Daria Utkina, the creator of the Très bébé and Mamala.online project, explained how to choose a hospital if you are planning to give birth with a doula, and told what this specialist does before, during and after childbirth.
As a child, I was the child with whom they were not afraid to leave babies. While everyone was playing in the sandbox, I was already rolling strollers with the neighboring children. I studied at the psychology department of Moscow State University, specialization was associated with child psychology. 10 years ago, in the 5th year, she gave birth to a daughter and faced a lack of information about the psychological side of childbirth. And given that in my circle I was one of the first who gave birth to a child, I had to figure it out myself.
So the idea arose to create a Très bébé Class preparation course for childbirth, which I would like to attend myself.
Bravely and boldly, my friend and I got down to business and launched the course. Now I am even surprised that people came to it. Further, no matter what I did, the topic of pregnancy and childbirth was in the air.
In 2010, the idea came to create children's clothing under the Très bébé brand. To do this, I went to Bali and at the same time was engaged in a project on the development of a children's urban environment, the City of Friend, and courses for pregnant women. Over time, it turned out that the last two topics are much more interesting than the creation and sale of dresses, because besides the creative process, there are many other not entirely pleasant nuances in the form of a basement with production, for example. The store closed, but the Très bébé Class site remained and began to develop as a platform for moms.
During this time, I managed to learn a lot, completed courses in breastfeeding consultants and Birthing from Within (the method we use at Très bébé Class). And in 2013, my doula practice began. At one of the classes, the expectant mother said: "You are a great storyteller, could you become my doula?" I agreed.
A doula's job is a kind of personal upgrade. From a physiological point of view, childbirth is not a difficult process, but from a psychological point of view it is a unique experience: every time we build relationships with women and their partners in a new way, we communicate with doctors. A serious psychological background helps me here.
What does a doula do during and after childbirth?
The first thing a doula can do is tell what happens during childbirth, form a realistic idea about them. Few can call this process comfortable. The expectation of absolute comfort can lead to trauma during childbirth. For example, if a woman finds that instead of breathing calmly and relaxed, she wants to growl, while standing on all fours.
The idea behind the Doula work is to give parents support, not tell them how "right" (and "wrong") to give birth. Before childbirth - at an acquaintance meeting or courses, during childbirth - in the delivery room, after - at meetings at home and in a group of other mothers.
If the expectant mother is familiar with the mechanism of childbirth, she understands why it is important to worry about the space where everything happens so that the woman would feel as safe as possible. Of course, in the hospital you will not find a suitable environment with subdued light and silence, but there is always the opportunity to choose a comfortable place where you live.
Doulas have certain techniques to help ease contractions: massage, including the Mexican rebozo scarf (also traditionally used during pregnancy), aroma oils, acupressure (acupressure), exercises that activate contractions. In fact, a doula can come to childbirth without anything at all, because her goal is not to "bombard" a woman with auxiliary things and distractions, but to create a space where a woman does not need to think at all, where she can relax and just give birth.
We are also silent during childbirth. It happens that the doula sits next to the expectant mother and just holds her hand. Then the questions arise: what is the function of the doula then? The point is that she very carefully observes all the processes, the doula knows in advance what a woman may need and how to help her. At the same time, it is important for a mother to know that during childbirth, someone is on her side and helps to understand what is happening.
Doula can support a woman after childbirth: come to the hospital or home, be in touch for 12 months. After all, specialists who deliver childbirth rarely see a woman after.
How popular is the topic in Russia?
Now the doul movement begins to flourish. Girls who have already given birth often turn for help (they again have a lot of questions, but there is no one to ask them) or mothers who are accustomed to a certain quality of life and comfort.
There are many doulas in Moscow, and you can choose the conditions in which you want to give birth.
But if we compare with countries where the doula practice has existed for 30 years, we are still lagging behind.
For expectant mothers, the question usually arises: will the doula be allowed into the hospital if you give birth for free (according to the law, only close relatives can be at birth)? If a girl wants to give birth with a doula, there are two options: choose a maternity hospital, where they will allow the presence of an assistant, or sign a contract with a maternity hospital: in most cases, you will be allowed to take any person for childbirth. Although there are still places where they will not be allowed to take any companions with them except for the husband for no money.
Although in some post-Soviet countries there is a very positive experience: I would never have thought, but in Kyrgyzstan, for example, they are calm when a mother, mother-in-law or friend comes to give birth. For them, childbirth is traditionally an event shared by women in the family.
And in Kazakhstan, more than 50% of women give birth with a partner. In Russia, only 20% of mothers had partner deliveries, while more than 70% of women would like such childbirth, and half would prefer to take a professional assistant as a partner, not a husband. This survey was done on the site doula.ru.
How do you know that you can trust a doula?
You can ask the doula to tell you where she was trained, what kind of experience she has, or take recommendations from other parents. Based on world practice, nowhere do they require a diploma from a doula. He doesn't make her a super-specialist. But those who remain in the profession do acquire certificates from professional doula associations. There is such an association in Russia. On the official website, you can find the code of the doul and the list of members of the organization It so happens that a woman introduces herself as a midwife doula, in which case there is a risk that the specialist (perhaps a good one) does not feel the difference between the functions of the doula and the midwife.