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What to Look for in a Doula

By: Shelli Villagomez

Shelli Villagomez | @shellis_holistic_chronicles

Let’s face it, shopping around for a doula can be a little…daunting. You want to find someone who you connect with and trust, someone who can provide the type of support you need, and who will help you achieve your ideal birth. Is that too much to ask? Definitely not! As a Holistic Doula, I have some pointers on how to find a doula that best matches your needs.

OK, but what’s a doula?

To boil it all down, a doula is a continuous labor companion that provides

Having the right birth team like a doula, chiropractor and birth provider to help make your birth experience exactly what you want as the birthing person.
9 months pregnant

informational/educational, physical, and emotional support throughout pregnancy, labor, and immediate postpartum. They typically meet with you several times during pregnancy to provide education about birth, answer questions that arise during pregnancy, and build a relationship with you and your partner or family members that will be present during labor. A doula can also show you where to find evidence based information about any aspect of pregnancy/birth/postpartum that you are interested in learning about. Importantly, a doula will be with you continuously during labor and birth to provide comfort measures and emotional support as you bring your baby into the world. They can also provide you with referrals for trusted specialists in your community, such as pelvic floor therapists, Webster certified chiropractors, acupuncturists, lactation consultants, and much more!

Different needs require different doulas!

All of that sounds pretty great, right? It is! Studies have shown that having a doula can decrease your risk of having a Cesarean birth, decrease the use of interventions, can shorten labor time, and greatly increases the overall satisfaction of the birth experience felt by the birthing person and their partner. However, just like everyone has a different coffee order, everyone needs a different combination of support from a

Stress in baby's nervous system can happen as early as the birthing process (birth interventions, fast birth, birth trauma) calls for a specific and gentle adjustment on newborns.
A doula + chiropractor to remove birth stress

doula. Some people want help finding all the research and studies, while others might prefer someone who will tell them affirmations and give comforting massages during labor. Figuring out what type of support you want is the first step in finding your perfect doula. Note: womxn of color are at a much higher risk for unfavorable birth outcomes due to institutional racism and health care disparities, so a doula can be a vital person to have on your team to ensure your needs are met and preferences are advocated for.

Important things to look for in your doula:

In my opinion, one of the most important things to look for in a doula is their connection with you. Birth is sacred and you want someone who makes you feel good, safe, and supported. A big part of this is having a doula who is unbiased. A major difference between a doula and other members of your birthing team is that your doula doesn’t work for a hospital or organization-they work for you! So your birth preferences are important for your doula

to know. That way, they can help you and support you during your birth. A great doula can show you where to find evidence based information on birth, and then support your informed decision without personal bias or ego. I always say, “my goal is for you to have an empowered birth, whatever that may look like for you!” I want you to have access to quality information so you feel good about the decisions you make in the moment.

What about a Holistic Doula?

A Holistic Doula is a doula who focuses on your mind, body, and spirit during this important chapter of your life. This type of doula might be a good fit for someone who is looking for energetic, spiritual, or holistic care as well as the typical doula support. A Holistic Doula may also be trained in several holistic healing and wellness techniques that they might use to support you (ex: reiki healing, reflexology, meditation, or yoga). Many people want to work on their own emotional or energetic healing as they prepare to bring a child into the world and become a parent- for those individuals a holistic doula might be a great match for them!

Here’s the Takeaway

Finding a doula that you connect with is important, so take advantage of a free consultation with a doula to see if they are the right match for you. If needed, you can interview a few doulas before choosing one that aligns with your preferences and offers the support that you need. If you have a special circumstance or need, there are most likely doulas who have experience in what you need or have tools to support you- just ask! Finding your doula match is an important step in building your supportive birth team!

By: Shelli Villagomez

Shelli Villagomez | @shellis_holistic_chronicles

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