How to Choose a Doula: Your guide to choosing a “birth coach”
The road to giving birth never did run smooth, reason why it is highly advisable for an expectant mother to surround herself with a good support system. Apart from close family and friends, a great way to get that much needed support is from a doula.
Betty San Luis, one of the few certified doulas in the country, defines a doula as someone “who provides an expecting mother with physical comfort, emotional support, and is there throughout labor and delivery.”
Sound a bit much, which is why Betty thinks being a doula isn’t for everyone. “It’s a vocation,” she says. “A doula has to be there throughout the mother’s birthing experience, making sacrifices of her own to take care of the mom so she can have a fulfilling birth.”
So what can a mom expect when getting a doula? Betty sheds light on the benefits of having one, which will hopefully enlighten you as to how to choose a doula.
Do you have a birth plan in mind?
Betty is an advocate of natural birth, which is why as a doula, she is fully supportive of those who have a specific birth plan in mind – like Lamaze, lotus birth, or water birth.
“I help the mom make informed decisions when faced with certain options regarding the birth,” Betty explains. “I stay with the mom even in the delivery room to give her the support she needs, and to ensure that her desired birth plan is followed – unless of course an emergency happens,” she says.
Are you looking for additional support to help you through your pregnancy?
There is so much pressure – literally and figuratively – during pregnancy, which is why any support to help an expecting mom to cope is more than welcome. Betty says that as a doula, she feels more inclined to help teen moms, single moms or moms with husbands working overseas. “They need all the support they can get,” Betty says. “It’s hard enough being pregnant, but to cope with it alone is even harder.” A doula can help if you are looking for additional support and comfort to make your pregnancy journey better.
Do you and your partner want to enjoy your birthing experience?
Who doesn’t, right? Betty explains that a doula also acts as a birth educator to the mom and her partner. “I hold coaching sessions first for the mom and partner – I really encourage the partner to be involved.”
Being more educated on childbirth gives ammo to both mom and partner to help them know what to expect come D-day. “I’ve witnessed couples go through childbirth together, and you can really see how it makes their bond stronger,” she says. “Sometimes, when it gets too much for the partner, that’s when a doula steps in for the mom’s support, while the partner takes a breather.”
Do you know what to do in preparation for the birth?
More often than not, expectant moms (especially first time ones) go around like headless chickens, not exactly knowing what’s in store for them. “A doula can certainly help with the preparations,” Betty reassures. “Remember that the whole birthing experience is for the mom to enjoy, so being prepared will go a long way.”
As a birth coach, the doula assists with the mom’s holistic preparation. “She has to be ready, not just physically but also emotionally, mentally, even spiritually for the arrival of her child. A doula can help her achieve that level of readiness. She never has to feel alone throughout her pregnancy.”
See more about Betty San Luis and doulas in the Philippines here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ANGELA VERA
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