Rumors continue to fly off the handle as the whole world waits for the birth of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s royal baby.
According to USA Today, the topic of whether Meghan decided to bring a doula in to assist with the birth of her baby has caused a bit of a stir, as many want to know more about what doulas are.
Today reveals part of the reason for the trending topic is because many mistakenly assume midwives and doulas are the same thing. While they are both a type of birthing companions, they each have different responsibilities.
Today goes on to clarify there are several different types of midwives — what they offer during one’s pregnancy and birthing process varies, depending on what training they have received. Typically, a midwife will be involved during the delivery of a baby. A doula, on the other hand, focuses more on tending to the emotional health of the mother.
In some cases, a couple’s birthing team may include both a midwife and a doula.
If Meghan decided to bring a doula into the picture to assist in the birth of the royal baby, she wouldn’t be the first celebrity to make this decision. USA Today reports Jessica Biel, Nicole Kidman, and Erykah Badu have all hired doulas.
What is a Doula?
Ravae S.M. Sinclair, a certified doula and president of DONA International, believes it is important to clarify that a doula is not a medical professional. A doula is a companion that is trained to provide support during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum.
“Doulas do not do anything medical. We are the emotional support and we give lots of information,” Sinclair explained.
“Even if you go to all the classes, read all the books, a lot of that stuff you don’t know how it applies in the moment, and you might forget because there’s a lot of pressure.”
According to Sinclair, a doula benefits a family during pregnancy and childbirth by offering support coupled with a level of emotional distance that a family member is not capable of providing.
When a mother makes the decision to bring in a doula, they will sit down and work on the birth plan with the couple. Then, the doula can advocate for the couple’s wishes if they are unable to do so. For example, if a mother doesn’t want to use painkillers during childbirth, the doula can make sure this is wish is relayed to the medical staff.
Today reports that while doulas are welcomed in most hospitals across the United States, there are some obstetricians who refuse to work with them, as they believe they step on their toes and interfere with the birthing process.
According to a study by NPR, doulas have played a role in reducing the number of C-sections and preterm births.