Doula Information & FAQ
You are here because you know you want something better for your birth, better for your baby, better for you, better for your partner, and mainstream birth options may not support your wishes. What is a mother to do? Get educated. And get a Doula...
Read this first: Dear Friend, Birth Doesn't Have to Suck.
What do you mean "Get educated"? Doesn't my hospital class tell me everything I need to know?
Mainstream birth usually consists of OB care, a hospital based birth class and a hospital birth. For some mothers, this is all they want and they accept the roll of the dice that comes with hospital birth. Hospital birth can be beautiful and empowering, or it might be traumatic. How do you know what you're walking in to? Do you have any control over the outcome? This is where education comes in. A hospital-based birth class will teach you the basic mechanics of birth and the hospital policies, but it will not teach you the hormonal physiology of birth or prepare you for the most emotionally and physically demanding day of your life. If you truly want to understand birth, calm your fears, be informed of evidence and options, and prepare yourself fully for a positive birth experience, you need to look beyond the hospital based birth class. There are numerous childbirth education classes outside of the hospital. Just ask a doula...
What is a doula?
A Labor Doula is an experienced professional who provides continuous labor support, both physical and emotional, to the mother and partner.
What a doula is not...?
A Doula is not a medical professional, although doulas usually have a lot of experience with birth. A doula does not give medical advice, but will help you ask the right questions. A doula does not perform medical procedures. A doula does not make any decisions on your behalf, but will help you understand your options. A doula does not communicate your preferences to your birth team, but will help you communicate them.
What are the benefits of a doula?
Labor doulas are statistically proven to improve outcomes:
- 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin*
- 28% decrease in the risk of C-section*
- 12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth*
- 9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
- 14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
- 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience*
Read more Evidence For Doulas here.
Does a doula replace my partner?
Absolutely not. Doulas know birth. Your partner knows you. Together, we make the best possible team to support you and help you navigate the journey of your birth. Doulas help partners as well. Often times, when a mother needs support in labor, the partner wants to help but doesn't know how. This is where the Doula can help the partner know what to do when, so the partner also has confidence in his/her role during the birth. And as questions arise during labor, the doula can reassure the partner when things are normal, or when something needs attention. Doulas can also help partners navigate the confusing options that come up during birth. And doulas can give partners a break if they want one.
Are doulas just for hippies?
No, quite the contrary. Doulas primarily attend hospital births, and work with all types of moms and families. Doulas have different styles and different strengths. It's important to interview several doulas until you find one that is a good fit for you.
What is your doula style?
I consider myself nurturing and hands on for physical support. For information and emotional support, I am an evidence based doula with a calm, confident and no nonsense style of communication. I am knowledgeable and easy going. Your birth goals are my birth goals. It is my job to support you 100%.
So, how does that play out in birth?
I believe first and foremost in education and understanding the hormonal and physiological process of birth. I will work with you prenatally to understand this process and how you can apply evidence based techniques for the most optimal labor comfort. I will help you prepare your birth wishes and understand your options before labor. During labor, I am able to use various tools and techniques to help you tune in to your body's and baby's needs. Usually your partner is best suited to provide comforting touch during labor, and I can guide him/her in how to do so. If you do not feel comfortable with your partner in that way, I am able to provide soothing touch during labor. I also work with you to keep you mentally calm and help you navigate any decisions throughout the labor process by reminding you of your options and original birth wishes. While I will not make any decisions for you, I will help you ask the right questions and take the time to come to the right decision for you.
What if I want an epidural?
That's great. I support you. Knowing what you want for your birth is the first step to being empowering in your choices. While an epidural will relieve intense sensations, it will not calm your mind. My goal as a doula is help you feel educated, prepared and confident before labor begins. During labor, my goal is help you find your rhythm and use comfort measures in early labor so when you do decide to go to the hospital for pain medication, you will have progressed far enough along and not be sent home. If you choose to use pain medication, I will still stay with you and continue to provide emotional and informational support. Modern epidurals are gradual and you can control how much medication you receive. You may still feel sensations and you will still need physical support for comfort and to help with optimal positioning.