1. What is a doula?
Doula is a Greek word for Woman who helps women. She offers natural motherly and practical physical and emotional support, and often has had training and certification for her work. She may be a birth and/or a postpartum doula, or even serve pregnant women on bed rest or at other times in their lives when they need basic help at home due to some handicap.
2. What is a birth doula?
Some of our AyuDoulas are also birth doulas. Certified doulas taken at least 2 – 3 days training and done their practicum requirements to receive their credential, usually from DONA or CAPPA. A birth doula begins by providing information about your birth options and assisting with writing your birth plan. If you feel comfortable with her, she becomes your professional labor assistant offering physical and emotional support through labor. She is not a midwife, but your personal assistant through the birth.
- We usually meet 2 or 3 times before the birth.
- We can help ease your transition from home to hospital.
- We are trained to provide comfort measures to ease and deal with pain.
- We will stay by your side throughout your labor and birth as desired.
- We can assist or relieve your spouse or companion in their role.
- Research also shows a more positive birth experience, and mothers and babies bond better.
- We come to your home about a week after the birth for a follow-up visit.
3. How do I know it will be worth the extra expense?
Having a Birth Doula has been statistically measured to offer the following:
- 60% Reduction in Epidural requests
- 50% Reduction in Cesarean Rate
- 40% Reduction in Oxytocin Use
- 40% Reduction in Forceps Delivery
- 30% Reduction in Use of Analgesia
- 25% Shorter Labor
4. What is a postpartum doula?
Postpartum doulas go into the home and help for the first few weeks with breast feeding, newborn care and instruction, mother care, offer resources and give general family, breastfeeding, kitchen, light household support and community resources. A postpartum doula has 2 to 3 days class training plus documented practical experience according to her certifying organization, usually DONA or CAPPA.
5. What is an Ayudoula/Ayurdoula?
A postpartum Ayudoula has a minimum of 60 class and internship hours training with many more hours practice, study and testing. She serves the role of a postpartum doula and more – she understands much that mothers of many older cultures used to know, and all mothers should understand. These are simple and natural principles involved in restoring strength, vitality and balance in maternal and infant physiology after childbirth.
She understands the little known dietary and lifestyle choices which can minimize or avoid colic and depression, as well as many other common discomforts, and will be available to guide you as you are willing to make your best choices. She is trained in the arts of Ayurvedic Mother and Infant warm oil treatments (like simple, soothing massage), cooking for postpartum mothers, and may have experience with a few key safe postpartum herbal and essential oils uses to enhance your comfort and rejuvenation.
Above all, she offers her TLC like any doula or other mother for your ease, comfort and happiness. And she also has limits to what she can learn even in the Ayudoula advanced training program, and knows herself as part of a greater network of health practitioners, both your doctor or midwife and others trained in perinatal and specifically Ayurvedic work.
6. What are the benefits of Ayudoula Care?
Tailored Support for Mom’s Best Rest Rejuvenation! Depending upon the length and details of your care and your commitment to both following the recommendations and perhaps upon special complications, you can still expect wonderful results in the direction of the following:
- Easily avoid colic & depression
- Extended & Enhanced bonding
- Delicious suitable meals & menu planning
- Delicious herbals for lactation, digestion & rejuvenation
- Deeply Soothing Mom’s Massage
- Tender Lovin’ Infant Massage instruction
- Ample lactation and experienced support
- Effective herbals & essential oils for special needs support
- Decades of Lasting Benefits
7. Who relies on a Postpartum Ayudoula?
- Mothers who are tired and want skilled support with their rejuvenation.
- Mothers returning early to work.
- Mothers with high risk of postpartum depression (PPD) (20%)
- Mothers after C-sections (25%)
- Families favoring a life of holistic health
- Referring professionals, for their clients’ best continuity of care
- Mothers of Birthing Mothers unable to otherwise give the needed support
- Anyone needing basic household, meals, emotional & family support
8. What do you mean by 42 Days for 42 Years?
According to the 5,000 year old medical texts in Ayurveda by Sushrut, we women are in a very special window for 42 days after childbirth, extended by 10 days to 2 weeks more if there is surgery (yes, they had very good surgical technique then if needed)
They say that we are psycho-physiologically as delicate as our babies during this time, even if we can muster all kinds of will-power (oh my, can we), know-how, coordination, and devoted loving service. We are naturally led by our hearts in service often even when we aretotally overwhelmed.
After childbirth we have LOTS of invisible work to do! And it is our biological mandate, our own Mother Nature’s program we could say, to restructure our whole physiology in the direction of greater ability to love and serve, if we give it the chance.
This is why so many cultures have similar traditions to what we are trained in. And why they say choices now are perhaps more significant than any other time in our lives, for our ability to mother, partner, and serve our world for the next 42 years! It is also about how long it takes food to convert from initial digestion to all the tissues in the regenerative process. For the subtlest and deepest tissues, the reproductive, it takes up to 42 days – from eating a meal to rejuvenating that tissue …
9. What can I expect with a consultation with an Ayudoula?
It depends upon your request and need, based upon a question and answer dialog about your experience, lifestyle, constitution, imbalances, and habits and how they relate to the known natural imbalances and needs of childbearing written about in the Ayurvedic textbooks for over 5,000 years. We can share ideas found valuable for so many of our clients, various body/emotional/mind/supportive measures you can do yourself or choose to do with a little help.
These ideas are used around the world by the cultures which don’t have problems postpartum and are often very easily understood and used yourself to maximize your recovery from your labors. It cannot however presume to replace the advice of your physician or midwife, only to perhaps supplement it.
10. Are the herbal food supplements safe for pregnancy and/or postpartum?
Every woman postpartum shares some common needs, so the basic four herbal supplements we suggest usually satisfy and are safe for everyone, unless you are aware that the ingredients do not suit you. Beyond these, your individual constitution and present condition all influence why different herbs may be recommended, and our Ayudoulas with Ayurvedic training will be able to guide you with safe and appropriate herbal combinations.
11. What about essential oils – how do I know what is safe?
Lots of research is available and ongoing, including at the www.younglifeclinic.com where Dr. Gary Young has used many essential oils on all of his pregnant and postpartum clients including his wife, Mary, with natural childbirth with her first baby at age 54 and second, age 56. For a list of safe oils and suggested kits for pregnancy, please contact us.
12. Is there any national standard or certification for Ayudoulas?
Not at this time, but we are working on standardizing the training programs across the country as well as offering to work with the National Ayurvedic Medical Association which is beginning to create national standards for Ayurvedic training and titling. Organization and funding teams will be needed to create both the research and publicity to help get this wonderful work to mothers everywhere.
13. This seems like expensive care at a time I have so many other priorities and expenses.
Please visit our CARE page where you will see many options to build a program of self and professional Ayudoula care that fits your resources. And remember, this is not about selfish pampering! The value of a mother’s well being is well researched to impact her family health and happiness in a baby’s first hours, months, and 2—3 years later. The easiest time to influence it is immediately postpartum, when heart and body are so open and biologically guided to restore at deepest levels in loving service.
Take a look again at the discussions under “42 Days for 42 Years”, and the “Benefits of Ayudoula care.” Choices now are significant for a long time to come, more than maybe any other time in your life.
If you are at all familiar with the costs of postpartum depression alone, consider this. There are possible complications of initial anti-depression medications which are not safe for breastfeeding, given the major hurdle of pumping and relactation, or letting go of this sacred opportunity for your baby’s health as well as yours.
PPD costs commonly include both time and expense for medical and psychological visits, physical and emotional health issues for over a year and maybe years on antidepressants with their frequent side effects (and the major challenges in getting off them.) For further understanding please go to www.drugawareness.org
Postpartum rejuvenation expenses include many problems regarding weight, joints, reproductive health, hormones including thyroid, digestive health and relationship health. 40% of divorcing men cite postpartum as the beginning of the break-up of their marriage. Hard to figure in dollar amounts, but stop and think about it … we don’t really need to!
14. Is there research on these benefits of Postpartum Ayudoula Care?
Unfortunately not enough yet, although those of us practicing over these years have seen more than enough. It is among our goals to inspire the eye of scientific investigation, as well as to begin writing up our many case histories. So far we are a small and underfinanced group working from the heart.
Dr. Veronica Butler, MD/Gyn reported years ago that in Iowa, where this program was first introduced in the west, over several years time there were no reported cases of even the postpartum blues! (That particular market had the advantage of being particularly devoted to observing the dietary and lifestyle recommendations for postpartum, as well as practicing the well researched stress reducing practice of Transcendental Meditation).