The following article can be found online at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_q4200/is_/ai_n24313159
I am particulary proud of Heidi Rau and Heidi Gonzales because I know them. They are wonderful people and doulas!
Heidi Gonzales and Heidi Rau are doulas in New Orleans
New Orleans CityBusiness, Feb 15, 2008 by Emilie Bahr
Heidi Gonzales and Heidi Rau share a name and a passion for the birthing process; they are doulas -- professionals who assist women before, during and after labor but do not deliver the baby.
If you've never heard of a doula you're probably not alone. Although women have been assisting in births for as long as women have been having babies, the idea of hiring a professional is creeping into vogue, at least in the New Orleans area, Gonzales and Rau said.
A doula is not the same thing as a midwife, who often is certified to deliver babies and, in the case of some certified nurse midwives, can even prescribe medicine. Gonzales is in her second year of training to become a midwife, a process she expects to take five years.
Doulas offer emotional support and advice and calm the patients during labor. They instruct in techniques some believe can shorten labor and lessen pain.
The women also help soon-to-be mothers craft a birthing plan -- a guide kept in their medical file that includes what type of laboring methods they prefer and what drugs, if any, they want to rely on, when they want to begin breastfeeding -- and help ensure their wishes are honored.
"We're there really as educators and supporters," Rau said.
Many of Rau and Gonzales' clients are first-time mothers confronted with what can be a confusing and intimidating process. Others have used a doula for a previous pregnancy and can't imagine labor without one, the women said.