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If you missed part one or part two, click the links to catch up!

As we continue with this short series on some of the increasingly favored ways women choose to give birth, we're talking today about doulas-professionals who support women during their labors and births, but in a different capacity than midwives and OB's.

To start off today's topic, we asked Vinton doula Erica Foshe-Everett what exactly IS a doula?

Erica tells us that "A doula is a professional labor and birth support person. A doula will provide both physical and emotional support through comfort measures, encouragement, education and unconditional support of decisions made by the mother about her treatment and her babies treatment.

A doula is different from an OB or midwife because a doula does not provide any medical care or medical advice. We will not do cervical checks or exams, we will not listen for fetal heartbeats or care medically in any way for mother or baby."

We asked Erica what makes doula services beneficial for expecting mothers, and here's what she had to say:

"A doula can benefit a mother during labor, birth and postpartum because the mother, her partner, and family is allowed to focus solely on the mother and experience while a doula tends to the mother to help make her more comfortable and understand more of what is happening in a non-biased way.

Studies show doula care can lower the risks of complications and interventions such as inductions, cesareans, babies needing to be taken to the NICU and can even reduce postpartum depression because the care a doula provides can reduce the risk of having a traumatic birth experience."

Since becoming a doula seems to take a specific calling, we asked Erica what led to her interest in becoming a doula:

"I first became interested in being a doula after having my son, and after experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety. Thinking retrospectively about my birth experience, I realized how little of a choice I was given in my pregnancy care, birth care and postpartum care. I didn't know all my options, I had no one to explain it to me and no one there to support me or tell me I was not crazy for wanting more choices. My intention isn't to "fix that" but I did realize I would love to help women know they have more options than they're given, that they're allowed to ask questions about their care, and that they're not alone no matter what, your doula is going to be your strongest support."

When asked if women would only consider a doula for natural or home births, and Erica says that doulas are not just for natural births or home births, although they definitely are a big help in those instances. Erica tells us that you can use a doula if you plan a hospital birth if you are planning for interventions or even if you're planning for a cesarean there are still many ways a doula can help you in those situations.

Erica says "My favorite part of doula work is the fact that I get to help facilitate an experience that a mother is working very hard for, and I get to see her in a very powerful, intimate, important moment in her life and see how amazing it is. Birth truly is a miracle."

If you're interested in talking with Erica about her birth or postpartum doula services, you can reach her at 319-329-5982.

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