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Filtering by Tag: doula

What to do When Your Birth Doesn't Go as Planned.

Chelsea Gonzales

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Doing your research and knowing exactly how you would like your birth to go is always a good idea. In fact, I even recommend writing these thoughts down to create an easy-to-read and easy-to-share birth plan. This helps ensure that your desires are well known, and with the right birth team, many of those wishes will probably be met if at all possible.

That said, things don't always go according to plan. Problems crop up, little annoyances snowball into big emergencies, and some babies and bodies just have minds of their own. These things aren't necessarily common, but they do happen, and many times this means the initial birth plan must be modified to fit the situation.

While I don't recommend dwelling on the “what ifs”, I do think it's a good idea to consider what you will do should unplanned things happen during labor and delivery that steer your birth experience in another direction than originally planned. After all, there is no way for us to control everything, and being mentally prepared for unexpected issues can help ensure your experience is a positive one, even if it isn't exactly what you planned.

Wondering what you should do in case things do go awry? Consider these tips.

Before The Birth

Hire a Doula — A doula is an advocate for birthing women. For this reason, having a good doula is essential when issues arise. She can ensure that your birth plan stays as intact as possible while also providing you with reassurance.

Know Your Stuff — Soaking up as much information as possible about birth is also incredibly helpful. This will allow you to make informed decisions about your own body and health, as well as that of your baby.

Create a Backup Plan — Making a birth plan is great. Making a “Plan B” and even a “Plan C” is even better. Decide what you'd like to happen in case you decide you absolutely must have an epidural. What if a C-section is required? Having a plan for these things will still give you a bit of control even if your initial plan gets tossed to the side.

During the Birth

Keep Your Cool — If you do get news that your caretaker won't be able to sick to the original plan, take a deep breath and keep your cool. Remember that you are doing your very best, and your caretakers are there to keep you and your baby safe. Getting upset won't help anything, and may actually hurt baby by causing them distress.

Remind Caretakers of Your Plan — Reminding your birth team of your plan won't fix any problems that come up. However, that simple reminder might mean your team keeps your wishes in mind and sticks to the plan as much as possible.

Lean on Your Doula — Your doula is there to help you and advocate for you. Let her be the one to insist that measures be taken to mind your wishes whenever possible. Your doula will also be able to help you remain calm in stressful situations. Allow her to do her job.

After the Birth

Take Care of Yourself — Obviously, you'll be grateful about baby once they are born, and clearly you'll need to take care of and enjoy them. That said, it's also important to take care of yourself.

Remind yourself regularly of just how awesome you are and give yourself plenty of self-care time in order to reflect and heal mentally. Lastly, you'll want to watch out for signs of postpartum depression. A birth that doesn't go as planned can be a cause of depression, and PPD should be treated as soon as possible.

Are you looking for a doula to support you no matter how your birth goes? I'd love to chat! Please contact me today for a consultation. 

Tips for a Successful VBAC

Chelsea Gonzales

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There once was a time when mothers were told they would never have a successful vaginal birth after having a cesarean. Fortunately, times have changed, and more and more mothers are making the choice to give it a try. After all, if it can be carried out safely, a vaginal birth is almost always the best option in terms of a mother’s comfort, recovery times, mother/child bonding, and so much more.

If you are considering having a VBAC, you may be wondering what you can do to increase the chances of a successful birth experience. Here are my top tips.

Build a Strong Birth Team

First and foremost, you will need to have a good, strong birth team. This is one of the most important steps you can take, as an unsupportive birth team will be discouraging at best.

Be sure to pick a primary care provider who is willing to attend a VBAC birth. If you are birthing away from home, the hospital or birth center your care provider is associated with must also be okay with your choice. Ensure you trust your midwife or OB completely. If you feel at all uncomfortable or concerned with your care provider, make a switch. Even if your feelings are apparently unwarranted, feeling comfortable during labor and delivery is imperative to a successful VBAC.

In addition to a good doctor or midwife, you will also want to hire a doula. A doula will help ensure you are as comfortable as possible throughout labor, and may even make the process move more quickly. Additionally, a doula can help you work through any fears that may arise.

Go Natural

Inductions, epidurals, and other interventions increase the likelihood of a c-section. Considering this is the very thing you are wanting to avoid, you will also want to avoid intervention as much as possible, letting nature take its course throughout the birthing process.

While this make take more time and patience, and while it might require seeking out natural pain management options, it's so worth the end result.

Educate Yourself

Confidence plays an enormous role in the success of any birth. The more confident you are, the more likely you are to be successful.

This is probably due in part to the fact that the more confident women tend to be the more educated women. Therefore, these individuals have a good understanding of their bodies, leading to less fear. They are also better able to make educated decisions throughout labor, meaning they're less likely to be pushed into doing things they don't want to do.

For this reason, it is highly recommended that all pregnant women—and especially those wishing to experience a VBAC—do everything they can to boost their confidence and educate themselves. The best ways to go about this include attending quality childbirth classes and reading as much as possible. Finding books about VBAC specifically can be especially helpful.

Banish Fears

Another step toward confidence that every potential VBAC mother must take is banishing fears. Traumatizing birth experiences stick with us and tend to fester, growing into paralyzing fears. These fears are strong—so strong in fact that they can stall labor, something that can lead to interventions.

Fortunately, you have the power to banish these fears. Find a therapist to help you work through your unwanted thoughts, hire a doula to help in case these fears surface during labor, and repeat uplifting and inspirational mantras to yourself throughout your pregnancy and your labor.

Many women also find it helpful to hang posters or flags with inspirational messages throughout their home and birth space.

Expect a VBAC, Prepare for a Cesarean

In some cases, it just isn't possible for a mother to have a VBAC safely. Because of this, it is always best to go in expecting the best but prepared for the worst.

What does this mean for you? Here is what I suggest:

  •  Know where to go — If you're delivering at home or in a birth center, know in advance where you'll be transferred should the need arise.Prepare for postpartum — Obviously, you'll want meals planned and help in place no matter how your birth goes. However, having extra assistance lined up in case of a c-section is a smart move.
  • Speak with your care provider — Ask your doctor any questions you have about what will happen should you need a cesarean. Have a midwife? Find out what her typical procedure is in these cases.
  • Create a birth plan — You've probably already thought about your birth plan should you have a vaginal delivery, but have you considered what you'd like in the case of surgery? Think about it, write it down, and make sure your birth team knows your plan.

Following these tips is not a guarantee of anything. They will, however, help you achieve your dream. Why not get started today?

 

Finding Yourself Again After Giving Birth

Chelsea Gonzales

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For many, the weeks after giving birth are a time of bliss. However, for many more mamas they are a time of identity crisis. This is especially true after the newness of a tiny family member wears off and the new mom is left to find her new place in the family and in society.

After all, for nine months the mother’s identity has likely been wrapped up in her pregnancy and the upcoming arrival. With the baby’s arrival, this all goes away, and many times, so do former hobbies and even friendships. This means that in addition to caring for her new little one, the mom must also find herself.

If you find that you are in this difficult place after having your little one, you may be wondering what your next steps should be. Here are my tips.

Make Time For You

First and foremost, you simply must make time for yourself. Read, write, take walks, and give yourself the time and space to reflect on life. This is perhaps the very best thing you can do for yourself during this transitional period.

Explore Your Interests

Did you have a cool hobby when you were younger? Is there something you've always wanted to do? Perhaps you aren’t interested in anything in particular, but your friends all go to a class together. Make time to explore things and find hobbies and interests that you are passionate about.

Prioritize Friendships

Keeping friends after giving birth can be difficult. This is especially true if your pre-pregnancy friends didn't follow you into parenthood. Therefore, it is important that you carve out time specifically for cultivating friendships. This might mean making new friends who are also parents, finding people with similar interests at a class or event, or just keeping up with old friends.

Whichever direction you go, make sure your friends still make you happy and allow you to be you.

Create Plans to Better Yourself

Now that baby is here, it’s time to start looking to the future. If you’ve been planning on going back to school, starting a new business, or working toward a career advancement, this time of change and redefining yourself might be the ideal point in your life to begin to work toward these things.

This doesn't mean you should jump in feet first while still adjusting to the new baby, but making plans and taking baby steps in the right direction is a great way to get the ball rolling and give yourself a new sense of who you are.

Reconnect with Your Significant Other

Your partner is your partner for a reason. They know you inside and out, and they love you for who you are.

For this reason, your significant other is the perfect person to turn to when you are no longer sure who you are. Make sure to reconnect with your partner as often as possible with long, deep conversations and good snuggle sessions.

Keep a Journal

Sometimes sorting things out in our minds can feel overwhelming. Everything seems to get jumbled up, and finding any sort of path through it might seem impossible. For this reason, it is always a good idea to keep a journal. This will allow you to get your thoughts and plans out on paper and out of your over crowded brain.

With these ideas on paper, defining who you are will be made a lot easier.

Hire a Doula

Many of these suggestions require that you have a bit of extra time here and there. However, motherhood is a 24/7 gig, and that means finding time to seek out hobbies or friendships—or even just be alone—isn’t always possible without help.

Hiring a postpartum doula might just be the perfect solution to this problem. A doula will gladly care for your little one while you spend some time journaling or chatting with girlfriends. On top of that, postpartum doulas have experience working with new mothers and may have bits of advice to help you find your place in the world once again.

Are you considering bringing a postpartum doula into your home? I’d love to chat about how I might be able to help you and your family adjust during this beautiful yet challenging time.

8 Questions to Ask a Potential Doula

Chelsea Gonzales

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Interviewing potential doulas for an upcoming birth can be an overwhelming experience. There are likely dozens of candidates to choose from in your area, and narrowing them down until you find the perfect fit for your family can be quite challenging.

Many women head into doula interviews with no idea what to say or ask. After all, a good number of the mamas out there have never hired a doula before, and even those who have may have only done so once or twice.

Because I understand that starting your search for the perfect doula can be intimidating, I have created a list of questions to ask potential doulas. By asking these questions, you can get a feel for how each person works and whether or not they will be a good addition to your birth team.

#1: Why did you choose to become a doula?

This is perhaps, the most important question on this list. A good doula is passionate about what she does. She feels strongly about the power of birth and makes it her goal to empower each and every woman she works with. A flimsy answer to this question will tell you that your candidate is feeling uninspired or burned out.

#2: What kind of experience and training do you have?

While experience and training certainly aren’t everything, they also aren’t nothing. A doula who has received high-quality training—or a birth worker with tons of experience—is likely going to be better at what she does than a person with no training or experience on their hands.

That said, new doulas must gain experience somehow. Therefore, if you find an inexperienced individual you like, consider giving her the job but also hiring an experienced doula to work by her side.

#3: Do you have references?

Remember that a doula may see herself as one thing while others view her as another. Additionally, it is always a possibility that an individual may choose to lie outright. For this reason, it is always a good idea to gather references and check in with them before making any final decisions.

#4: How will you help me manage pain?

This question will help you get a feel for your doula candidate’s style. What kinds of pain management techniques does she tend to employ? Does she bring tools to help keep her clients comfortable? Is she an expert in any one birthing method? Knowing these things will help you decide if the potential doula is right for you.

#5: What else will you be doing during my labor? Will you be available for help during my pregnancy as well?

Knowing exactly what you’re getting when you hire a person is always important. This of course applies to doulas just as much as it would anyone else. Find out what your candidate does during typical pregnancy and birth. Does she provide resources and support during pregnancy? Is she willing to cook or fetch food when you’re hungry and in labor? Does she help clean up your home after a home birth?

The answers to these questions could be a game changer.

#6: Will you involve my loved ones in the birthing process?

Partners will want to feel involved in the birthing process. Likewise, any sisters, friends, or other family members you invite into the birthing room will also want to have a role. Unfortunately, it is far too easy for a doula to take over and make others feel left out. Knowing in advance how your doula plans to include your loved ones could help in the decision-making process.

#7: What if you are unavailable when I call?

It is crucial that you know when your doula is on call, whether she will be out of town or unavailable at any time during your pregnancy, and what happens if she can’t help when you go into labor. Additionally, you may want to find out how many clients your candidate takes on at a time, as too many clients per month could increase the chances of conflicting births.

If your doula has a backup doula for emergency situations, ask if you will be allowed to meet that doula before the birth.

#8: Where will you attend births?

Some doulas only attend hospital births, while others are strictly home birth doulas. Still others will attend both home and hospital births, but prefer not to work at certain institutions. Knowing these things is important because a doula who is not willing to attend a birth at your preferred birthing location is obviously not ideal for you.

By asking these eight questions and adding to the list as you see fit, you should be able to find your perfect doula in no time at all.

Preparing for the Athletic Event of Giving Birth

Chelsea Gonzales

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Giving birth is hard work. In fact, many people compare the task to taking part in a huge athletic event. Therefore, it only makes sense to prepare for giving birth in the same way you might prepare for a marathon or something equally physically challenging.

Unfortunately, many women fail to realize this fact and end up with a body that is ill prepared for this difficult task. Of course, they are generally able to power through, and these women truly aren’t doing anything wrong. After all, it isn’t their fault nobody communicated this fact to them.

However, when you know better you do better. I hope after reading this article you know better, and I hope you feel more knowledgeable about the best way to prepare your body for the hard work it is about to do.

Hydrate

All athletes make a conscious effort to stay hydrated both before and during events they choose to attend. It is one of the most important things a person can do when using large amounts of energy.

Considering the fact that birth requires enormous amounts of energy, you will want to be sure you stay well hydrated throughout your pregnancy and during labor. Dehydration is a serious threat during the birthing process, and one you definitely don't want to contend with. 

Eat Well

You’ve probably heard plenty of people claim that pregnant women can eat whatever they like due to their pregnancy. “They’re eating for two” is a common excuse, and cravings frequently take the blame. While it is okay to treat yourself sometimes, the truth of the matter is that eating right during pregnancy is far more important than curbing cravings.

Keep in mind that your body is growing another human. Not only that, but it is going to give birth in a few short months. Therefore, it is crucial that you give your body the right kind of fuel in order to ensure it is in top-notch condition for the task. A marathon runner wouldn’t have ice cream for dinner, and neither should you.

Stretch

Every big athletic event begins with stretching. Stretching helps improve your range of motion and avoid injury. It is a wonderful way to wake your body up before the big event and make sure you are as flexible as necessary for the impending task.

Just as the athlete makes a point of stretching regularly, so should you. Attending a pregnancy yoga class is a great way to go about this, but stretching at home can be just as effective. Just be sure you know what’s safe and what’s not when it comes to the various stretches out there.

Exercise

We all know that a professional tennis player doesn’t head to a big match without first practicing for countless hours. They prepare for months beforehand by practicing their game and using various cross-training methods.

This is a great example of what a pregnant woman should be doing in the months leading up to her baby’s arrival. Of course, her exercise and training can’t and won’t be as intense as that of a professional tennis player, but she should definitely be focused on getting in plenty of exercise through walking, swimming, or anything else her care provider approves. Additionally, exercises such a kegels should be practiced regularly in preparation for the event.

Rest

Last, but certainly not least, is rest. In order for a person’s body to perform well, it has to be given plenty of rest. In fact, a number of professional athletes claim that their 8–10 hours of sleep each night contribute greatly to their successes.

Why should the body of a pregnant woman require any less sleep? Be sure you get plenty of rest during your pregnancy in order to allow your body a good amount of energy during the birthing process.

By paying attention to diet, exercise, and the amount of rest you are getting, you can ensure your body is in tip-top shape for the upcoming athletic event it is about to experience. This will help ensure you have the experience you desire and make the whole process a bit easier on your entire body.

5 Reasons to Hire a Birth Photographer

Chelsea Gonzales

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Every new mama wants to have a wonderful birth experience. For this reason, many modern women put a lot of work into preparing for what they picture to be an ideal birth: They type up birth plans, carefully select a primary caregiver, and even hire doulas.

That said, photography is one aspect of birth preparation overlooked by many women. This is unfortunate because the birth of a new baby is such a special time, and certainly deserves to be captured in photographs.

Still, an enormous number of mothers neglect to hire a professional photographer to be present during labor and delivery. For some women this is because they simply don’t think of taking pictures, and for others it’s because they believe the photographer will make them feel uncomfortable or because they plan to have their partner take some pictures. Either way, these women are missing out on something incredibly special.

Here are my the top five reasons I believe all mothers should hire a birth photographer.

#1: Capture Memories

Many memorable things will likely happen during your labor and delivery. From peals of laughter and tears of pain during your labor to the first seconds after your child’s birth, there are bound to be magical things to look back on. However, thanks to hormones and just plain sleepiness, many of these happenings will be barely remembered or even forgotten when all is said and done.

Therefore, it is important to have a photographer standing by to capture those memories on film—and/or in digital form—and ensure they will not be lost to time.

#2: See a Different Point of View

Nobody can be everywhere. This means that everyone will have a slightly different way of remembering your child’s birth. By having a professional photograph the event, you will have the rare opportunity to see this amazing experience from a variety of viewpoints, giving you a peek at what was going on in the minds of your birth team and loved ones as you brought your precious little one into the world.

#3: Free Up the Family

Many women skip the photographer because they believe they can simply hand a camera to a nearby family member and ask them to snap some photos. However, this really isn’t fair to the family member in question, who would likely prefer watching the event happen rather than worry about fumbling with a camera. Additionally, a bystander is likely to become wrapped up in the events of the day and forget to photograph altogether, leaving you with an empty photo album after baby comes home. 

#4: Sit Back and Relax

Laboring women have enough on their minds without adding any worries about who is taking pictures and what they are taking pictures of. Because a professional birth photographer is so skilled at what they do, you can relax knowing they have it all taken care of. This frees up your mind to focus on what you should be thinking about: giving birth.

#5: Enjoy Amazing Quality

Let’s face it, the quality offered by a smartphone camera pales in comparison to the quality a professional camera will give you. Additionally, a professionally shot photo is almost always superior to a picture that was framed and shot by an amateur. By hiring a professional photographer, you can count on well-framed, well-shot photos that were made using the best equipment. This results in high-quality images that you will treasure for years to come.

Considering these five benefits of hiring a photographer to be at your birth, I’d say it’s pretty clear that a birth photographer is an excellent addition to any birth team. Along with your primary care provider, your doula, and your closest family and friends, your photographer can help ensure you have a wonderful birth experience you will remember forever.

Helping Your Postpartum Doula Help You

Chelsea Gonzales

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Many people enter parenthood feeling pretty overwhelmed. One of the biggest areas of concern comes along when the sun goes down. After all, we all know how precious sleep is, and newborns don't always seem to understand this fact. For this reason, a good number of new parents are making the decision to hire an overnight postpartum doula.

An overnight postpartum doula can provide an enormous amount of help to those families who are struggling with nighttime issues. They wake with baby and rock, change, and burp the little one as needed. If the newborn is bottle-fed, the doula will even take care of the feeding.

For sleep-deprived parents, this service is pretty incredible. However, it is still an investment. Therefore, many people wonder how they can ensure they are getting the most out of their investment.

For this reason, I have compiled some tips for those who are considering hiring an overnight postpartum doula. I hope these tips help you understand how you can get the most benefit from your doula.

 Hire Wisely

First and foremost, it is essential that you hire the right overnight postpartum doula for your family. Every new parent has different needs and wants, and every doula offers a slightly different set of services. Therefore, it is crucial that you interview potential doulas to find one that best suits your needs.

Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that your overnight postpartum doula will be in your home and caring for your infant. This means you will want to ensure you hire an individual you feel comfortable with.

 Communicate Well

Doulas of all kinds are typically amazing at anticipating needs. That is why they are good at what they do. This is especially true of overnight postpartum doulas, who can’t wake their clients to ask what their needs or wants might be.

That said, doulas are not mind readers. For this reason, you must communicate your wishes whenever possible. This doesn’t mean you should be demanding or rude, but it does mean you need to let your doula know if she isn’t meeting your expectations based on the contract you both signed. After all, she is there to make your life easier, but if she doesn’t know what you need, she cannot do that.

Rest Easy

It can be really difficult to hand your newborn over to someone else. It can be especially difficult to go to sleep after doing so. However, the primary reason for hiring an overnight postpartum doula is to get some much needed shut-eye. This is why I recommend interviewing a few different doulas and choosing one who both meets your needs and puts you at ease. If you don’t feel you can trust your doula for any reason, it’s time to find a new helper.

Assuming you do trust your doula, you need to find a way to relax while your little one is in her care. Diffusing lavender oil, taking a warm bath, and making sure your room is cool and dark are all great ways to induce sleepiness, should you feel restless.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure you get the very most out of your overnight postpartum doula investment. Considering the many baby-related expenses likely coming your way, it is good to know you are getting the best bang for your buck.

Want to learn more about my overnight postpartum doula services? Please have a look around the site for information on what I offer.

Overnight Postpartum Doulas: An Introduction

Chelsea Gonzales

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If you are expecting a new little one, it’s likely that a good number of people have let you know exactly how wonderful those first days will be. Others have probably taken it upon themselves to tell you how hard the days following birth are.
Depending on your situation, both sides of this story can be absolutely true. Therefore, it is best to do what you can to prepare yourself for the hard parts in advance.

One of the hardest parts of those first weeks after birth tends to be the nighttime. A new baby is not likely to understand a regular sleep schedule, and this has a tendency to leave new parents feeling pretty sleep-deprived. Lack of sleep doesn’t help anyone recover properly, and can often lead to anger, frustration, and unfortunate accidents.

Fortunately, there is a way to make this negative much less negative while still basking in the post-birth positives. This is where an overnight postpartum doula steps in.

What is an Overnight Postpartum Doula?

An overnight postpartum doula is a well-informed, patient, and kind caregiver to a new mother, her newborn, and her family. She may carry out any number of tasks based on what the family needs, and she is generally good at recognizing those needs quickly.

An overnight postpartum doula is well-versed in such things as infant care and post-birth recovery, making it possible for her to provide the mother with evidence-based information on such things. Most importantly, an overnight postpartum doula does all of these things while helping parents get the sleep they need and encouraging baby to establish a sleep schedule.

What Does an Overnight Postpartum Doula Do?

As mentioned before, an overnight postpartum doula may carry out any number of tasks. The exact things this individual does will depend greatly on the family’s needs, as well as her skillset and what is offered per her contract. Therefore, it is important to interview your overnight postpartum doula before hiring in order to ensure she offers the services you are expecting.

Some things overnight postpartum doulas almost always do include:

  • Bringing baby to mom to nurse when needed
  • Bottle-feeding baby if requested by mother
  • Burping, changing, comforting, and swaddling baby
  • Cleaning bottles
  • Supporting mama however possible

Some overnight postpartum doula services might also include:

  • Preparing meals and snacks
  • Caring for older children, should they wake
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Keeping a “baby log” for parents to review upon waking
  • Help with household chores

Who Needs an Overnight Postpartum Doula?

Almost any new mother will find an overnight postpartum doula helpful. After all, who doesn’t want to catch up on sleep after pulling an all-nighter or two?

Therefore, it is recommended that every expectant mama at least consider hiring an overnight doula of their own. That said, some people who should definitely bring in overnight help with the baby include:

  • Those who are returning to work immediately
  • Single moms or moms with spouses who are returning to work right away
  • Light sleepers
  • Those who need large amounts of sleep to function properly
  • New moms of multiples
  • Mothers recovering from a cesarean


As you can see, an overnight postpartum doula can be an amazing help to any new parent, giving them the opportunity to get some good rest while still ensuring their little one is well cared for.

If you think an overnight postpartum doula might be right for your family, I would love to chat. Please contact me today for information on my availability and the services I offer!

Try this for easy nutrition in your pregnancy.

Megan Jennings

Carefully considering what we put into our bodies during pregnancy is the very best way to ensure we remain healthy and happy until—and even after—baby arrives. That said, in today’s fast-paced world, many mamas have trouble ensuring they are getting enough of the right kinds of foods every day. 

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The differences between a Birth Doula and a Midwife Assistant

Megan Jennings

Every expectant mother must assemble a birth team. Building a strong birth team with professionals who respect your birthing wishes is a very important part of ensuring you have a satisfactory birth experience. Unfortunately, many mamas-to-be don’t fully understand the role of each member on a birth team, and this makes choosing the right team members difficult, to say the least. 

One of the biggest sources of confusion is the difference between a doula and a midwife’s assistant. Lacking the definition of each can lead to a confusing situation for new mothers as they try to navigate the world of care providers and birth plans. 

In this article we are going to explore the role of each respective care provider in order to give you a strong foundation of knowledge when choosing your team. 

Doula

In short, a doula attends a birth in order to support the laboring mama. She is excellent at anticipating the personal needs of a birthing woman, and does her best to tend to those needs. This might involve making sure the new mother is eating or drinking throughout labor, or offering her support in whatever position makes her comfortable. It could also entail using oils or massages in order to help her client relax. 

While a doula will have a large amount of knowledge about the female anatomy and the birthing process, she will never administer medical care of any kind. Instead, she remains by the laboring mother’s side as much as possible and makes her as content as possible. 

Another part of a doula’s job includes helping the new mother and father to advocate for themselves throughout the labor and delivery of their child. This is especially important if the labor is to take place in a hospital setting or if complications should arise. 

Most doulas are on call 24/7, and will arrive to offer labor support as soon as a woman feels she needs it. A doula generally brings a collection of supplies with her, which may include a birth ball, a rebozo (a scarf used for a variety of purposes during labor), essential oils, massage oil, and a variety of other tools for keeping mama comfortable and happy. 

Midwife’s Assistant

On the other hand, a midwife’s assistant attends a birth in order to help the midwife do her job. While she may offer the new mother some support and words of encouragement, this is not her number one priority. Instead, she is present to help the midwife with anything and everything she might need an extra set of hands for. 

Unlike a doula, a midwife’s assistant does administer some basic medical care. Therefore, she must have a very good understanding of the female anatomy and the labor and delivery process. 

A midwife’s assistant might perform such tasks as watching the mother’s vital signs and monitoring fetal heart tones. She is also given the tasks of assisting with any medical management (if needed), assisting with charting, providing immediate postpartum care to mom and baby, and performing a variety of other jobs that arise throughout the labor and delivery process. 

Because her job is so varied, a midwife’s assistant must be very in-tune with her surroundings and anticipate the midwife’s needs as often as possible. This will help the midwife stay on task throughout the delivery, as everything she needs will be prepared for her. 

The majority of midwife’s assistants are on call 24/7, but many will not arrive until later in the laboring process. The supplies found in a midwife’s assistant’s bag might include a fetal Doppler, a stethoscope, an infant scale, and record-taking supplies. 

Overlap

While doulas and midwife’s assistants do offer two different kinds of services, there is occasionally some overlap in their job descriptions. For instance, many doulas offer breastfeeding support after baby is born. Likewise, many midwife’s assistants offer support in this area as well.

Other areas of overlap could include:

Offering the laboring mother support.

Helping with post-birth cleanup.

Assisting with skin-to-skin.

Conclusion

Although there is a bit of overlap between the roles of these two types of caregivers, they do both offer their own unique services.

Therefore, if your birth will be attended by a midwife, it is generally a good idea to consider having both a doula and a midwife’s assistant attend your birth as well. However, if you are planning a hospital birth with an OB, a midwife’s assistant is not necessary, but a doula is a definite must.