Frequently asked Questions
What do I do when birth starts?
Call your contract midwife
What is Doula?
Doula is your experienced supporter during pregnancy, birth and after birth
Doula is knowledgeable specialist and experienced mother. It is a person which presence is easy and peaceful. She is an attentive and empathetic woman capable of sharing her own positive birth experiences. These qualities of doula help women to relax, settle down, and trust birth.
Doula’s task – give undivided attention to woman, help her to find the woman’s strength and wisdom.
One of the main doula qualities is ability to respect and retain individuality of each birth. Doula and midwife tasks have some similarities, though there are differences. Doula does not perform any medical manipulations, she continuously takes care of woman’s emotional, mental and physical comfort. Therefore, doula harmonically complements the functions of medical staff.
Usually doula meets woman during pregnancy, accompanies woman from the onset of birth, provides support during birth and postpartum.
Doula supports woman during pregnancy. She helps mother-to-be to conquer fears and worries, to get tuned on happy anticipation wave. Many women, especially before first birth, feel unsecure. Doula promotes woman’s faith in her own strength, helps to develop connection with the baby in different birth periods. She guides woman to tune for good birth, helps decide when to head for hospital, and points out important topics in conversations with doctor.
We offer prenatal course “The Wonder of Birth”, individual consultations and invite to participate in Club gatherings.
As a rule, doula arrives at your home upon first signs of labour and stays with you until you reach hospital or birth home. She is beside you in the hospital, suggests optimal positions for pain relief during labour, offers drink or food, performs massage, helps retaining courage, supports and guides through your journey.
Doula reminds mother and doctor of the birth plan, explains labouring woman what is happening, if situation changes and doctor offers medical interventions. It is essential that your birth supporter stays with you during entire birth even if it lasts day and night, and is commited to give you exclusive support. Doula does not substitute your spouse. Your partner may be beside you during birth, while doula helps both of you. Not all the men are ready to witness birth process for hours, remaining peaceful and optimistic. That is easier for a woman having experience with birth and it is common that doula provides psychological support for whole family.
Scientific studies performed in 9 countries and covering more than 5000 women showed that birth together with doula is faster and easier, less often requires anaesthesia or labour augmentation, and less often leads to Caesarian section.
Does that mean that doula is necessary only if birth takes place in hospital? Not at all. Doula can provide support also during home birth. In Western countries many home birth midwives work in pair with a doula.
In first weeks after birth doula helps new mother to adopt her new role, explains how to care for the baby, supports breastfeeding, helps with the chores. Doula is always there to discuss birth experience, which becomes an important source of strength for the life in future.
Ask for doula, if:
- You need support during first days, weeks, months with your baby, while you master your new role of a mother or a father sufficiently. It does not matter if it is your first, second or third child. Every baby is unique, the relationship with her is created anew.
- You need consultation on breastfeeding.
- You need help with caring for your baby. Perhaps you do not feel secure bathing the baby, changing her clothes, or wish to master handling or wearing a sling. Maybe you do not know how to organize your life if the baby is very fussy.
- You need cheering up, to learn to trust your intuition of a mother.
- You wish to get information on raising baby during her first year of life. You wish to know more on arranging sleep patterns, organising strolling outside, when and how offer first food, how to entertain the baby etc.
Does doula need a medical education?
Usually it is midwife apprentices or psychologists who become doulas. Though it is not mandatory. Also women without special education but with good knowledge of pregnancy and birth physiology and newborn care can become doulas.
Doula does not perform any medical procedures, though she knows what medications or manipulations doctor might prescribe during labour, she is able to explain effects, and can help establish connection with doctor or midwife.
Does doula take responsibility of labour and birth process? How doula differs from midwife?
Doula is no doctor or midwife, she has no special medical education, so she cannot replace qualified birth attendant. Doula cannot perform internal vaginal examination to determine the dilation, or monitor foetal heartbeat, or prescribe anaesthesia. Doula cannot deliver the baby as midwife can, though she can assist, if necessary. Nevertheless, doula has extensive knowledge of pregnancy, birth and postpartum period. She knows labour pain reduction techniques, is able to perform massage and, most importantly, offer psychological support.
She can become a connecting point between labouring woman and medical staff. Sometimes it is not possible for a midwife to give full attention to labouring woman and be well aware of her wishes and desires. Then a helper comes in. She can explain the woman’s wishes, her initial plans.
Doula stays beside labouring woman for entire length of a labour and birth and at least two hours after birth.
Doulas skills and knowledge will help also a baby’s father to fell more relaxed and motivated, and allows participate in birth in such extent that is comfortable.
Doula can suggest massage techniques, optimal positions to support his labouring partner. Doula helps both parents to experience positive and unforgettable birth together.
Schedule appointment with a doula, if you wish:
- To receive exhaustive answers on your questions about pregnancy, birth, postpartum period;
- Share your fears and concerns associated with birth, and find ways to release them, so to anticipate baby’s birth in peace and joy.
- Find and acquire the most suitable relaxation methods for you that will help to relax during contractions.
- Make your individual “birth plan”, to articulate your wishes, find inner and outer resources to do your job during labour and birth.
- To receive full attention, care and support in pleasant circumstances.
Latvian traditional massage “elimination of “bristles””
There is no particular age for that. Most often it is performed in the first year of life. The best time is when baby is 6 to 12 weeks old.
It is believed that “bristles” must be eliminated in order to avert illnesses of baby, which cause fussiness, avert different mishaps (eye pain, back pain, hair loss), but mostly to avoid pimples on skin during adolescence.
Usually it is done by baby’s mother of midwife, but it can be done by several women at once.
There is short black hair, that may come out from baby’s skin during this massage.
Nowadays mother’s milk is used to massage the baby’s skin.
For this massage you will need: mother’s milk ~20 ml, disposable sheet and a towel.
Significant research on waterbirth, its safety and benefits was done by Igor Charkowsky in USSR in sixties of the last century. In seventies also French obstetrician Michael Odent studied waterbirth. After observing multiple benefits of waterbirth it became more popular in many Western countries.
As long as civilisation remembers itself, women have used water for relieving labour pain. There is a possibility of waterbirth in Latvia, although it is not for everyone.
more gentle conditions for baby’s brain,
improved elasticity of tissues,
natural pain reduction without medication.
In water, even if woman lays on her back, there is less pressure on aorta, and circulation improves.
Water has relaxing influence on placental vessels, they contract less and more nutrients are transmitted to baby’s blood. In such conditions it is easier to tolerate labour and baby’s brain function in lenient regime. Water relaxes mother, mother relaxes baby.
Stress promotes release of stress hormones which have adverse impact on mother as well as on baby. In order to protect vital organs like brain, heart, kidneys – stress hormones have great impact on blood distribution (in stress situation body does not consider uterus as an important organ). If blood inflow to the uterus is reduced, baby suffers oxygen deficit. But, if labouring woman is immersed in water, things improve.
Pressure on baby’s head during birth reduces by 30–40 %. Also it is easier to tolerate the atmospheric pressure.