Doula lends child-birth support
July 3, 2009
After 101⁄2 hours of labor, Kristin Mozzochi gave birth to her son Alessandro at 7:29 a.m. on June 13. Even though parts of the experience were overwhelming, she had her doula, Launa Martin.
“I don’t know what I would have done otherwise,” Mozzochi said.
During labor, Martin explained to Mozzochi all the terms the doctor was using, and helped Mozzochi keep her goal of not using an epidural shot during the experience.
Mozzochi hired Martin because this was going to be her first birth, and she wanted someone to help prepare her for it.
“I don’t have a lot of women in my life who have had babies,” Mozzochi said, before Alessandro was born. “(With Martin) I feel relaxed, and I don’t have as much fear,” Mozzochi said.
Doulas are not medically trained, Martin said. A doula’s job is to provide educational, physical and emotional support for the mother.
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Martin decided to become a doula after giving birth to her own daughter, Miakoda. Martin said while she was pregnant, she was obsessed with researching the birthing process.
Martin is a certified doula through DONA International – the first doula association, which has the most rigorous requirements. Every three years Martin must complete 15 hours of education in the birthing industry to keep her certification.
Before Alessandro’s birth, Martin met with Mozzochi and discussed some of her worries, goals and possible scenarios that might occur during the birth.
Martin said she provides tools for clients so they’re prepared going into labor.
“It’s just not one of those things you want to wing,” Martin said.
When hired, Martin visits her client two or three times to go over the birth plan, comfort during labor, clinical scenarios and goals the mother may have. She is on-call 24 hours a day for the weeks leading up to the date, and is present throughout the labor and birth. After the birth, she visits the mother and baby once or twice to make sure both are well, and to answer any questions the mother has.
When Mozzochi came home with her baby, Martin made sure that both mom and baby were adjusting well.
“All the focus goes on the baby and often times you forget about yourself,” Mozzochi said.
Martin also discusses the birth with the mother to fill in any gaps she might have. She writes a birth story for clients, too.
“I make sure the mom has a positive view of the experience and walks away happy about how it went,” Martin said.
Martin said she loves her job, and that it’s always interesting.
“Every birth is totally different and it never loses its amazement,” Martin said. “It’s euphoric and I leave feeling so high it takes me several hours to come down from that experience.”