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Freedom Living Blog

  • Writer's pictureAndria Seals

Doulas: What They Do and Why You Need One

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

Natalie Garza, Doula

Natalie Garza with WOMB in BLOOM has been a doula for 2.5 years with certifications as a birthing, lactation, and postpartum doula and placenta encapsulation and blood-born pathogens. She has birthed all three of her own children at home and subsequently studied for her doula certification through Debi Church, CPM-TN, the chair of the Certified Professional Midwives Council for the State of Tennessee. Furthermore, Natalie has travelled to rural Tanzania for cross-cultural doula experience by serving and supporting women in the Maasai community. In addition to home birthing, Natalie is passionate about educating and empowering women and moms about natural health and clean living. When not attending a home birth, she can be found homeschooling her three children, spending time outdoors, and traveling.

What is a doula?

The Greek root word means “woman who serves”. Natalie says, “I am your emotional support, your shoulder to cry on, your personal Google, accountability partner, coach, cheerleader, friend, teammate.” A doula is tasked with learning the ins and outs of your birthing wishes and doing their very best to support your mind, body, heart, and soul through your home birthing journey. “If the way you planned doesn’t go as hoped, I help you navigate a new plan that you’re most comfortable with. I help with feedings, teaching proper latch and feeding positions, and refer you to other breastfeeding professionals if needed.” It is inevitable that fears and doubts will come up if this is your first home birth – a doula is present throughout your pregnancy and at your birth to help you confront your fears and dispel your doubts. The female body was literally designed for this!

Why are you a doula?

“My home births were the most transformative events I’ve ever entered into in my life. I was so empowered by them that I wanted to share that with other women so they, too, can experience their own power. To be massaged, swaddled, fed nourishing meals, and had herbal baths prepared for me would have set me up with enough confidence to face any postpartum challenge that came my way. I became a doula – a caretaker of women – to give moms in and around my community that encouragement, love, and full pampering. You deserve it.”

What is the difference between a midwife and a doula?

A midwife’s role in birth is as the medical care provider, present to focus on the health of mother and baby. The attending midwife delivers the baby, checks vital signs (pulse, weight, etc), performs afterbirth repair and postpartum wellness visits. A doula’s role is the emotional, mental, and physical support – she is there to be a resource and encouragement. Natalie, as many other doulas do, focuses on education, natural pain management techniques, and general labor support. Together, a midwife and doula serve as your wellness team of birthing professionals dedicated to working together to insure ensure your overall well-being in pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.

What are the benefits of a home birth?

When birthing at home, you are familiar with your surroundings and don’t have to ask anyone where things are. Your midwife is with you throughout the entire process – that means there are no shift changes between nurses! As a result, there is no need to reiterate your wishes or being left alone for who-knows-how-long while hospital staff care for another mom down the hall. Many moms, including myself and Natalie, report feeling more empowered, relaxed, and safer birthing at home instead of the hospital. You can eat what and when you want, wear (or not wear) what you want, DO what you want. You get to labor and birth however is most comfortable for YOU, not how is most convenient for the doctor and nurses. Not to mention, you get to go right into your own bed with hot tea, snacks, and lots of baby snuggles. You aren’t interrupted or kept from resting after such a victorious feat. Simply put, at home you get to birth YOUR way.

What is your biggest tip for people considering home birth?

“Hire a doula. She’ll be worth every penny. Make a birth plan, but don’t fully rely on it. While birth is unpredictable, it is important to know what your wishes are surrounding your birth. You also need to prioritize self-care! Take care of yourself or let someone else (ie. postpartum doula) take care of you so you can be present and fully care for your baby. Oh – and drink more water!”

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