Carissa's Reviews > The Doula Book: How A Trained Labor Companion Can Help You Have A Shorter, Easier, And Healthier Birth

The Doula Book by John H. Kennell
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This book would be very informative for someone who did not know anything about a doula or the statistics of improved natural birth with having a participating doula. Since I have read several natural childbirth books, this didn't have as much new information for me.


The doula is there to help the parents have the type of birthing experience they want.

Having an experienced person enables fathers to be much more relaxed, loving and emotionally able than when they are alone by relieving them of anxiety. The doula models supportive behavior for the father. The doula does not take over the role of the father, but enhances it.

Doula-supported women showed less anxiety, fewer signs of depression and a higher level of self esteem.

The doula "mothers" the mother by letting her be herself which lets down emotional and physical barriers, enabling an easier labor. The doula encourages the mother.

During labor, walk as much as possible because it appears to shorten labor and reduce pain. Change positions every half hour. Drink plenty of liquids (juice, water, soup) and urinate frequently.

Delay vitamin K shots and eye ointment for one and a half hours after the baby is born. The baby will latch on during this time if they are not sleep. Do not mush the baby's face onto the breast to get them to latch on. They may have an aversion to the breast if you do so. Talk to the baby to encourage them to root. Hold the neck or the lower head by the ears, not the back of the head. The baby finds the nipple by feel and smell. When their nose is in front of the nipple, their upper lip will curl up and reach around it to latch on.

If a mother carries an infant in a Snugli-like (soft) carrier on her body, the infant will cry less. Babies will quiet sooner if they get a response to their cry or fuss within 90 seconds.

When interviewed as to why she chose a home birth, one mother said it "cut out countless distractions and concerns... could sink in and face what I needed to do".

For the first two or three months, mothers need extra support, protection and care.

The "baby blues" are a short period of emotional liability commonly occurring between the second and fifth postpartum day. It affects 80-90% of women. Postpartum depression begins at 4 to 8 weeks or later on in the first year. When there are many symptoms and they persist for weeks, help is needed. The woman may need meds if rest, support and being well-listened (psychotherapy) does not relieve the symptoms.

Relaxation exercises continue to be useful in postpartum period.

A postpartum doula or a helper manages the household while the parents manage the baby. They make sure the mother is not overwhelmed with too many visitors or phone calls. They can help the mother with stress management. The most important thing a helper can do is to listen.

Postpartum Doula Training
-common infant health problems
-know what to look for if a mother needs medical attention
-communication skills mostly dealing with emotional concerns

Postpartum Doula Helps...
-mother keep track of urine, stools and number of feedings
-if the baby is jaundiced or how the jaundice is progressing
-taking care of other kids
-light housekeeping
-cooking nutritious meals

It is useful to look for a new mother's group in the local area in order to benefit from sharing experiences with their new baby.
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Reading Progress

February 2, 2012 – Started Reading
February 3, 2012 – Shelved
February 5, 2012 – Shelved as: baby-books
February 5, 2012 – Finished Reading

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