A doula as a birthing companion

What is a doula?

The word Doula derives from the Greek word ""doleia"" and means ""servant"". A doula can accompany you during pregnancy, labor, birth and afterwards as emotional help and individual caregiver. That is why they are sometimes called birthing companion. However, with her work she does not replace the midwife or an obstetrician, but complements these two.

Although a doula has sound medical knowledge, she is usually not trained in it, which is why she does not act in this area. However, as a woman who has given birth to at least one child, she can pass on personal experience to pregnant women and women giving birth.

Their empathy and understanding should motivate the pregnant woman and encourage her to trust her own body during childbirth and not to be afraid. The help of the doula consists, among other things, in sensitively counseling the expectant mother during pregnancy and childbirth, preparing her for the upcoming birth, explaining her procedures and possibilities in the delivery room, and explaining medical processes. Above all, she is the contact person for worries, needs and questions and takes care of the well-being of her mother.

In the delivery room, she takes on the role of a birth partner. She instructs the woman to breathe, massages her shoulder or calms and motivates her. In addition, she acts as a mediator between women and hospital staff and helps to shape the birth within the existing possibilities according to the wishes of the woman. She can also be the point of contact for the (expectant) father and help care for her partner during pregnancy and in the delivery room.

After birth, the doula remains until mother and child are cared for and the baby is first nursed. She requests the birth protocol of the clinic and discusses this at a night meeting again in detail with the parents. So they can review the birth again and clarify open questions.

There are also so-called ""Wochenbettdoulas"", which continue to look after the mothers in childbed. These are very rare.

Why could a doula make sense for me?

The doula can be your birth partner. For example, if the expectant father can not or does not want to be present at birth (because he works abroad, in the delivery room would be more of a burden than help or you have separated during pregnancy), you can hire a doula as a birth partner in his place.

But even if the expectant father is present, the doula can be of help. Some men feel insecure at the thought that the well-being of their partner and child in the delivery room is on their shoulders. A doula can give the father courage during pregnancy and encourage him to act in the delivery room.

A doula can accompany and support her desire for a natural birth (in the hospital or as a home birth). Several studies since the mid-nineties show that long-term support and care for pregnant women and women giving birth, for example through a doula, has a great influence on the events in the delivery room. According to the studies women had a continuous, loving care in pregnancy and during childbirth:

less frequently a caesarean section

  • a faster birth
  • more rarely an episiotomy
  • less frequent and less painkillers
  • less buccal stimulants
  • Infrequent need for birth aids such as forceps or suction bell
  • In addition, the studies show that the babies were stronger and needed less medical attention. Mothers who were accompanied by a doula often classed birth as a positive experience, stressing that they did not have much pain at birth.

Thus, a doula can also be of great help to second or third childbearing people who previously had a negative birth experience. Together, you can work through the past birth and discuss how the upcoming birth can be positive. The doula can relieve you of many fears and doubts, thus contributing to a more relaxed birth.

I'm getting a caesarean section. Can a doula help me anyway?

Although there is less to caesarean delivery in a permanent care through a doula, such an operation may nevertheless be necessary for various reasons. This medical intervention unsettles many women. In this case, a doula can calm you down, look after you and explain the processes to you. It stays with you until just before the operation and is there when you wake up, even if your partner and / or the midwife is still present during the neonatal examinations.

How much is a doula?

The doula is not a registered profession and there are no fixed fee rules. How much you pay depends, among other things, on how long and how much care you want and what you expect from your midwife. Some doulas also offer yoga, massages and the like. The price is about 600 euros, but may vary depending on the offer and training of Doula.

Included are usually at least two preliminary discussions and a follow-up talk. In addition, the possibility to clarify questions and uncertainties during the entire pregnancy in short telephone calls, e-mails or the like.In addition, a call two weeks before and after the calculated date of birth and obstetrics, no matter how long you are in labor. Other personal meetings can usually be booked with a surcharge.

The costs of a doula during pregnancy and childbirth are not covered by the health insurance companies. For the care of the week bed by special Tagesbettdoulas may be part of the money through a ""request for home help"" be reimbursed. Inquire in advance about the terms and conditions of the fund responsible for you. For low-paid workers, it may be possible to take over or subsidize pregnant women's counseling centers. These are exceptions.

Where can I find a doula and what should I look for?

While there is already a tradition for doulas in Switzerland and the US, these birth attendants are still comparatively rare in Germany. In the south of Germany, especially in the metropolitan areas, there are currently significantly more doulas than in northern Germany. A search for postal codes of most certified Doulas in Germany is possible via doula-info.

There are different educations for Doulas. In Germany, the most comprehensive is provided by the Society for Birth Preparation, Family Education and Women's Health (GfG). Basically, you should make sure that your doula has a recognized certification.

If you are looking for support in organizational and planning matters during pregnancy, perhaps a so-called pregnancy concierge or baby planner can help you. It can assist you in finding a doula, midwife or other specialist staff, handle applications and administrative procedures, advise you on child safety and initial equipment, and much more. A list of all certified pregnancy concierge can be found on the Baby Planner Academy page.

sources

Marshall H Klaus; John H Kennell; Phyllis H Klaus,

Mothering the mother: How a doula can help you have a shorter, easier, and healthier birth , Reading, Mass. : Addison-Wesley, 1993. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. 180 (5): 1054-1059, May . Scott, Kathryn D. DrPH; Berkowitz, Gale DrPH; Klaus, Marshall MD,

A comparison of intermittent and continuous support during labor: A meta-analysis International Doula page // dona. org

Doulas in Germany with a doula directory by postal code // www. doula-info. de / search. htm

New Cochrane Review through the Childbirth Connection,

Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth , July 2003 Meyer, Bruce; Arnold Jane; Pascali-Bonaro, Debra,

Social Support By Doulas During Labor And The Early Postpartum Period , Hospital Physician, pp. 57-65, September 2001. Birth Planning Society,

Doula / Birth Accompaniment Doula Obstetrician Wasserburg am Inn

Interview with GfG Doula Birgit K├╝rten

Baby Planner Academy with a list of all certified pregnancies -Concierge / Baby Planner in Germany. // babyplanneracademy. com

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