Sunday, July 17, 2011

Books: The Doula Advantage

The Doula Advantage: Your Complete Guide to Having an Empowered and Positive Birth with the Help of a Professional Childbirth Assistant
by Rachel Gurevich

I just finished reading The Doula Advantage and have found it a great overview of the doula profession.

Rachel Gurevich covers why doulas are needed in our modern society, a great overview of the research on labor doulas, such as on the positive birth experience, the reduced need for pain medication, breastfeeding and bonding, and medical interventions overall. She then describes in detail each role the labor doula plays: Informational, Emotional, Physical, and more.

There is a chapter devoted especially to Dads and Doulas and commonly asked questions, especially by those who are unsure about the interplay between dads and doulas. This chapter even includes the opinions by dads who have hired doulas themselves.

There is also a chapter explaining the facts surround many myths about doulas and epidurals, for example: "Doulas are only interested in supporting women who plan on giving birth without medication," "Doulas push their opinions and philosophies onto their clients," "A doula will make me feel guilty if I 'chicken out' and choose to use medication," and "Women who use medication during childbirth do not need the services of a professional labor support person. There will be nothing for the doula to do." If you are interested in the truth behind these myths, I encourage you to pick up this book!

The book explains the different roles of the doula vs the labor nurse, the doctor, the midwife, as well as birth locations. It also explains the difference between a postpartum doula and a maid, baby nurse, lactation counselor.

Most importantly, the book is a fantastic resource for how to find a doula, how to decide what kind of doula is the right one for you, how to interview a doula, and how to hire one.

The Doula Advantage is full of quotes, testimonials, opinions, and unique experiences of women who have used a Labor Doula, Postpartum Doula, or Antepartum Doula which are extremely helpful for anyone interested in finding a doula.

The most interesting aspects of the book for me, as a labor doula, was the detailed explanation of what exactly a Postpartum doula does and doesn't do, and the information on Antepartum doulas (which are the least known type of doula). I also enjoyed the part on Becoming a Doula, which is full of great information for anyone to know to help understand what goes into training, business, and lifestyle of a doula. Most importantly, Gurevich outlines the Six Traits that all Great Doulas Must Have:
1. Self-motivation
2. A desire for lifelong learning
3. Perceptiveness
4. Passion
5. Flexibility
6. Professionalism

Even if you are a friend of a doula or a doula yourself there is something to learn from this great book!

I would recommend The Doula Advantage book to women, men, mothers, fathers, doctors, midwives, nurses, family members, etc who are:
- New to the concept of a doula,
- Unsure exactly about the role of a doula, postpartum doula or antepartum doula and the benefits the doula provides,
- Looking to hire a doula and get a better idea of how to go about doing so,
- Interested in becoming a doula themselves!

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