As you enter pregnancy and the birthing process, you may be considering the help of a postpartum doula. A certified doula plays an important role in the rest and recovery process of a new mother. Their practical support during this critical time could make all the difference in your 4th trimester experience. Deciding if doula support is right for you will take some research, but this post will help answer some frequently asked questions.
What is a Postpartum Doula?
A postpartum doula is a professional who helps and guides new mothers by giving them information, emotional and physical assistance after birth as well as before birth. A postpartum doula helps with easing mommy into motherhood by helping with breastfeeding, caring for baby, recovering her amazing body, and being someone to lean on when no one else is around. The fourth trimester can be taxing, and a postpartum doula may help tremendously.
What is the Benefit of Having a Postpartum Doula?
Postpartum doulas are an extremely helpful tool to have when going through the fourth trimester with your new baby. The great thing about a postpartum doula is their expertise extends far beyond birth. They are great at making mom comfortable with their new baby and the new routines. The doula is there to help wherever they may be needed. Their tasks may vary from mom to mom, but any type of support is beneficial.
A family who hires a postpartum doula will get help with caring for the baby, tips on breastfeeding, cleaning the home, as well as emotional support. If you choose to hire a doula, be open and honest with them about your needs so they can help you how they see fit. Don't hesitate to ask for help so you can enjoy time with your baby and recover appropriately. Their presence will give you a stress-free environment to make the transition at home easier on mom, baby, and partner. There are many benefits of a postpartum doula for first time parents.
How Long Should I Have a Postpartum Doula For?
There is no prescribed time frame for how long a doula can help a family. The time period will vary from family to family based on their needs. New moms can gauge how much help they need and adjust accordingly. If you hire a doula, discuss timing with them so everyone is on the same page from day one.
A new mother and her family members may benefit from a postpartum doula for just a few weeks, while other families may need help for a longer period of time. Some mothers request help for closer to three months when everyone has adjusted and hormones have somewhat returned to normal. There's no right or wrong answer as long as you feel the doula is helpful during your postpartum period.
Why is Having a Doula Important?
Doulas are amazing because they help families get the support they need to avoid postpartum depression and ease into life as new parents. The emotional experience of having a baby can take a toll on everyone. A mother's mental health is important and is often the top priority for postpartum doulas. Sure, they will help care for the baby, but many focus on the well-being of mom. They offer great postpartum care for the whole family.
What Does a Postpartum Doula NOT Do?
While a doula is there to help during the postpartum period, their role does not consist of speaking for the mother or the family. When it comes to other professionals or doctors, the mother and her family will speak for themselves. If needed a doula can provide her observational expertise to the mother or to a doctor, but it's up to the patient to make final decisions and speak for themselves. They also do not provide medical care or practice medical procedures.
What is the Difference Between a Birth Doula and a Postpartum Doula?
A birth doula and a postpartum doula differ slightly in that a birth doula helps the mother during labor and delivery while the postpartum doula help once baby is home. Postpartum doula services extend past the hospital and even into the night time routine. Some postpartum doulas are also birth doulas so they can work with your family throughout the whole process: from pregnancy to birth to the fourth trimester. If you can find a trained postpartum doula that specializes in all of those areas and you two are a good fit, you've hit the jackpot!
Are Doulas Worth it?
It has been shown that postpartum doula care may help greatly with cutting back time during labor. Many moms report having lower anxiety and stress levels as they approach birth as well as fewer C-sections and medical interventions during labor. Post-birth, they are helpful for a mother's physical and mental well-being. While not all women will seek out a postpartum doula, any that do report mostly positives. If you want to hire a doula, do your research to find one that fits your goals when it comes to the third and 4th trimester.
All in all, you can't go wrong with hiring a postpartum doula to help with your new addition to the family. They might just help with those baby blues and getting you through those early weeks so you can focus on care of the baby and your physical recovery. Ask around your area and your local hospital to find doulas that may work with you. Postpartum services are a great resource if insurance covers their care or you can afford them.
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