Birth Doulas of Pittsburgh has been providing supportive birth doulas to women and their partners in hospitals, birth centers and at home since 1994. We understand that birth is a key life experience that the mother will remember all her life and we strive to support and nurture the birthing family.
Here is an overview of the services we provide:
During pregnancy, we get to know you throughout our prenatal visits and learn about your concerns and desires for your birth. We help you create a birth plan and provide reassurance and information throughout your pregnancy.
During labor, the mother is supported with continuous care. Unlike regular hospital staff, there are no shift changes. We understand that labor is an emotional, physical and spiritual event. We will help you with pain relieving measures such as relaxation, massage, positioning, breathing patterns, use of a birthing ball, water therapy and many other comfort techniques to work positively with your contractions.
We are also able to provide informational support, answering questions about the labor process and hospital procedures, as well as being your advocate to hospital staff while providing an objective viewpoint for you and your partner. We are also happy to take any pictures for you using either your camera or ours.
Immediately after birth, Birth Doulas of Pittsburgh stay with you through all postpartum procedures and help with breastfeeding assistance, information and support. During the first few days postpartum the doula stays in touch by phone to provide support and answer questions. Within two weeks of the birth we schedule a postpartum visit where you will receive your birth story and photos, if you chose to have them taken. We are happy to provide suggestions for making those first few weeks as successful as possible and look forward to discussing your feelings about the birth and encourage a confident peaceful passage into motherhood.
Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth:
Tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
Reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
A birth doula:
recognizes birth as a key life experience that the mother will remember all her life
understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
assists the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plans for the birth
stays by the side of the laboring woman throughout the whole labor
provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint, and assistance to the woman in getting the information she needs to make good decisions
facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and clinical care providers
perceives her role as one who nurtures and protects the woman’s memory of her birth experience
The word “doula” comes from ancient Greek and is now used to refer to a woman who helps other women. It has been applied to childbirth to refer to “a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth” (Klaus, Kennel and Klaus, in Mothering the Mother ). A doula is a woman who provides continuous physical, emotional, informative support to a laboring woman. Doulas do not replace your care provider, but are an addition team-member there for you. Although you are our sole interest, we never take the place of your partner; we want to strengthen your relationship. With our loving touch (if you desire) we can massage you throughout the labor, apply pressure where and when it is needed, and help you find the best position to deal with contractions. We can also help to protect your birth memories by taking pictures or writing a birth journal if you would like. Doulas also try to maintain the perfect atmosphere for you; may it be light music or complete silence. A Doula works with you to help ensure you have a positive birth experience.
For information on postpartum doulas and how they can help when baby comes home, please visit our sister organization, Pittsburgh Doula Network, for more information.