“What? That’s like a midwife, right?”
This is usually the response I get after telling someone what I do for a living. I’m a doula. More specifically, I’m a labor doula. I am a non-medical professional who partners with expectant families during one of the most wonderful, and sometimes anxiety-inducing, times in their lives. I am a listening ear, an accessible resource, a couple of broad shoulders to lean on, and I've been told that I have one heck of a hip squeeze!
If you pay attention to international news, I might be called a royal hand holder.
While midwives share some of these same qualities, the main difference is that midwives are medically trained professionals. Midwives receive training for pregnancy and birth through nursing and midwifery school (CNM) or through apprenticeship under a seasoned midwife (CPM, Traditional Midwife, or Direct-Entry Midwife) and are in charge of the medical well-being of the birthing person and the baby. Doulas also receive training for pregnancy and birth but they do not perform any medical tasks or procedures.
Although they are armed with a wealth of knowledge and an interesting skill set, they do not catch babies.
Doulas respect and support the desires of their clients. Doulas provide support in all settings: hospital, birth center, or home. Doulas support all types of births: vaginal, non-medicated, medicated, epidural, cesarean, or VBAC. Doulas are a part of the team. They do not replace husbands, partners, parents, siblings, or best friends.
Their main focus is providing the expectant family with resources and information to help them make decisions regarding their care and the care of their baby, being a continuous supportive presence, emotionally and physically, during pregnancy and the labor process, and providing continued support immediately after birth and into the postpartum period, or fourth trimester.
Doulas are in no way a substitute for the medical care of a midwife or obstetrician. They are a valuable asset and extension of the support team that the expectant family has already begun to form with their care provider. Doulas do not speak on behalf of their clients or make any decisions for them.
Doulas work with midwives and obstetricians to help foster a healthy doctor-patient relationship, facilitate effective communication with their providers, and a continuity of care throughout the pregnancy and postpartum period. They are knowledgeable, compassionate, and consistent professional birth companions whose main goal is being there for their clients.
If you live in the North Metro Atlanta Area and know this is the type of support you desire during for your pregnancy and birth, feel free to reach out to North Atlanta Concierge Doula Services and see how we can work together to prepare you for your birth and the parenting journey ahead. We offer in-home consultations and prenatal meetings where you can find out what all the hype is about regarding that awesome hip squeeze!