This week is Black Maternal Health Week, and in that, I will be sharing my experiences with both of my babies while sharing the importance of listening to your mind, body, and soul as you prepare to bring another life into this world. Before you think “Well, I’m not pregnant, so this post isn’t for me.”; it still can be. Educating yourself early can help when that time does come.
I’ll be the first to admit that I was very naive when I was pregnant with Dallas. I did my research and was well aware of what I thought would happen, but I guess I kind of expected everything to go alright. Only once did Jarrod and I have the conversation on what would happen if he had to make the tough decision between the baby and me after that we didn’t talk about it anymore. This time around,I was more aware and even had the opportunity to sit down with a doula and discuss my birthing plan. Even though I had already had one baby, times change, three years make a world of difference. Not to mention we are in the middle of a global pandemic.
Did you know Black women are more than likely to be mistreated by the health care system? Scary right, you would think you willbe in safe hands ,but sometimes that is not always the case. For this very reason, it is important to have someone there with you to advocate with you, such as a doula. A few weeks before I had Demi, I had the opportunity to meet with my girl Britteny who happens to be a doula. We went through the ins and outs of what would happen during labor and decided on what I wanted my birth plan to look like,t was amazing!hile I wasn’t able to follow everything, we put together, I definitely was able say yay or nay to what I wanted and what I didn’t want.
For all my mommas out there, I think you would agree that each birth is different. I think you would also agree that you learn something new along the way. During such a crazy time in life when you just want time to stand still wouldn’t be amazing to have someone there to advocate for you while you and your significant other can enjoy the moment. As awareness is being brought to Black maternal health, I thought it would fantastic to have Britteny share with my socialites the ins and outs of being a doula.
- What type of Doula are you, and what are the differences in services?
- Doulas are trained non-medical professions who offer educational, physical, and emotional support to families. There are many different types of doulas and some people may actually offer multiple services! I’m a DONA trained birth doula which means I trained with a national doula organization in how to assist families throughout their pregnancy and during their birth. I also offer some limited postpartum support to help connect new parents to resources and information they may need in the first weeks baby is home. There are postpartum doulas who assist new parents with emotional support, childcare for older children, laundry, and other day-to-day housekeeping tasks to help families transition. Antepartum doulas serve parents who are experiencing high-risk pregnancies and may need additional emotional support.
- Can you explain the difference between a doula, midwife, and other pregnancy support? How does a momma determine which one is right for her?
- The main difference between doulas and midwives is that while doulas offer non-medical support in the form of information, encouragement, and physical comfort measures during labor such as massage and acupressure, midwives and OBGYNs offer medical care diagnosing disease and disorders, monitoring the progress of a pregnancy and actually delivering babies. In determining which provider is right for a birthing person and their family, they should first understand that depending on where they are delivering they may be able to have it all! They should also note that while midwives offer a more natural approach to pregnancy, labor, and delivery they are not limited to home births or birth centers, and many work in hospitals alongside OBGYNs and other hospital-based staff. Whether you decide to work with an OBGYN, midwife, or both, a doula is a wonderful addition to your birth team.
- Why is it so important to have a doula during pregnancy/delivery?
- It is important to consider having a doula as part of your pregnancy support/delivery team because they take the time to get to know you and your desires for your pregnancy and delivery. Doulas are incredibly knowledgeable on the topics of pregnancy and birth and can advise families in an unbiased manner. They offer a listening ear, working with you to ensure that you have the education and information you need to advocate for yourself throughout your pregnancy and help to ensure that those desires are brought to fruition during the whirlwind that is labor and delivery. By the end of pregnancy, many parents consider doulas to be a part of the family.
- What are some tips you would suggest for mommas as they prepare for delivery during the pandemic?
- My first piece of advice would be to find and hire a doula! A doula will help you to understand your options during these uncertain times. Second, I would advise all pregnant families to attend a childbirth education class. This will help you understand the labor & delivery process and advocate for the birth you desire. Finally, if possible (check with your doctor) plan to spend early labor at home! Arriving at the hospital too early can put you at risk for unnecessary interventions. You should leave for the hospital once your contractions are 4 minutes apart and lasting 1 minute for an hour. Remember 4-1-1!
- How can doula’s support momma’s postpartum?
- We were never meant to recover and transition to parenthood alone. It truly takes a village! Postpartum doulas offer amazing support during the first few weeks home with the new baby. They may help with preparing meals, breastfeeding support, running errands, and just keeping your household in order while you and your family recover from birth and get used to your new family member. They can be in addition to any family support you may have or act as the sole support and help during what can be a very stressful time.
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