The Benefits of Having a Birth Doula During Your Surrogacy Journey
When it comes to the pregnancy and postpartum aspects of the surrogacy journey, gestational surrogates already have an idea of what to expect physically, emotionally, and mentally. To even become a surrogate, you have to have already carried and given birth at least once to a child of your own. However, even if you’ve had multiple healthy and successful pregnancies in the past, there’s no way to be fully prepared for a surrogate pregnancy.
Every pregnancy (including surrogate pregnancies) is different, making it difficult to predict regardless of how many times you’ve given birth before. This is one of the many reasons why having a strong support system is so important for the surrogacy journey. Whether you’re an intended parent or surrogate, one of the best ways to be supported during a surrogate pregnancy is to consider including a doula as part of your support system.
What Is a Doula?
A doula is a certified trained professional who specializes in providing non-medical support and information for pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum care. The responsibilities of a doula include:
- Providing educational information and materials about pregnancy and labor
- Coaching pregnant individuals through labor and delivery
- Preparing a birthing plan
- Providing non-medical pain management support during labor
- Giving emotional support throughout the journey
- Acting as an advocate in medical situations and facilitating communications with healthcare providers
The Benefits of Working With a Doula as a Surrogate
There is significant evidence that birthing persons who have the support of a doula during pregnancy, labor, and delivery experience fewer complications and an overall more positive experience, including:
- Reduced risk of requiring a cesarean section
- Shorter labor
- Reduced need for pain or labor-inducing medications
- Reduced need for epidural anesthesia
- Reduced need for instrument assistance during labor (e.g. forceps, vacuum delivery, etc.)
- Increased likelihood of having a spontaneous vaginal birth
- Increased feelings of satisfaction and well-being during labor and delivery
One of the main ways that doulas facilitate a positive surrogacy experience is through guidance and emotional support in the delivery room for both the surrogate and intended parents. This can include creating a tranquil environment, therapeutic massage, adjusting positioning to increase labor progression, offering advice on birthing techniques, providing words of encouragement, explaining medical procedures, and providing assistance with anything the surrogate might need (e.g. going to the bathroom, etc.). All of this helps not only improve the delivery process but also reduces stress for everyone involved. After the delivery is over, doulas continue to provide postpartum support to surrogates to ensure their medical and emotional needs are being met.
The Benefits of Working with Birth & Postpartum Doulas as Intended Parents
Birth doulas are not just important for the surrogate’s pregnancy, but also for what comes after. After the birth of the baby, intended parents get to embark on the exciting journey of parenthood. While this is of course an amazing experience, it can also be overwhelming, especially for new parents. Doulas can help make this transition easier by offering advice on newborn care, bonding, induced lactation support, and any other questions that may come up. Postpartum doulas can be extremely helpful and beneficial for new parents. Many postpartum doulas will come to your home and provide assistance with learning how to care for your newborn.
Include a Doula as Part of Your Surrogacy Journey
If you are exploring your surrogacy options, speak with your surrogacy agency about the possibility of having a birth doula if this is important to you. Whether you’re a surrogate candidate or an intended parent, the services that doulas provide are indispensable and make the entire experience much smoother.
At West Coast Surrogacy, as part of our commitment to offering unparalleled support to intended parents and surrogates alike, our President and Founder, Amy Kaplan, is a trained birth doula. She is also a former surrogate, which gives her a unique perspective on providing support throughout the process. To learn more about surrogacy, contact West Coast Surrogacy today.