When a family prepares for the arrival of a newborn, hiring a doula during pregnancy so that she helps to support and guide them into this journey is a very good idea. But what is a doula? Will I have a natural birth if I hire a birth doula? How do I find a birth doula in Malaysia? We’ll look at each question separately.
Part 1 - What is a doula?
A birth doula is a non-medical professional that can support and guide a pregnant woman in labor and birth. She is knowledgeable in pregnancy, birth physiology, motherbaby attachment and the art of breastfeeding.
Probably having had babies before herself, she fulfills this ancient role of a mother, a grandmother, a sister, a female cousin, an aunt, a woman from the laboring mother’s community who can be present for the sole reason of supporting her in her most vulnerable moment.
A birth doula is a trained birth professional who develops an intimate relationship with the family so that she can learn about that family's specific situation, desires and wishes for welcoming their new baby into their family.
*She brings unconditional love and respect to this family, without judgement. A birth doula’s agenda has the only objective of supporting the family in their informed choices.
*She is present in the labor space to provide all kinds of support: physical, emotional, spiritual and informational, and also to facilitate communication with the medical team.
*She protects the birthing space with her presence, calmness, love, care and undivided attention.
*She never speaks for the family or deliberately excludes the partner. She is their advocate, but does not make decisions for them. She can provide perspective in the labor room, making suggestions as to how to move differently or change positions.
*She has all her energy focused on the laboring mother, thus “dancing” this woman’s dance of labor, providing her with anything she needs or desires: gentle touch, aromatherapy, a warm shower, a nap, a snack… Her presence is a living reminder for the mother of her own wishes and desires for the birth and immediate postpartum.
*Her presence tells the mother she is not alone and that she can do it.
Childbirth preparation is key for every person preparing to give birth. There are a number of books and courses where one can get educated about labor, birth, postpartum and breastfeeding. Most doulas prepare their clients themselves, taking into consideration that family’s unique requests.
Nowadays, with so much information available at one single click by the general public, women may get overwhelmed with so much to learn and catch up on.
A birth doula provides reassurance and encouragement, reminding the birthing person she has all it takes to give birth to her baby.
Read Part 2 - Will I have a natural birth if I hire a doula?
Maira Magalhaes provides private Doula support, labor and birth preparation classes, prenatal yoga and regular mothers' circles. Please call to make an appointment at +6012-310 3704 or follow her on Instagram and Facebook @mairadbmdoula.