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The doula is a woman, usually a mother, who accompanies another in the process of becoming a mother, before or during pregnancy, in childbirth and postpartum, as well as in difficult situations such as the loss of the expected baby.
Besides being a mother, the pedagogue Nuria Otero Tomera is a doula and co-founder and vice president of the Maternal Project, and vice president of the Raising with the Heart Association. In this interview on our site she talks about how doula work is done.
What does the doula's job consist of?
The job of the doula is to accompany, to be next to the pregnant woman. It is a fundamentally emotional accompaniment (sometimes also physical), we are next to the woman to provide support, so that she does not feel alone at this time. The people who accompany us on a personal and family level (friends, partner, family) advise and often judge women in their decision-making. The doula accompanies without advising or judging, simply supporting the woman's conscious decision-making, giving her information, but also support.
What benefits does the doula bring to the pregnant woman, before and after delivery?
Scientific studies have shown that the emotional support provided by the doula translates into very important results on the development of labor. The data collected in the study A doula makes the difference by Nugent, reveal that:
1.During labor and delivery:
- reduction of caesarean section rates by 50 percent.
- reduction in the duration of labor by 25 percent.
- Reduction of epidural requests by 60 percent.
- 30 percent reduction in the use of analgesia.
- 40 percent reduction in the use of forceps.
2.During the postpartum period, women who had the support of a doula 6 weeks after delivery:
- showed less anxiety and postpartum depression.
- showed greater trust with their baby.
- greater satisfaction (71 percent of cases compared to 30 percent of the cases studied that did not have the presence of a doula).
- greater probability of a successful breastfeeding (52 vs 29 percent).
What are the main problems faced by pregnant women today?
We face various problems. On the one hand, a medical system that considers us sick, which makes a completely normal process pathological. And it is very difficult not to be enveloped by fear, when the professionals who care for us do not trust the bodies of women and the babies that are to come.
And the future dad, can he count on the support and guidance of the doula?
The father, normally, has this support through the mother, although it is true that many are interested, ask and ask for direct guidance, or consult them about the woman's problems. It depends a lot on each couple and on how the relationship is structured, as well as on the level of awareness about the importance of the processes that both have.
How is the doula different from the matron?
Throughout! We are different figures. The midwife is in charge of caring for, assisting with normal delivery, observing and checking that the delivery is proceeding normally and, if at any time a difficulty occurs, knowing how to act accordingly. They also inform and accompany, obviously, during pregnancy and postpartum, during lactation. The role of the doula is another. It is not our role to attend the birth, but to be with the mother and accompany her, without making decisions.
What characteristic must a woman have to be a doula?
Wanting to be. Knowing how to be, more than knowing how to do.
What are the difficulties that the doula encounters in her work?
Currently, the greatest difficulty is the lack of knowledge that exists about our work. Many confuse us with midwives or think that because there is no official qualification there is no training, and that is not true. We study a lot, we learn a lot, even if it's not through official channels.
Nuria Otero Tomera
Blog - Ser Doulas
Doulas in Spain
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