Birth of the Virgin, a fresco by Juan de Borgoña, (1509-1511). This fresco can be found in the Chapter room of the Cathedral in Toledo. He was a Spanish painter, originally from northern France. In this picture you can see a tranquil postpartum scene. The mother has a halo and the baby girl has one as well. There are several doulas helping the new mother. One doula is feeding the mother. Another is holding the baby near the mother. A third gets ready to swaddle the baby when the mother is ready. You can see a tiny infant bed on the floor which looks just like an adult bed. While women assist the mother, men discuss the birth off to the side.
This is The Birth of Mary by Domenico Ghirlandiao (1449-1494 Florence). Notice how many doulas are attending the mother at her birth. One of them holds the new baby as another prepares the bath. Although this is supposed to show a Jewish birth taking place before the birth of Christ, notice how the painter depicts a scene more likely found in 15th Century Florence than in Biblical times. Ghirlandiao is showing us his birth culture and it involves doulas supporting the laboring woman.
All births are special but twin births are more so. In our area, the largest percentage of twins births are cesarean births. A twin pregnancy is always classified as a “high risk” pregnancy. There are two outcomes more likely with twin births in our area, first — prematurity and second a cesarean birth.
If you are pregnant with twins a doula can help you before, during and after your births. If you stay healthy throughout your pregnancy you greatly increase your likelihood of staying pregnant to 37 weeks or longer. Your doula can also help you prepare your best possible choice for birthing. If you are hoping for a vaginal twin birth, the alignment of the twins is the most important thing. Also, choose your caregiver with care. Some OB’s have experience with twin vaginal births and some do not. Find one who does and who will help you with yours.
After your babies are born, a doula can help you with breastfeeding, both in the hospital and at home. Breastfeeding twins might seem daunting at first, but once you have mastered your technique it will save you loads of time and money! It will also help you with bonding and nurturing your twins. So get support early and then enjoy!
This art plate by artist Francesco Urbini is displayed at the Museum Boymans van Beuningen in Rotterdam. It was made in 1534. It shows a midwife performing a cesarean on a reposing mother. The mother looks relaxed, but meanwhile, an angel is looking away and fanning her with a fan of flames. It suggests that this type of birth was not a desired outcome even then.