Doula is a trained professional whose job is to provide support to mothers throughout pregnancy, labour, and birth. In India, it’s usually a family member that will act as a support system for pregnant women. But there is a huge knowledge gap between your grandmother’s and your mother’s generation and this is where Doulas come in. Doulas are gaining significant popularity, especially in large cities.
Having a doula is a very ancient practice that got lost as the birthing process moved from homes to hospitals. The comfort, support, and information you need during pregnancy to keep you emotionally and physically fit will be given by a Doula.
It’s common to be overwhelmed by the modern maternity care system after all during the miracle of birth you’ll be surrounded by complete strangers telling you to push, push and push!
What exactly does a Doula do?
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1. Help you relax by massaging.
2. Inform you about labour positions.
3. Clear any doubts you have regarding the birthing process.
4. Teach you breathing and other relaxation techniques.
5. Help your spouse by showing them what they can do to make pregnancy easier on you.
6. After birth, they will also assist you in breastfeeding.
7. Whether it’s a natural birth or Cesarean, they will help you in having a faster recovery.
Is there something Doula’s don’t do? Yes
1. A Doula will not speak to the doctor on your behalf.
2. She will not give unsolicited medical advice.
3. Will not act as a replacement of your husband.
4. Doulas do not guarantee that you’ll have a natural birth.
5. She is there to just provide information, what you do with it is totally up to you so don’t expect any decision-making from the Doula’s side.
How to choose one?
Most Doulas tend to be mothers themselves so they know what you’re going through. Hence, it goes without saying that if you have to pick between 2 doulas out of whom one is a mother and the other isn’t, then choose the mom.
The fee that is charged differs from one Doula to the next depending on their experience, training and the services they offer. You may also choose the time period you think you’ll need a Doula the most like during labour or for prenatal care.
Finding the perfect Doula in India is not an easy job. You can ask your doctor about it first, they might personally recommend a Doula they know. You can even check out a few websites like CAPPA India, Birth India, and Birth Bonds.
Make sure to ask them a lot of questions like the number of deliveries they were involved in, the rate of natural birth to C-section and so on before you make a final decision.
Can I Become a Doula too?
Well, yes. You don’t need any experience in medical field. For becoming a professional doula, you can sign up to institutes or websites that provide workshops and courses by the end of which you’ll be a certified doula. These course fees can range between 25k to 70k rupees. If not a professional doula you can still provide your support to any of your family members or friends if you feel that you have the required knowledge.