Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In San Antonio Birth Doulas Have An Important Role

By Kari Ratliff

In San Antonio birth doulas are available to help a mother have the safest and most positive experience when having her baby. She is someone who offers information, emotional and physical support to a pregnant women and her partner before, during and after childbirth. Some specialize in one area while many cover the whole process, from before the birth to post-natal care.

The role of the doula is not a medical one and therefore she does not work alone with the mother. However, her support is continuous. She does not leave the side of the mother but is available at all times. She will assist no matter what type of birth the mother has decided on and offer support whatever decisions the mother has made. For example, if a caesarian is needed unexpectedly this often leaves a mother feeling unprepared and disappointed. The doula can offer comfort and help explain what is happening.

The client-doula relationship usually begins a couple of months before the baby is due. This enables a relationship to form and trust to develop. The mother should feel free to ask any questions and discuss any fears she has. The doula will provide reassurance as she usually has a wealth of experience from which to draw. She can explain procedures and offer suggestions which can help the mother to make informed decisions.

When in labor, a doula can give emotional support, helping to reduce anxiety. She will help to build confidence by giving encouragement. She is not there to take the place of a partner but to help in whatever way she can. For example, a partner may feel free to take a bathroom break knowing that the mother is not being left alone.

A doula will also be there to offer physical support during labor. This may be in the form of massage, relaxation techniques or helping the mother to breathe properly. It is often reassuring for a partner that this is being taken care of, freeing him to give the necessary emotional support to his partner. The power of touch has been proved to be very beneficial during this process, releasing oxytocin into the bloodstream which gives a sense of well being and a greater ability to handle pain.

Post-natal care is also offered by a doula. This can be invaluable in order to help the mother adjust to life with a new baby. Any problems with feeding or soothing the infant can be addressed. Emotional and physical support can be offered to help the mother to recover as quickly as possible. If there are any signs of post-natal depression, this will be picked up and she will get the help she needs.

Medical tasks are not within the scope of what a doula is required to do. She is also not there to make decisions which the mother should be making or to interfere in any way with the relationship between the mother and the medical professionals. In choosing a doula, it is important to find out whether she understands that her role is a complimentary one. The documented benefits of having a doula present during labor have meant more acceptance by the medical profession.

A doula does not usually charge for the first consultation and interview. This enables a mother to find a person with whom she feels comfortable and who she trusts. Questions may be asked about what training the doula has received, what services are provided and other factors such as fees charged and availability. In San Antonio birth doulas have the necessary training to offer support during this significant experience in the life of a woman.

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