Kathy Pehlke hopes to encourage more women to use an ancient practice when giving birth.
Pehlke is a certified doula serving the Waupaca area.
Derived from ancient Greek, doula means “woman who serves.”
Today, doula refers to a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother during pregnancy and labor.
“Doulas are not medical professionals but are trained to empower mothers to have a satisfying birth experience and work with clinical providers during the birth process,” Pehlke said.
Doulas use touch, position changes, relaxation and breathing techniques to help mothers during delivery.
“While doulas have been helping women around the world give birth for centuries, the doula craze has only hit central Wisconsin over the last decade,” Pehlke said.
Pehlke said parents who receive emotional support during pregnancy and birth feel more secure, are more successful at adapting to the new family dynamics, have greater success with breastfeeding and less postpartum depression.
“If you have a husband or partner who plans to be with you when you are giving birth, you both may welcome a doula on your team,” Pehlke said. “She can look after your partner as well as you, acting as a resource and guide, making sure your partner’s needs are met and helping your partner support you.”
May is National Doula Month and the Central Wisconsin Doula Group will host an educational event at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 12, at the Central Rivers Farmshed, 1220 Briggs Court, Stevens Point.
Guests will have an opportunity to meet with area doulas and parents who have employed their services, have some homemade soup and watch a documentary about doulas.
To learn more about area doulas, visit www.centralwidoulas.blogspot.com.