Your Health: Doulas provide necessary support during pregnancy | CraigDailyPress.com

Your Health: Doulas provide necessary support during pregnancy

Craig doula Caroline Dotson and her sons, from left, Colton, 7, Chandler, 3, Creed, 2, and Caleb, 12, relax on the couch of her office space in Centennial Mall. As a doula, Dotson, who is currently carrying her fifth child, provides support in multiple ways to expectant parents to alleviate stress, enhance communication and ensure their baby is at its healthiest.

The creation of a new life may take place entirely within a mother's body, but the people around Mommy still can have a great deal of influence on the baby's health.

One of these people may be a doula, whose function is to provide any kind of support needed by parents experiencing a pregnancy.

Caroline Dotson is a certified doula in Craig, and her interest in the practice came when she found she could use someone to lean on during her own pregnancies.

"What a doula does is to let a couple know what all their choices are," she said.

Doulas are not intended to take the place of medical professionals like an OB-GYN or a midwife. Rather, their purpose is to make everyone's job easier for the scope of nine months and longer, if necessary.

This is reflected in the name of Dotson's company, before During after Birth Services, meaning she helps her clients in the prenatal phases, in the delivery room and even after the child arrives.

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"A lot of times, what I end up doing is coaching the dad," she said. "When the mom's in the throes of labor, I can reassure him that it's all normal, or if something is wrong, we can communicate with the doctor or midwife. It's a lot of personal care. A lot of what childbirth is, is psychological."

Dotson — who's also a breastfeeding counselor, a student of midwifery and a consultant for doTERRA Essential Oils, as well as a mother of four with one more on the way — said she hopes to be an advocate for all types of women in the midst of pregnancy, whether they need a minor or major amount of support, partnering with those who handle the medical side of things.

She lists a lesser chance of caesarian births, shorter labor, less reliance on pain medication and greater overall parent confidence among the potential benefits of hiring a doula.

The difficulty of promoting her services in the region since becoming a doula — and she's not the only one in Northwest Colorado — is something Dotson thinks shows the need for the profession, which is all about providing as much knowledge and options as possible while keeping good relationships with the medical community.

For some medical organizations, keeping doulas on staff is a common practice, and though The Memorial Hospital is not able to do so, the members of the maternity ward are open to those in Dotson's line of work.

OB-GYN Scott Ellis said the kind of education doulas can provide are particularly helpful to parents.

"It can be really helpful to a new mother who may not be aware of everything," Ellis said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.