What is a doula?
Doula comes from Ancient Greek and means “a woman of service.” Today the word is used to describe a birth professional who assists a woman physically, emotionally, and intellectually in preparation for labor and during labor. They are trained in comfort and relaxation techniques to assist the mother as she labors. Doulas assist mothers at home births, birth centers, and hospitals.
What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?
A midwife is the mother’s care provider, serving in place of the traditional obstetrician. Midwives provide all the medical care during prenatal visits, delivery, and postpartum. They are the ones that actually delivery the baby.
A doula provides physical and emotional support during childbirth. Doulas do not provide any medical care such as vaginal exams, monitoring fetal heart tones, and checking blood pressure. They do not speak on behalf of the woman, but do give the partner and mother the tools and knowledge they need to make informed decisions during childbirth. Doulas are meant to remain at the mother’s side without interruption, whereas midwives, especially those in hospitals, are not necessarily with the mother constantly.
Why should I hire a doula?
Doulas are trained in comfort measures, laboring positions, and tools that help childbearing women. Studies show that having a doula attend one’s birth often reduces interventions and pain medication.
(Klaus, Kennell, & Klaus, The Doula Book, 2003)
Here is a study showing the benefits of a doula.
Does the doula replace the birth partner?
No! A doula does not replace the partner. Doulas support the whole family and they are great at helping the partner become as involved in the birth as the couples desires. Most partners, especially first-timers, do not know how to support a woman in labor. A doula can help direct the partner and give them tools and advice so they can be fully engaged and involved. Having a doula present can alleviate some of the pressure and fear that the partner experiences when watching their loved one go through labor. It is common for the partner to be reluctant at the idea of having someone join them in the birth of their child. I provide a free, no-obligation consultation where I would be happy to talk to the mother and partner about the role of a doula. Meeting with the couple in person often alleviates the initial hesitation.
What if I want pain medication?
Although doulas typically attend births for women who desire a natural birth experience, women who desire the use of pain medication can still benefit from a doula’s service. Doulas can help women prenatally by providing resources and information so that the mother and partner can determine their birth preferences. An empowered, successful birth (as defined by the mother) is ultimately what the doula wants to help the mother achieve. A woman’s need for support and encouragement does not stop even with an epidural.
What if I have a c-section?
In the unlikely event that a c-section becomes necessary, a doula can still provide needed support. Depending on the hospital, a doula and the partner can be present during delivery. If the hospital does not allow any additional support persons in the operating room, doulas can offer support before and immediately after delivery. Most of the time a Caesarean was not anticipated, so a doula can help the couple understand what is about to happen. Immediately following delivery, doulas can provide breastfeeding and emotional support for the mother. It’s important that mothers feel supported when their birth does not go as planned. Having a doula can help new mothers psychologically process their birth.
What is included in your doula package?
The price of a doula may seem an unnecessary expense because you probably were unaware of it until becoming pregnant. The benefits of having a doula, however, truly outweigh the cost. All families need support before, during, and after childbirth.
-A free consultation
-2 prenatal visits to discuss birth preferences, comfort measures, what to expect, etc.
-1 postpartum visit to assist with breastfeeding and processing the birth
-24/7 on-call support from 38 weeks to 42 weeks
-Continuous support during labor and delivery, regardless of the time of day or duration of labor
-Access to a lending library
View more information here.