Frequently Asked Questions
What is a birth doula?
Doula is Greek word meaning “woman’s servant.” A birth doula is a professional who is trained to assist a woman throughout her pregnancy, labor, and postpartum recovery. As a doula I will provide educational, emotional, and physical support to you as you journey into motherhood. My goal as a doula is to help you have a labor experience in which you feel safe and empowered and that will become a memory you will cherish.
Why should I have a doula?
Including a doula in your birth team is a very personal decision and while it may not be for everyone, there are many potential benefits of hiring a doula. My hope as a doula is to help each client achieve positive outcomes for her and her baby by providing unbiased support and researched-based resources. People say “healthy mom, healthy baby” as if that is all that matters. Of course having a healthy mom and baby is important, but I believe there is a emotional and spiritual side of birth that matters as well.
Research studies* suggest that continuous support by a doula may:
reduce the need for cesareans
shorten the length of labors
reduce requests for epidurals
reduce the need of analgesia (pain meds)
reduce the need for forceps assisted deliveries
improve newborn's five minute Apgar score
increase maternal satisfaction of birth experience
decrease occurrences of postpartum mood disorders
What does having a doula look like?
Check out the services page. The assistance a woman may require or find helpful during labor will vary as each labor experience is unique. The techniques used may include light massage, counter pressure, encouragement, evidence-based material to help you make informed decisions, and suggestions during labor such as positioning to encourage a smooth labor process.
Labor is an adventure like no other and you cannot guarantee things to go your way. I believe that surrounding yourself with people who can provide non-judgmental, unbiased support is one of the most powerful things you can do to increase your satisfaction of your birth experience. During our prenatal meetings I will get to know you and your hopes and concerns about birth so we can discuss and plan options you would like to utilize in labor.
My partner will be at my birth. Can a doula still be helpful?
Yes, that is fabulous! Your birth partner will have an invaluable role to play in your birth as they know you the best. Your special bond with them will help you feel safe and that can be the greatest comfort measure of all. Bringing a child into a world is not a small feat. Having the extra hands and the expertise of a doula present can help ensure your birth partner can be involved in the ways that will be most helpful to you.
It can be stressful for a partner to watch you going through something hard. Labor is challenging, but the reward is so great (meeting your baby!). I can make suggestions to your birth partner of how they can help you if they feel unsure or if what you had planned isn’t working. I can explain what is going on through the unexpected bumps in the road, and present potential options you can discuss with your care provider.
I can be with you when your birth partner needs to step away to grab a bite to eat, get some rest, or make a phone call. This is an emotional journey for them as well. Having someone who has been there before to encourage them through the normalcy of labor and give them the space to process as it happens takes a lot of stress off of them. Labor can be more like a marathon than a race; at the end of it you and your birth partner will have a beautiful little one in your care. Giving you and your partner my support as we work together through labor can help make sure he or she has the stamina after labor to be fully present as you recover.
I will have a midwife/OB and a nurse at my birth, so why have a doula?
Your birth team may include a nurse, midwife, OB or other professionals who are all vital to your care. In very few circumstances will they be able to provide continuous support to you from the time you begin to need it. Many times the medical staff are caring for more than one laboring woman at a time. And even in the settings and staffing situations that do provide you one-on-one support from a medical professional, their main focus is on the medical side of labor: taking your blood pressure, adjusting fetal monitors, keeping records for the hospital, etc. Doulas can be especially helpful because their one focus is YOU.
This is a special time in your life and you deserve that individual care from someone who has spent the time to get to know you and your needs. Except in rare circumstances, I will be at every one of my clients’ labors from the time they need me until their baby is born. With most practices you will receive care from whichever of the caregivers is on call when you go into labor. Hiring me as your doula can ensure you have a familiar face who knows you and your wishes there for your birth.
I plan on getting an epidural/have a planned caesarean, how could you help me?
This is your birth and I support your birthing choices. I can assist a woman who has an epidural in many of the same ways I would assist a woman who plans to birth without one. I can provide emotional support, encouragement with breathing techniques and visualization, help changing positions in bed, utilize pillows or a peanut ball to encourage baby’s descent, and so much more! A birth with an epidural may still have its discomforts. I can help you cope until the effects begin to kick in. I can also help you deal with the possible side effects of the medication.
A doula can also be a beneficial addition to a cesarean birth team. Most hospitals are open to allowing doulas into the operating room if you ask for this ahead of time. This can be helpful as the doula could stay to support the mother while the father goes with the baby or vice versa. I can also assist in the recovery room with skin to skin and breastfeeding after surgery. For planned cesareans, I can help you create a discussion with your provider prior to surgery to make sure your experience goes as smoothly as possible.
Where did you train to be a doula?
I trained with Birth Arts International as a labor doula, and completed my certificate in my first year as a doula. I feel this has prepared me to serve women during birth by giving me hands-on tools and the head knowledge required. My personal experiences with pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and motherhood drove me to become a doula and give me the passion to be involved in the birth world. I am also CPR/AED certified.
How much will I invest to have your services?
The current rate is $950 for my services package. Your birth is a once in a lifetime experience and a pivotal moment into motherhood. I also understand that having a baby is expensive! Asking for contributions towards the amount as a baby shower gift is one creative option. I do offer special pricing for teen moms and moms considering adoption or surrogacy. I believe that all women who want a doula deserve that support. So please contact me even if feel you are unable to pay the full rate. If I am unable to serve you, I will do my best to help connect you with a doula who can.
What if I’m not sure about having a doula at my birth?
That’s okay! It’s a big decision. Maybe having a doula at your birth isn’t for you. If you are unsure, you can contact me for a free consultation to discuss your concerns and learn more about me. I also offer a prenatal labor preparation consult as a stand alone service and/or a childbirth class series to teach you all about the birth process.