Birth doulas, or labor doulas, provide support to expecting parents before, during, and immediately after birth. During the prenatal period, the doula and clients will meet to get to know each other and form a strong and trusting relationship. They will discuss options and preferences for the upcoming birth and address any hopes or fears about birth and parenting.
Doulas can provide evidence-based resources that help their clients make decisions that work for them, and referrals to other birth and baby professionals who can help make their experience a positive one.
During labor and delivery, doulas provide continuous care so that the parents have someone who supports them by their side all the way. Doulas are well-versed in comfort measures such as breathing techniques, relaxation, massage, affirmation, and encouragement. They encourage the parents to communicate well with their medical team and each other, fostering a sense of empowerment and confidence.
After the birth, the doula can stay for a bit to help get the new family settled and comfortable, and can assist with initial feeding, if desired. Doulas can provide follow-up visits to discuss the birth and make sure the new family is getting off to a great start.
Postpartum doulas help new families at home during that wonderful and challenging time known as the Fourth Trimester. After the birth, parents need as much love, encouragement, and care as the baby does, and postpartum doulas are there to provide that.
Postpartum doulas provide either daytime or overnight care (or both) in blocks of time that meet the parents’ needs.
A daytime shift may include:
- time for parents’ self care (napping, showering, etc.)
- comfort measures for birth recovery
- baby care information
- help with balancing the new routine
- meal prep for the parents
- light home upkeep (dishes, laundry, etc.)
- errand running
- listening and encouragement
An overnight shift may include care for the baby while parents sleep or support for the parents while they get their nighttime routines down.
Some postpartum doulas have special infant feeding certifications and can help with breast, chest, or bottle feeding, and pumping.
Postpartum doulas are there to support your parenting choices, whatever those are, in a non-judgmental way. They can provide evidence-based resources to help you feel confident in your parenting, and referrals to other professionals when needed.
A bereavement doula cares for a family who is experiencing any type of loss during any trimester or after the birth. Bereavement doulas walk with a family through this experience and provide loving support in whatever way the family needs.
Bereavement doulas can provide support during miscarriage, stillbirth, and other types of loss or difficulty including adoption situations, NICU stays, severe illness, etc.
Bereavement doulas have special training and experience, and can help families who are experiencing loss to navigate this time in a way that is respectful, loving, and honoring.