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A doulawattes? A perhaps more unfamiliar term in pregnancy jargon, but not entirely unimportant. A doula is a pregnancy or birth coach and she helps and guides the mom (and partner) during pregnancy, at birth and after delivery. In this blog we describe in detail what she does during each phase. A doula is not mandatory and each almost parent(s) should decide for themselves if this is what they would like. Curious what exactly a doula does? Then read on quickly. 

What is a doula?

The term doula comes from ancient Greek and means the serving woman. In the 21st century, we describe the doula as a pregnancy or birth coach. She is there for you (and any partner) and guides you through all mental and physical challenges. She is not a replacement for obstetrics or gynecologist and therefore never gives medical advice. She helps, guides and coaches the woman for the most enjoyable pregnancy and delivery possible. Think of it as your biggest cheerleader who is always there to encourage and support you through any fear or doubt (Doula, s.d.). 

The doula during pregnancy 

During pregnancy, the doula guides you in preparing for childbirth. She helps to draw up the birth plan - also known as the wishes of the birth -, is a listening ear, answers all non-medical questions and supports the mom (and partner) mentally and physically through the pregnancy. From week 37 of pregnancy, the doula is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So that when labor starts she can find her way to the hospital or location right away according to the wishes of the parent(s) (Doula Linda, s.d.). 

The doula during childbirth

The doula is there throughout the birth and helps the mom (and partner) to relax. When the mom is relaxed, she is in the best position to give birth. The doula has developed skills and tools for this. Think of a massage, help with an optimal birthing position and at breathing techniques, she assists in communication between the doctor and the mom, assists with decisions during the pregnancy, and can take pictures if desired. As mentioned earlier, she is there throughout the birth. So even if the birth takes fifteen hours, she is there for you (Doula, s.d.)! 

The doula after childbirth 

Even after you have brought your baby into the world, the doula is there for you. After delivery, she helps with the first feeding. Only when the mother (and partner) have completely recovered will she say goodbye. During the week of the birth the doula still visits you to look back on the birth. Many parents find this very pleasant, because they can get answers to certain questions or forgotten moments. The doula can, if desired, also write a birth story. This is a beautiful story of the pregnancy, the birth and the first hours after delivery. 

Cost

This varies per doula, but you should take into account an amount between €750,- and €1000,-. The basic insurance does not support doula care. Part of the costs are only covered by additional insurance that includes a reimbursement for a pregnancy course. Check your insurance policy well in advance or contact them (Independer, s.d.). 

Every woman and her partner, if any, must decide if they would like a doula to accompany them through the pregnancy, during the birth and after the delivery. For all questions during and after the pregnancy you can contact her. But above all she offers a listening ear, which is certainly not an unnecessary luxury during this exciting time in life.

Sources:

Doula. (s.d.). Doula.com - For help with your childbirth! Doula.co.uk. Accessed October 31, 2021, from https://www.doula.nl/

Doula Linda. (s.d.). What does a doula do. Accessed October 31, 2021, from https://doulalinda.nl/wat-doet-een-doula

Independer. (s.d.). Doula and your health insurance - Independer. Accessed October 31, 2021, from https://www.independer.nl/zorgverzekering/info/zwangerschap-en-zorgverzekering/doula

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