Planning for a postpartum doula support can take place before pregnancy, during pregnancy, or immediately after childbirth. As research suggests, it can make the postpartum period more manageable. Here’s everything you need to know about postpartum doulas in Türkiye.
In our country, postpartum doulas have not yet gained substantial popularity. However, based on research on professional postpartum support and the work of doulas in the United States and some European countries, it is without a doubt that it will soon be in greater demand as a service.
Defining the Role and Responsibilities of a Postpartum Doula
Originating from ancient Greek, ‘doula’ translates to ‘serving woman.’ Today, the term doula is used to refer to a professional who supports women during childbirth and the postpartum period.
A postpartum doula provides support, particularly in the period following childbirth. Your doula may have supported you during pregnancy and childbirth or you may have agreed to receive support solely in the postpartum period.
Regardless, your doula will strive to make your initial days with your baby as supported and comfortable as possible.
Key Services and Support Provided by a Postpartum Doula
When you decide to work with a postpartum doula, it is first necessary to plan at which stage after childbirth you will receive support. You may choose to involve your doula from the pregnancy stage or plan to initiate her services immediately post childbirth in the hospital. A doula also provides services in your home and, if conditions permit, can even spend the night as part of her service plan if you demand a postpartum doula overnight.
Postpartum support can be organized for sessions spanning a few hours to half-day companionships, with the frequency tailored to the mother’s needs. Some doulas have specific work programs and may not deviate from these service packages, while others can plan a service flow according to the needs of the mother.
While a doula alone cannot ensure a better, healthier postpartum period, the sense of comfort and support provided by doula support can empower the mother. Who wouldn’t want a personal support unit to visit them a few days a week during such a significant transition period?
In addition, if the mother has any difficulties with breastfeeding, the postpartum doula can assist or direct her. Unless a postpartum doula has received separate valid training or is not a midwife, she cannot provide breastfeeding counseling. However, she can suggest simple methods to make breastfeeding more comfortable.
The postpartum doula is also knowledgeable about basic baby care and can at least look after the baby while the mother takes a long bath. Receiving such intimate support during the intense postpartum period can help the mother focus on her own needs and her baby in a healthier way.
While supporting new mothers, postpartum doula services can assist with:
– Personal care,
– Basic daily baby care (baby’s first bath, diaper changing, etc.),
– Basic tasks related to home organization,
– Basic information on breastfeeding.
– Direct the family to health professionals when medical support is needed.
The service definition of a postpartum doula is quite broad. While you are trying to adapt to the first days of motherhood, your doula can take the burden of distracting matters off your shoulders. (If you work with a “holistic doula“, she could provide much more!)
Some doulas may assist with the mother’s housework, meet needs such as shopping, cleaning, or organize help in these areas. While the mother is focused on feeding her baby, the doula can prepare food for her or just remind her to eat.
When visitors come to celebrate and meet the baby, the doula looks after the mother’s needs uninterruptedly and makes her comfortable.
Exploring the Supportive Role of a Postpartum Doula in New Motherhood
A postpartum doula works to mitigate the mother’s psychological and physiological fatigue. Postpartum hormonal changes and the process of physical recovery can trigger feelings of tension, confusion, panic, and helplessness in the mother. The postpartum doula empathetically listens to understand the mother’s emotional state during this period and, if necessary, ensures she receives professional help. She can also offer a gentle and compassionate massage to help the mother rest her body.
Support provided by postpartum doulas to mothers has been found beneficial in many research studies. These supports have been shown to reduce the mother’s risk of postpartum depression, facilitate breastfeeding, and improve the overall health and well-being of the mother and baby. However, it is also stated that further research is needed.
Scientific research on the benefits of postpartum doula services generally shows an improvement in the mother’s overall experience and health during the postpartum process. For instance, one study showed that postpartum doulas provided information to mothers and positively affected the postpartum experience by providing support in breastfeeding, baby care, and the mother’s self-care.