Natural delivery means different things to different women.
If you want to deliver at home, your doula will meet you there, when you're ready. You will have help finding and setting up the accouterments you desire, from a ball to an inflatable tub. In the home environment your doula can help fill the role that you would if you weren't in labor. Though the specific details are up to you, it is normal to see a doula getting a meal ready for your family, helping tidy and prepare, and making phone calls to the people you want to keep informed. Of course, the main purpose of your doula is to help keep you comfortable during labor and delivery through massage, gentle touch, guiding words and affirmations, and physical positioning. When you're at home, those other things are just an added bonus.
If a freestanding birth center is in your plans, your doula can still meet you at home when labor starts and can stay with you through your transition to the center. If you want to labor alone or just with your partner, you can also have your doula meet you at the birth center. It's all up to you! Wherever, and whenever you decide your doula to meet you, you can expect to receive support and guidance from that time forward.
Some women feel more comfortable delivering in a hospital, or must for medical reasons. Doulas are welcome in hospitals and are trained to support you in this environment, too. They proffer an added benefit for the nursing staff by providing for many of your emotional and physical needs, allowing the nurses more time to focus on their special training. Your doula will never get in the way of your communication with your provider. Your doulas job is to help you ask the right questions, make informed decisions, and foster positive relationships with you and your healthcare team.
It is now becoming common to see doulas in the operating room during c-sections. Where previously this was thought of as unnecessary due to the level of control in this environment, their immense benefit is now being widely acknowledged. Doulas can help inform you and your partner, answer questions, help you connect with the birth experience, and facilitate bonding and nursing while still in surgery. Since the physical rigors of doula work can be less demanding in the operating room, there is often more time to do things like take pictures (which are usually, but not always allowed). If you are planning a scheduled c-section, check with the anesthesiologist on staff to make sure your doula will be allowed to accompany you. In most hospitals, doulas do not count toward the limited number of elective support people you are allowed to have.
Whatever your method of delivery, a doula can help make it amazing.
If you'd like to learn more about how a doula can support your unique birth, contact us.