I had my first child almost five years ago while I was living and working in Japan. I didn’t know anyone in my city that had given birth recently, so I took to the internet to find pregnancy and birth information in a language I clearly understood. I also wanted and found emotional support from fellow pregnant people in online forums and eventually in a small due-date group that is still an integral part of my parenting support team.
It was through these groups that I really understood what a birth doula does, and I was so upset that I wouldn’t be able to have one. Even if there was a practicing birth doula in my city, I had no idea how to find her, and it would be unlikely that she would speak English. So I went without, and muddled through learning about pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period on my own while simultaneously trying to inform my husband on what he would need to know for the birth as well. It went OK, but after a much more informed and relaxing experience with the birth of my second child, I knew how different it could have been, and I know working with a doula could have made a huge difference as part of my preparation and plan for my first birth.
When I began my doula training, I learned about so many different fields and services that different doulas offered. One of the more unique ideas was providing E-Doula services, and I immediately knew it was a service I was going to offer.
An E-Doula provides many of the same services as an in-person doula, but offers these services through video conferencing, text, and e-mail. This service is perfect for someone who lives in a rural area, those living in a foreign country, or someone that may not be comfortable inviting someone to their birth space but is looking for more personal informational or emotional support than a childbirth education class would offer. Below are some details of what E-Doula Services look like.
Most doula services include several prenatal meetings. During these meetings, doulas provide informational about your birth options and guidance and support for creating a birth preferences list to help you achieve your ideal birth. A doula also educations and supports you and your labor partner’s understanding of what birth looks like and how to cope with changes your body goes through. An E-Doula can provide these same services over video conferencing. She can support and train your labor partner to be your biggest supporter through your labor so you all enter into labor confident in your knowledge and skills.
Late pregnancy is also a time of excitement as you make the final preparations for your new arrival. It’s also a time of uncertainty as you wonder if each twinge is a sign that baby is ready to come. A doula often works as your emotional support through the end of your pregnancy, giving you a sympathetic ear as you worry about being pregnant forever or when you need someone to remind you it’s OK to slow down and take care of yourself. A doula is also armed with up-to-date information to give tips and tricks to deal with any pregnancy concerns as they arise. An e-doula is no different from a traditional doula, offering unlimted emotional and informational support through e-mail, text messaging, and phone calls.
During labor is where E-Doula support really starts to look different. While an E-Doula can’t show up to support you physically through labor, she can be on call for anything you need or questions you or your labor partners might have. Video conferencing is also an option during labor to give you and your doula a good picture of what is happening and can give0 suggestions and help to you or your partner. Your doula is a great option to have someone to call for a quick adjustment when things don’t quite feel right and can guide you and your partner through the stages and phases of labor.
Finally, and E-Doula can help support you through the first few weeks of your newborn’s life. The transition to being a parent is a steep learning curve and can feel especially lonely and difficult if you live in an area without other parents of newborns to talk to. An E-Doula can provide needed emotional and informational support for all your needs postpartum. From something like umbilical stump care to a listening ear to process the birth experience, your E-Doula is just a text or phone call away.