Giving birth can be painful and scary at times, especially for first-time moms. Volunteers are helping make the process easier at the Brookings Health System through a first-of-its-kind program.
Robin Tveito enjoys every minute with her one-month-old son, Waylon.
"It's really exciting once I got past the nerves and all that good stuff," Tveito said.
Tveito, like many first-time moms, was anxious about labor and taking care of her first baby. That's why she decided to have a volunteer doula coach her through the process.
"My husband doesn't do hospitals or medical procedures very well, so just to ease both of our minds, to know somebody would be in there helping us," Tveito said.
"You go to the childbirth education classes, and you come out of that thinking you're equipped. And then when you get here, it's different," volunteer doula Judy Miller said.
Miller is one of 17 volunteers at Brookings Health System who coaches women through labor. The hospital also recently added a new doula program to help mothers after they have their baby. It's the first volunteer postpartum doula program in the nation.
"Helping the mother bond with her baby, helping her work through the emotional side of the experience," Miller said.
Before becoming a doula you have to take a training course. They don't provide medical help such as a doctor or nurse would, but instead provide information and comfort.
"Even if you have someone to assist you who's a family member or whatever, it's so different having someone who doesn't have the emotional attachment to Mom. We're able to offer a soothing, comforting presence in the room," Miller said.
Tveito is much more comfortable being a mom now. But if she has another baby, she says she'll opt for a doula again.
"Especially with the emotional part; having somebody there who's been there and done that helps, who might have a few more tips and tricks up their sleeve," Tveito said.
While the doulas at Brookings Health System are volunteers, some hospitals offer doulas who are paid. If you're interested in becoming a doula, there will be a training course October 5th and 6th at the Brookings Hospital.