Frequently Asked Questions
What is a doula?
A birth doula is a trained professional who provides emotional, informational, and physical support for a woman throughout pregnancy & childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest and most satisfying birth experience possible. This can include:
- assistance in creating a birth plan
- providing evidence-based information to educate the parents on different options available to them
- continuous labor support including massage, counterpressure, positioning suggestions, breathing techniques, and other comfort measures
- breastfeeding support, and more
There are also doulas that help you at home after the birth and they are called postpartum doulas. Please contact me if you would like a referral to a postpartum doula in your area.
What are the benefits of doula support?
Studies have shown that women who are attended by doulas have:
- shorter labors with fewer complications
- less negative feelings about their childbirth experience
- a reduced need for pitocin, vacuum/forceps deliveries or cesareans
- fewer requests for pain medications or epidurals (Source: www.dona.org)
How do I choose a doula?
You should choose a doula whose philosophy most aligns with the goals that you have for your own birth. This is an intimate time and you want to hire someone who you trust and who you feel will give you personally tailored support . I encourage you to interview several different doulas to get a feel for what type of support they will offer. DONA International's website has a great list of questions to ask a doula at the initial interview.
How will my partner benefit?
A doula can be helpful even when your partner wants to be actively involved! Having a knowledgeable doula present can help to alleviate concerns that many partners have, especially if it is your first birth and you are not exactly sure what to expect. She will:
- make suggestions for different positions or massage techniques
- get water or food for the partner so that the mother is never alone
- give the partner a break to go to the bathroom, nap, or eat
A doula does not take over the role of your spouse or partner, rather, they work together with your partner to complete your support team.
Can a doula give medical advice?
A doula is not a medical professional and cannot give medical advice, perform vaginal exams, blood pressure checks, fetal heart tone checks, or any other clinical or medical task. She can, however, provide you with the information that you need to make an informed decision. A doula also cannot make decisions on your behalf or speak to your care provider on your behalf. She can assist in getting the conversation with your care provider started and assist you in asking questions to determine the risks and benefits of any choice.
What if I want an epidural?
If you are planning on having an epidural or if you decide to receive one during labor, a doula will remain non-judgmental, assist with position changes in the bed, and keep the room woman-focused. Having a doula with you after you receive an epidural can help to minimize further interventions.
What if I'm having a cesarean delivery?
Whether planned or unplanned, a doula can provide support during the birth of your baby. She can help to create a cesarean birth plan, discuss your feelings about the birth, help to support your partner while you are prepped for surgery, stay by your side if your partner accompanies the baby elsewhere, take pictures, and provide immediate breastfeeding support in the recovery room to help get you and your baby off to a great start!
Would you like more information about exactly what a doula does and how I can assist you?
Here are some helpful articles from Evidence Based Birth and Belly Belly, or feel free to contact me with any questions.
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