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Birth and Breastfeeding: Choosing to Use a Doula

     In honor of World Doula Week, we wanted to give you some information to help you if you choose to use a Doula.  DONA international is the official certification organization for a professional doula.  According to DONA, the word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
   Here are some tips for questions to ask a potential doula:
1.  Are you certified by DONA?  This is the official organization certifying doulas.
2.  What are your professional credentials?  They should be CD or PCD
3.  Are you affiliated with a hospital?  This is a red flag as you want the doula on your side and not siding with the hospital or birth facility if  your birth plan comes into question.
4.  Do you help with the postpartum period such as learning to breastfeed?  If your doula is PCD, she is certified to work with you in the postpartum period.  She may also have credentials such as CLE, certified lactation educator or IBCLC, international board certified lactation consultant which offers the highest degree of education in breastfeeding.
5.  What are your gifts?  A good doula needs to be an encourager  and have a servant heart so this question may reveal a lot about her personality.
    Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.  Use your instincts and these questions to help you find the doula that is right for your family.

To locate a doula in your area, visit the DONA website.

May you have a Blessed Childbirth!
Tanya

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