How Nashville Doula Services Defines a “Doula”

Every day we talk to people who have never heard of a doula and are interested in learning more about our services. The idea of having a doula at your birth has become the norm for many pregnant women. But despite the increase in interest, it is still a fairly new profession in the childbirth field. We still get asked questions like, “Are you the same as a midwife?” and “What exactly does a doula do?” So we wanted to share how Nashville Doula Services defines the role of a doula.
Doula with parents and baby

The word comes from Greek, meaning a female slave. Typically, she was the one who would assist the laboring mother during childbirth when birth attendants were commonplace. In modern times, it was adopted by the founders of Doulas of North America (DONA), one of the first training and certifying organizations. The term has evolved and grown as more doula programs form, each with its own scope of practice. A basic and very broad definition is someone who provides physical, emotional, and intellectual support for a woman and her family during pregnancy, childbirth, and the initial postpartum season. Some people refer to doulas as ‘a birth coach’.

Another term you may hear is a ‘birth guide’. They have either walked through birth themselves and/or have experience walking alongside women in childbirth. Acting as a guide, a doula lends her knowledge of birth and familiarity with hospital policies to parents who are exploring their childbirth options, enabling them to make fully informed decisions that are right for their family. Doulas offer physical support, massage, and pain management techniques to keep the laboring mother comfortable and focused. A birth doula also supports the partner, acknowledging that nothing can replace the love and understanding that the partner has for the birthing mother. Then there’s the emotional side of birth where we hear terms like doulas ‘hold space’. Birth is a powerful event. It transforms women into mothers. For most women, it will be the most vulnerable and challenging experience of their life. A doula is a witness to this process so the mother is never alone. By having a doula present, a laboring woman can release fears and trust the journey her body and baby are taking. Overall, a doula strives to orchestrate a peaceful and cohesive space for the birth of a new baby.

{On our next blog, read about how doulas are invaluable to the birth partner}

There’s typically a misunderstanding that the doula acts as the midwife. A midwife is the mother’s care provider. They are medical professionals trained to deliver babies. They attend the prenatal visits, check vitals, catch the baby at delivery, handle medical situations like hemorrhaging and basic suturing, and they can provide medical care for a baby in the first few weeks of life. They are skilled in low-risk pregnancies and deliveries, and they are a great option for women who prefer a more personal model of care. Doulas are not midwives. We do not perform any medical or clinical tasks. We do not diagnose symptoms, perform cervical checks, or check fetal heart tones.

Another misconception we often hear is that doulas are only used for natural births. Doulas actually provide support for any type of labor – natural, home birth, hospital, epidural, induction, C-section, or whatever the delivery may be. Our care is unbiased and without judgement. We help mothers understand their choices and then we fully support those decisions. A doula can help navigate all the procedures involved with an interventions like an epidural or C-section and can help the mother process any fears or concerns with hospital procedures.

When you hire a doula with Nashville Doula Services, your services include:

  • Two doulas that are hand-selected for you, based on your personality and needs, to work with you prenatally. Your two doulas will meet with you in your home before your birth to discuss your wishes for your birth, hospital protocols, and possible birth fears and concerns. We will help you in constructing a birth plan, review labor sign posts, practice positions, and comfort techniques for delivery. We will also discuss your postpartum plan (breastfeeding, newborn care).
  • On the day of your labor and birth, the doula that is on-call will meet you at your home or place of birth and stay by your side until the birth of your baby. Your secondary doula will act as a back-up in the event that the on-call doula needed assistance. This insures all our clients that they will know the doula(s) who will be at their birth.
  • You will have unlimited assistance via phone, text, or email during your pregnancy, as well as access to our lending library (books, magazines, movies)

At Nashville Doula Services, we can promise that we will:

  • Help empower you by providing resources and education so you can make the best decisions for your family. We support all decisions made before birth and during birth without any criticism. Because it’s your birth and your choice.
  • Support your partner however he or she needs – give them a break, get food, and offer suggestions on comfort techniques, take pictures, communicate with family, and ease any nerves.
  • Be present with you and allow you to experience birth in all its dimensions – including the joys, fears, anxieties, and triumphs. We cannot guarantee any type of outcome or promise a birth according to your birth plan. But we can promise that you will not be alone, that you will have a touchstone in the birthing room to look to for comfort and peace.

Let us provide the unwavering, knowledgeable, and nurturing support you and your family deserve as you prepare for one of the greatest adventures of your life.

Contact Nashville Doula Services today!

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *