Most new parents will tell you that navigating through those first few days after bringing home a new baby is anything but easy! Even for the most experienced parents, bringing home a new baby means changing routines, dividing time, and just trying to figure how to juggle it all! This is where the help of a postpartum doula can be the answer that parents are searching for. Postpartum Doulas assist families, who are bringing home a new baby whether that be through natural birth or adoption.
A postpartum doula provides evidenced based information on such things as breastfeeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, parental baby bonding, infant soothing techniques, and basic newborn care. A postpartum doula is there to help new families during those first few days and weeks after bringing home a new baby. Research shows that moms, dads, and babies have an easier time with this transition if a good support structure is in place.
The postpartum doula offers many services to her clients, but her main goals are to help "mother the mother" and nurture the entire family as they transition into life with a newborn. This would include doing things to help the mom and dad feel more confident in their roles, sharing education on family adjustment and tending to the unique needs of the new mother (american pregnancy association, the postpartum doula, www.americanpregnancy.org).
An Antepartum Doula's role is similar to that of a Postpartum Doula in that they both provide care for the mother and her family. The difference here is that an Antepartum Doula's main focus is supporting the mother during her pregnancy. She provides non-medical support to women, who may be on bed rest due to a high risk pregnancy, have severe morning sickness, or a single mother who needs help with other children in her home.
Emotional Support - by providing help and encouragement with issues that a client may be experiencing and a listening ear. Recognizing the signs and symptoms with postpartum depression, education on treatment and self care; and providing referrals to specialist in this area.
Informational Support - by providing resources such as; books, articles, support group information, websites, and referrals to local area professionals who work with expectant and postpartum women.
Physical Support - relaxation techniques, self care, time to rest, simple meal plans, and light house keeping (ex: laundry, tidying up the kitchen).