However, although proper care is a prerequisite during pregnancy, many women are deprived of it, due to several factors including lack of awareness.
An expectant mother needs mental, physical and emotional support. The mental and physical well-being of the mother is vital for the holistic growth of the fetus.
We at ETimes spoke to Sanam Motwani, labor doula and lactation support specialist, about all aspects of pregnancy, childbirth and baby care.
ETimes: Who is a doula?
Sanam Motwani: A doula is a trained professional who provides physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her have the healthiest and most satisfying experience possible.
ETimes: Why is it important to have a doula during pregnancy?
Sanam Motwani: A doula educates about pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum with the help of pre and post natal classes, supports them during the most difficult phase of labor and extensively guides them to initiate the breastfeeding after birth in a positive way.
Just knowing that there is someone with you who understands the birthing process and who you can emotionally rely on is a great comfort to the mother-to-be. With the support of the doula, one can understand all the ups and downs, pros and cons of the birth process and stay well informed.
Scientific research shows that having a doula at birth reduces the need for many interventions and increases the chances of a great birth experience with parents having higher self-esteem and greater confidence.
eTimes: When is a good time to hire a doula?
Sanam Motwani: We can start prenatal classes as early as 8 weeks. These classes will guide you through food and nutrition, baby bumps, adjusting to work, and caring for newborns.
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For the doula service, the earlier you sign up, the better. Mothers can sign up for the doula service during the first trimester, so they can feel comfortable with the doula and contact her with any questions or clarifications she may need about the birthing process while throughout her pregnancy.
Another benefit of signing up early is that you and your doula have plenty of time to bond and understand each other, creating a meaningful and rewarding relationship.
eTimes: Does having a doula mean opting for non-hospital deliveries?
Sanam Motwani: As a doula, I have been involved in all types of births: home births, hospital births, gentle births, water births and caesareans as well.
Support during pregnancy and labor is of the utmost importance to new parents and their families.
Proper support during this time improves a mother’s chances of having a smooth, non-invasive birth with fewer interventions.
Apart from the mother, how does a birth doula work with the child’s father or the mother’s partner?
The fathers/partners remain an integral part of the birth. Doulas and dads work together at all times, to keep mom as comfortable as possible. So, while a husband holds his partner from the front, hugging her and motivating her, the doula will massage the mother’s back, easing her discomfort and constantly encouraging her to manage the contractions and follow the techniques of breathing that he was taught earlier.
During pregnancy, thanks to my classes, dads learn all the different labor adaptation techniques that will be used, such as breathing, massages, working positions, etc. The most important thing husbands learn during this pregnancy process is to suddenly see their wives/partners through new eyes, live a new life upon entering this world, and treat their wives/partners with a new found respect
When birth partners know what they can do to ease a woman’s discomfort in labor, it also increases their confidence levels.
eTimes: How would Doula be useful to an experienced parent?
Sanam Motwani: Each labor and birth experience is unique in itself. If a woman has had a previous birthing experience which may or may not have been intervention-led – when a doula is with the mother, the chances of having a positive birthing experience this time around increase because she will be better prepared and will manage her work in a more positive way with the support of her doula
There have been cases where mothers have already had a caesarean and then had beautiful natural water births with me.
eTimes: What kind of births do doulas handle?
Sanam Motwani: Doulas take care of all kinds of births: vaginal and caesarean, at home and in the hospital.
We are trained in adaptation techniques for all types of experiences.
eTimes: What is water birth?
Sanam Motwani: A water birth is when a mother is able to give birth and deliver her child in a tub filled with lukewarm water.
Nature created a woman’s body to do something that is the most special in the world – to give birth to a new life.
However, nowadays, globally, there has been a massive increase in medical interventions such as inductions, vacuum, forceps, epidurals, etc. While these interventions could be essential and save lives; they are also extremely risky if done unnecessarily for no reason.
Having an unattended birth gives a mother the ability to heal much faster, not only physically, but also emotionally and mentally.
The main motive of all mothers is to have a birth filled with love, peace and positivity and water births are the best way to achieve this not only for the mother but also for her unborn child. .
Contrary to all the persistent misconceptions, water births are not just a fad among celebrities, however, they are gaining popularity mainly because of the benefits they offer.
eTimes: What are the benefits of water birth?
Sanam Motwani: Water birth facilitates a smoother transition for the baby from the womb to life. A baby lives in the amniotic fluid in the womb, so entering the world through water gives them the opportunity for a sweet experience.
They are born in a beautifully decorated dimly lit room and placed directly on their mother’s chest rather than being born in a brightly lit labor room and being taken away by the medical team for immediate birth control. Which sounds better?
During water birth, the lapping of warm water on the mother’s back actually acts as a natural pain reliever. Once women enter the birthing pool, you can usually see a peaceful, relaxed smile on their faces. The need for episiotomies and the risk of tearing also decrease significantly during water birth.
It also provides immediate skin-to-skin bonding for parent and baby, which is the most important thing to do with every birth.
A baby recognizes a mother’s heartbeat and smell and it is essential that he stays on his mother’s chest immediately after birth instead of being taken away by hospital staff.
eTimes: Is water birth recommended for women of all age groups?
Sanam Motwani: Yes, water birth is recommended for all mothers who have a low risk pregnancy.
Any mother with blood pressure issues, pregnancy induced hypertension or other medical issues may not be able to give birth in the pool as she may require certain medical interventions.
However, that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy laboring in water and then giving birth outdoors.