Imagine your birth for a moment... you're probably hoping for a peaceful, beautiful, empowering experience, whatever that means to you. But what will happen when an unexpected curve ball comes flying at you... do you swing and hit? Swing and miss? Recoil away and try to hide?
It is so important to have a "birth plan", but we all know that birth doesn't typically go as planned. So being prepared for a change of plans is vital. The thing is, when you're in the throes of labor, talking through new options can be hard. Especially if your partner doesn't quite understand your thought processes behind your decisions.
We know that having a birth doula improves outcomes, but when do they really make a difference?
1. Before the birth.
A birth doula who helps you prepare for birth during your pregnancy is worth her weight in gold. It is so vital to talk about options, preferences, and back up plans before the big day ever comes. Doing this allows everyone on the birth team to be on the same page. Additionally, it means that the laboring mother doesn't need to focus so much energy on understanding the changes in plans during labor, but has already had these conversations with her partner, doula, and/or providers, and everyone can work together to continue supporting the mother, and ensuring she is still autonomous.
2. During labor
Of course a birth doula is vital during labor.... but when does she really shine? Imagine your labor pattern is getting a little wonky and your provider is suggesting medications to change your labor pattern... but what if that isn't what you wanted. What if your provider says, "Okay, you have one more hour to get this back on track and then we will intervene"? Would you know what tricks to pull out? Maybe... but you might not have the energy to think that much. Your birth doula can suggest position changes, comfort measures (like showering, massage, bath soaks, or toilet sitting), that can help encourage baby into an optimal position to support a safe progression of labor.
3. Immediate Postpartum
Ahhh, the golden hour. All the hard work is over.... Or has it just begun!?! Sometimes unexpected things happen during birth and the baby or mom may need extra medical attention. When this happens, the care providers are usually very busy doing their job, and don't always have time to either explain what is going on to the parents or provide them with emotional support. Having a doula to help guide you through the immediate postpartum moments can be so comforting for many families
Not all doulas are breastfeeding experts, but most are very educated on breastfeeding. Here at Little Bear, you get Jaimie, a doula and a breastfeeding expert. Breastfeeding can present a myriad of challenges that sometimes need skilled support. Your doula will be able to offer you with evidence-based advice to troubleshooting common breastfeeding challenges, and medical resources for collaborating with care providers on complex breastfeeding challenges.
If you're looking for a birth doula and/or breastfeeding support in Southern or Central New Jersey, Little Bear is your one-stop shop for all things birth and breastfeeding related! Schedule a consult with Jaimie today so you can birth with confidence!