Doulas provide a myriad of services including prenatal education, labor and birth support, lactation education and postpartum support. However, we can't do it all! We frequently refer to other professionals throughout the prenatal and postpartum periods in order to ensure that our clients receive the best care possible. Listed below are some of professionals that we refer to frequently.
We frequently refer our clients to acupuncturists for a variety of reasons. Acupuncture can help prepare the body for birth. It can also relax the body and lower stress levels. Acupuncture can even be used as an induction method! A midwife once told me that she tried every natural labor induction method under the sun, but that nothing worked until she visited her acupuncturist. Luckily, the DMV is home to a number of fantastic acupuncturists!
Mental Health Professionals
There is no shame in seeking mental health support, especially during a time as tender as pregnancy and postpartum. Common issues include anxiety during pregnancy, previous birth trauma, and postpartum depression. When necessary, we refer our clients to mental health professionals that specialize in working with pregnant and postpartum women. A compassionate, listening ear and support from a professional can completely transform the perinatal experience.
Massages are great for everyone, all the time, but massages are especially beneficial for pregnant women. We are constantly telling women to relax during pregnancy, and I think we can all agree that it's much easier to relax following a massage. Massage can help prepare the body for birth. It can also be used as a natural induction tool. And, of course, massages can be great to reduce discomfort following birth as well.
Chiropractors can be especially beneficial for our breech clients. The Webster technique is a technique utilized by chiropractors that encourages the baby to move from a feet-first position into a head-down position. However, chiropractic care can be utilized by all pregnant women, not just breech moms!
IBCLCs (or International Board Certified Lactation Consultants) are essentially the PhDs of the breastfeeding world. As doulas, we frequently provide our clients with basic lactation support. However, there are sometimes clients who need more support, and in these cases we refer to IBCLCs. The support of a compassionate and encouraging IBCLC can make all the difference for breastfeeding moms.