Many people have never heard of a doula. It is also common that expecting families are told by friends that they should hire a doula, yet they really don’t understand what they are or what they do. If either of those situations describe you The Doula Book may be worth a gander.
While it is, admittedly, a bit of a dry boring read, The Doula Book does a great job illuminating what a doula does and how a doula may be key to a great birth experience. It both explains the research findings about how doulas lower the need for birth interventions, such as c-sections, and also flushes out what they do and how their care makes a difference. It also discusses how to find and interview a doula.
I am a huge doula fan. If The Doula Book helps you take the plunge and hire a doula, it will be worth its weight in gold. Don’t be fooled by how it bores you, listen closely to what it is actually saying and imagine if it were applied to you.
The other thing The Doula Book may help you do is hire a good doula. Doulas are trained in a weekend. Anyone can become a doula. A good doula works well with your other birth attendants (nurse, doctor, midwife, family) and understands your unique strengths and desires. She works skillfully within the scope of of doula training, not overreaching to the realms of childbirth education or clinical care, and honors the work of your other care providers.
You need to interview prospective doulas and talk to people who have worked with them. Great doulas have the doula sense when they first step into this work and develop exponentially through experience. You will want to find someone with both the right “being” skills and good number of births under their belt. The Doula Book may help you think more specifically about what skills, services, and attitudes you are looking for in a doula, and assure that you hire one who will truly live up to all the wonderful potential a doula holds.
The Doula Book’s Authors, Marshall H. Klaus, John H. Kennell, and Phyllis H. Klaus
Marshall H. Klaus, MD, is an internationally known neonatologist, having held key academic and clinical positions at various institutions, in either pediatrics or neonatology. Currently affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, Klaus travels extensively, conducting research, lecturing, and consulting.
John H. Kennell, MD, was a pediatrician and neonatologist who, as professor of pediatrics at Case Western Reserve Medical School, pioneered work on infant-maternal bonding. His work was a major catalyst for changes in hospital procedure, allowing mothers more time with infants, sibling visits, and fathers in the delivery room. Kennell passed away in August, 2013.
Phyllis Klaus, MFT, LMSW is a licensed psychotherapist and social worker who has extensive experience in the psychology of pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. She has been involved in the training of maternity caregivers. She teaches and practices in Santa Rosa and Berkeley, California, providing psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, and counseling to individuals, couples, families, children and groups.
All three authors are founders of DONA International, the oldest and largest doula organization in the world.