications are you comfortable with? The questions and options are endless! Doulas offer science-based facts to help you ask the right questions, determine what is really important to you and develop a personalized birth plan designed to support your desires.
Doulas also support families in the prenatal period by helping them ask the right questions at their routine exams. During your pregnancy, you’ll be offered a variety of tests, screenings, and exams. Do you really need all of these? How do you decide if you should do this one or that one? What are the risks and benefits of each? Again, the options and questions can be overwhelming! A doula is there to provide you with the facts and help you sort through it all.
During labor, your doula will provide physical and emotional support based on your personal preferences you have discussed in your prenatal meetings. She does not replace your partner but provides additional support to both of you. Labor can be very unpredictable. What if you have an exceptionally long labor and your partner needs a break? What if you find that your favorite laboring position requires physical support and you also need a massage during the peak of a contraction? Having two bodies available may prove to be invaluable to have the labor experience you desire!
Your partner knows you best and will provide a level of comfort no one else can. Your doula is a trained expert at guiding that comfort and support from the partner while supplementing with additional support and guidance you didn’t know you needed. Your doula will not always be providing hands-on physical support. Remember that birth plan you developed in your prenatal visits? Well, you may not remember much about it when you’re in the throws of labor, but your doula will! And she’ll make sure your providers are aware of your preferences. And what if things start getting out of control? What if the labor you planned is no longer a safe option for you and your baby? Your doula will do everything possible to keep your top priorities intact and only compromise on the areas you aren’t as passionate about. And no matter how far you deviate from your birth plan, your doula will provide a calm confidence to help you navigate it all. It is easier to pivot and accept the unexpected changes when you are well-supported and feeling empowered in your decisions.
Once your baby is delivered and safely in your arms, your doula will remain with you for the golden hour after birth and support you during your initial bonding and feeding with your beautiful newborn. She’ll then leave you to be alone together as a family and allow you to rest and begin your recovery. You’ll see her again in a few weeks when she comes to visit and review your birth experience with you.
I love helping couples have exceptional birth experiences they’ll remember forever.
I will guide you through the birth process, advocating for your wants and needs, and supporting you through the unexpected challenges of labor and delivery.