What is a doula?
A doula is someone who is trained to provide support to women and their families during pregnancy, childbirth and the period of time following birth. Also known as birth assistants, labor assistants or birth coaches. An unbiased, educated guide who helps you by educating you on your options, and their benefits, risks and alternatives, and by providing mental, emotional and physical support and companionship.
Why would I want to hire a doula?
Scientific studies have shown that continuous support in labor leads to shorter labor times, greater satisfaction, and a smaller incidence of narcotic use, cesarean, and assisted delivery (ie forceps or vacuum). The education a doula provides also creates greater autonomy, and a sense of empowered involvement in decision making. In short, the presence of a doula greatly increases your chances of having a positive birth experience.
Do doulas deliver babies?
No. Doulas provide strictly non-medical support. We work alongside your provider to help meet your needs. While your provider attends to your medical needs, we attend to your mental, emotional and physical comfort needs.
Isn’t that my partner’s role?
Yes and no. While your significant other has an intimate knowledge of you, they may not be as familiar with birth as they could. Doulas work alongside your loved ones to provide effective, helpful encouragement and relief. We keep your partner as involved as you (together) choose to be, so that all of your needs are met.
Is a doula like a midwife?
No. A midwife is a medical provider who takes care of your clinical needs. There is some overlap between what midwives and doulas support (mental and emotional needs), but a doula is free to focus solely on supporting your awareness, morale and comfort.
Do you only work with midwives?
No. I work with all medical providers, including obstetricians, general practitioners, and all kinds of midwives practicing in the area.
Where do you attend births?
I work where you labor and birth, period. Hospital birth? I’m there. Home birth? I’ve got your back. Birth center? Let’s do this! Parking lot? Not the ideal birthing place, but I’ve done it!
What if I get an epidural/am induced/have a C-section?
Doulas support all births! There is a myth that doulas only or primarily support medication-free births. However, doulas provide valuable support to all birthing mothers by educating them on their options, and supporting their overall well-being. After all, birth is not solely a medical event, it is also a mental, emotional and spiritual one, and there are needs accompanying all facets of the birth experience.
Do you administer essential oils?
I do not. As a non-medical support, I avoid all appearances of practicing medicine, which includes the administering of therapeutic or medicinal substances. However, I do associate with certified aromatherapists and can help you self-administer essential oils if you choose to use them.
Can you help me with breastfeeding?
Yes! I am trained to provide breastfeeding support in the immediate postpartum period and can help you with your latch and your hold, and answer questions about breastfeeding, pumping and milk storage.
What can I expect during a prenatal visit?
I offer a few different prenatal visits. One free consultation before hire, one birth wishes visit wherein I determine your goals and wishes and can help you write up your birth care plan, and one childbirth education course, wherein I teach you the physiology and psychology behind birth, and give you coping tools you can use to help improve your comfort. Each prenatal visit is done in the comfort of your home, unless you prefer otherwise, and lasts about 1-2 hours.
What can I expect during labor?
I attend my clients from the onset of active labor until about 2-3 hours postpartum. I can meet you at your hospital or birth center, or I can come to your home and transfer with you to the hospital if/when you choose to transfer. I provide hands-on support (including counter pressure and massage techniques) to alleviate the tension of labor, as well as affirmations, help with breathing and relaxation, and suggestions of positions or movements, which can all help you remain calm, peaceful and productive.
Will you advocate for me?
Doulas have been known in the past for standing as a mediator between you and your provider, in case there is any discord or disagreement in your treatment. Although there are some doulas who still do this, it causes tension and awkwardness in the birth area, and that is not conducive to a peaceful birth. So rather than fighting your battles for you, I will keep you educated and informed so that you can make your voice heard. I create the ideal environment for open communication and mutual respect between you and your provider, which not only improves your outcomes, but preserves the harmonious working relationship between providers and doulas, and reduces the stigma surrounding doulas.
Do you have any other questions? Feel free to email me! firstname.lastname@example.org