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Birth doula

WHAT IS A BIRTH DOULA

The word “doula” (Δούλα) comes from a Greek word meaning “woman’s servant”. Of course, the doula you hire is definitely not a servant, and may or may not be female, but the doula is in effect your helper. Doula is a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.

Countless scientific trials examining doula care demonstrate remarkably improved physical and psychological outcomes for both mother and baby. Doula has a positive impact on the well-being of the entire family. Doula supports women and families in all kinds of situations, who have different kinds of births and make a wide range of parenting choices. The services offered by a doula vary greatly according to the needs of the women, couple or family that she is working with.

Continuous support could improve several health outcomes for both the woman and her baby. Women may be more likely to have a vaginal birth without need of medical interventions.

Women who receive continuous support may be less likely to use pain medications, may have shorter labours, and may be more likely to be satisfied with their birth experience(Hodnett et al, 2011).

Doula is helping the woman to feel in control and confident by praising and reassuring her, and providing a continuous physical presence.

Doula is not a trained medical professional, so She does not replace your healthcare provider and also does not take a clinical role or work alongside midwives and doctors. She does not advise, but can support a woman to find balanced information to make informed decisions about her maternity care.

Doula meets with potential clients for an ‘interview’ before being booked. This gives both client and doula the opportunity to see if they are a good fit for each other — after all, you two will work closely together at a really important and personal time.

Keep in mind that Doulas from Bulgarian doula association DO NOT attend home births. Currently, bulgarian laws do NOT allow medical personnel to attend home births, which automatically excludes the possibility of support from the doula of such.

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I, as a doula, am supporting women during their birth to help them experience birth as a safe and satisfying experience and to empower them to have their dream birthing experience by educating them and helping them through each step during labor. I'm a qualified birth doula trained by DONA International and a breastfeeding consultant. I use my professional training, knowledge and experience to provide emotional support, physical comfort and, if necessary, communication with medical staff to help you make informed decisions during childbirth.

I work to inspire you and your accompanying partner with confidence and commitment to the birth process. I help with relaxation, massage, movement and other techniques to achieve comfort. As your doula, I work for you and not for the health care facility where you chose to give birth.

Before the birth I will meet you and your partner up to 3 times before the labor starts - to explore and discuss your priorities and possible concerns. Together we will discuss your birth plan and decide what is the most appropriate way to work with each other. I will also want to learn about your methods of dealing with fatigue and pain and how much you and your partner are planning to be together during the birth.

I'll let you know when I know I cannot attend births. For this period, I will take care to provide one or more qualified doulas that can replace me and which you will also be able to meet.

At birth, you call me when you think labor starts, even if you do not need me yet. I could answer your questions and give advice over the phone. Together, we will decide whether to come straight away or wait for development. I will usually need an hour to get to you from the moment you ask me to come. We can decide where to meet - at your home or directly at the health facility.

I will stay with you throughout the birth process, except for unforeseen situations that definitively hinder this.

After the birth I usually will stay with you one or two hours after birth until you feel comfortable and you are willing to stay alone in a relaxed atmosphere. I can help you with the beginning of breastfeeding, if necessary.

I am available to answer your questions about birth or your baby and I would be happy to stay in touch with you within a few weeks thereafter. We can meet to talk about birth experiences and get feedback from you about my work.

As a doula, I do not do the following:

1. Do not perform clinical tasks such as blood pressure measurement, baby’s heart rate checks, vaginal examinations, and more. I'm not a diagnostician. I am with you to provide only physical comfort and emotional support.

2. I do not make decisions for you. I will help you get the information you need to make an informed decision. I will remind you of the birth plan if deviations occur.

3. I do not negotiate with the staff on your behalf. I will discuss with you the issues that worry you and I will offer alternatives, but you or your partner should talk directly with the medical staff.

Inability to deliver the service: I will do my best to deliver the service described above. Sometimes it's impossible (for example, in very fast births). If my failure to attend your birth is due to my mistake, there will be no charge for my services and I will refund your previously paid fee (if any). If the inability to deliver the service is due to extraordinary circumstances or if you missed calling, I will hold the preliminary fee, but there will be no subsequent charging.

I take on a limited number of clients at any one time to make sure I can give you the full care and attention you deserve. By offering Prenatal Visits, my goal is to reduce any stress, allowing you to pay attention to your body and your baby.

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