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Your Brain in Labor and Why you Need a Doula

Updated: Mar 24, 2022

I am a childbirth educator and I have a degree in Public Health. I'm all about education and prevention. I have been teaching parents for the last six years about the importance of learning all the evidence and normalizing the birth process. A solid education and preparation is so worth it when it comes to something this important and life-changing.

AND. That information can only take you so far. The preparation for birth and the actual process of birth are separate. They require different things.The significance of a doula in labor cannot be replaced by learning and researching your entire pregnancy.

When the day comes to meet your baby, your thinking brain is not fully present

It's not meant to be. And that's ok. You don't have to do it alone.

Birth with UNC Midwives. Pregnant person resting upright in deep focus

This process is a physical one. It requires you to be fully IN YOUR BODY, not in your mind. It activates hormones and instincts that override your logical, thinking brain. You cannot be thinking too hard and labor very effectively. Your brain has to turn off and let your body do the birth thing. This means it's very likely you will not remember much of what you planned for ahead of time or be able to think clearly enough to communicate how you are feeling.

I say this as someone who has supported dozens of families in labor and as someone who has given birth three times. I did not remember all the things and I couldn't even clearly identify or express what I wanted or needed at the time.

I have to confess, I never had a doula with any of my births. Although, it can make me feel like an imposter in this space, my own experiences have shown me exactly. what. was. missing.

I can look back and see exactly how a doula could have helped both me and my partner. It does make me sad, but I can imagine how my partner could have been more confident and helpful, what the doula may have said to me, and what things may have happened differently with someone there to remind me about my preferences and what options were available to me.

Birth at Duke Regional. Pregnant person very calm and resting with hands on face.
Feeling totally supported and calm during a contraction

In my own defense, I was not even fully aware of what a doula was and what role they play during birth until I after I had already started my family. But I regret it so much. Even as someone who imagined they *knew a lot about the birth process. Even after choosing a provider who I trusted and was supportive of my goals. I can see a big gaping hole, where my doula should have been. In my brain, she's a lot like Chummy from Call the Midwife or Jess from New Girl.

If I could go back in time and speak to my past pregnant self, I would tell her to get the doula! Keep learning and figuring out what you want for your birth AND get the doula to help you remember, keep you calm, focused and mindful of your options.

Giving birth is a big overwhelming and physical task. With a doula on your side, you can be calm, confident to follow your body, trust your instincts and know the doula will handle the rest. Are you looking for a doula in the Chapel Hill Area? Reach out today to learn how I can support your best birthing experience.

Want to learn more about Doula Support?

Read this post about how doulas compliment the support from your partner

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