Empowering Expectant Mothers

Understanding Doula Services

By Shannon Traphagen

When giving birth, the experience is joyous and magical, but can also be overwhelming for expectant mothers–whether it’s the first time or the third. Many women feel intimidated and vulnerable during childbirth, especially when there is a flurry of activity going on with and around them.Pregnant woman talking to midwife

Shannon Johns, of Calming Nature Birth Doula Services, says, “Giving birth is a miracle of life; a woman’s body can do the impossible. But sometimes it’s hard to trust that everything is going to be ok. That’s where a doula is so beneficial.”

Doula in Greek translates to women’s servant or services—women have been supporting each other for centuries, and having the support of a doula during childbirth helps women have a positive and safe birthing experience.

Doulas are professionally trained to provide emotional, educational, and physical support to expectant mothers. “A doula’s focus is entirely on the mom-to-be. It’s my job to make sure she is comfortable and not to stressed. It’s also important she makes her voice and wishes heard during childbirth. Professional medical staff are highly trained individuals and they do an amazing job. But sometimes the mother’s voice gets lost. That’s where I come in—I act as an advocate for her during the birthing process,” says Johns.

Doulas provide physical comfort in the form of pain-relief techniques that include, breathing, relaxation, massage, and laboring positions. According to the National Library of Medicine—National Institutes of Health, women having the support of a doula during childbirth are less likely to have pain-relief medications like oxytocin, less likely to have a cesarean (unless there is a medical emergency), and 60% less likely to request an epidural.

“What families need to understand is that doulas do not take the place of a doctor or medical staff. We are considered part of a family’s birthing team, but we are not trained as medical professionals,” states Johns, adding, “Fathers and partners are also a very important part of the labor process; we do not take their place during childbirth. We merely help support the entire family and the expectant mother during such a special and wonderful time.”

WNY Reference
Calming Nature Birth Doula Services will be holding a “Meet the doulas fall festival” on October 16th, 2016 at the Parkside Lodge in Buffalo. Tickets are $20.00. Each attendee will receive a hand knitted newborn hat, and facial or hand massage with purchase. For more information on this event or regarding services, please call 716.909.0074. You can also visit the website at www.calmingnaturedoula.com.