Monday, June 13, 2011

Postpartum Doulas Provide Vital Support to the Community

Postpartum doulas are knowledgeable professionals who assist families during the critical period immediately after the birth of their baby.  They “mother the mother” and offer physical, emotional and informational support to the family, as well as practical help.  The doula’s expertise in mother and baby care enables her to assist with postpartum comfort measures, breastfeeding support, non-judgmental guidance in infant care techniques, information on normal postpartum restoration, and family emotional assistance through this major transition.

These doulas provide essential support during the modern postpartum experience, a time when many mothers today feel uninformed, isolated and anxious.  Traditionally, the postpartum period was a “nesting period,” when a new mother was attended to by other experienced mothers.  They helped take care of her and her family, so that the mother could focus on the vital tasks of postpartum recovery, emotional adaptation to great change and getting to know her precious little one.

Today few families have such support, and frequently become exhausted and overwhelmed by the immense work of becoming parents.  Postpartum doulas gently guide and support families through this transition so that they may get off to the best start with their new baby.
The practical help that is included with a postpartum doula’s services vary, but most doulas make simple meals for the family, comfort and diaper the baby, answer the phone and door, and take care of the baby and any siblings while the parents nap, shower or take a much-needed break.  Some doulas will assist with laundry, errands or light housekeeping as well.

The doula is not a maid, though, nor is she a nurse.  She leaves diagnoses and clinical procedures to medically trained personnel, but will make referrals to a medical professional if she notices something of concern.  However, it is commonly felt that a doula can help a mother stay healthy and reduce her chances of postpartum complications.  She does this by educating the mother and enabling her to focus on her recovery from birth and to rest as much as possible.  Doulas keep the mother well nourished and hydrated, and help to reduce incidences of sleep deprivation and postpartum depression.  Studies have shown that with the help of a postpartum doula, breastfeeding duration is increased, while feeding problems and depression decrease.  Also, parents report feeling more confident and less stressed or anxious.

Darcy Sauers of Dover Doula offers postpartum doula  services in the Seacoast area and she is nationally certified by DONA (Doulas of North America).  Darcy is knowledgeable about many aspects of postpartum, including infant care and development, normal postpartum restoration and cesarean recovery, breastfeeding assistance, postpartum depression, facilitating bonding and more.   For more information contact Darcy via her website at or 603-988-5945.

From:  Perinatal Education Associates, Inc.

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