What is a doula?
A doula is trained birth professional who provides emotional, physical, and informational support to a woman and her family during pregnancy and childbirth. Professional Doulas are formally trained, and are well-informed on the physiological and emotional aspects of childbirth, physical techniques beneficial in childbirth, as well as childbirth options available to the woman.
How can a doula impact your delivery? Statistics have shown
50% reduction in cesarean rate
25% shorter labor
60% reduction in epidural requests
40% reduction in Pitocin use
30% reduction in analgesia use
40% reduction in forceps delivery
Research shows parents who receive support may
feel more secure and cared for
are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
have greater success with breastfeeding
have greater self-confidence
lower rate of postpartum depression
Dads and Doulas….a wonderful team!
Having a doula doesn’t replace Dad or other birth partners. Not only does a doula support a woman during labor, but a doula is also present to support the partner during this time. A doula works with the couple in the prenatal appointments so that the father knows what to expect and is able to best support the mother while feeling comfortable throughout the birthing process. The presence of a doula often allows the couple to be more connected. The doula brings education and confidence to the birth process, helps the partner by allowing him or her to take breaks, and because the doula provides physical comfort measures, the partner can focus more intently on the mother. With a doula present, the mother can lean on the partner while the doula might applies counter pressure to the back pressure or other therapeutic techniques helpful during labor.
Does a doula advocate for me?
During pregnancy and throughout delivery the doula provides information for the couple to make informed decisions. She does not make decisions or speak for you.
Epidurals & Pain Medication: Is a doula only interested in supporting me if I plan to give birth without medication?
There is a common myth that doulas are only for women attempting to give birth without drugs or medical intervention. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are trained to view childbirth as a natural and normal process, however most doulas believe that there is a time and a place for medical intervention. We provide emotional, physical and informational support and support who receive medication during childbirth. Doulas want every woman to have a positive birthing experience. For some women that means giving birth with as little intervention as possible and for others it is not even a consideration for personal or practical reasons. We do not suggest our opinions and personal philosophies. We provide information so they each woman can make informed decisions. Our job is to support those choices whatever they may be. We will not decide for you and doulas should not provide biased information. We want you to have the best birth experience possible with the healthiest outcome.
What if I’m having a planned caesarean or an unplanned caesarean section?
Whether you are having a planned caesarean or an unplanned one a doula can support both you and your partner through this sometimes scary and very emotional time. Since most doulas have had the opportunity of experiencing caesarean sections at one time or another, she will be able to explain to you and your partner what to expect and help you prepare mentally for it.
Does a doula perform medical tasks?
A doula does not take the place of the healthcare team. Primary care providers are responsible for the medical health needs of the mother and baby. Doulas do not perform any medical or clinical procedures. A doula helps ensure that the mother’s non-medical needs are also met. A doula provides constant care throughout the entire labor and birth including informational, physical, and emotional support, and immediately following the birth. Doula provide the information for a mother to make informed decisions but does not make decisions for the mother.
Does a doula come to my home when I’m in labor?
This would be entirely up to you and depends on how your labor begins. Many couples prefer their doula to meet them at their home and stay with them while they labor until it is time to go to the birthing place. Other couples prefer to meet at the hospital or birthing center.
How long would I need a doula for?
Birth doulas offer support during pregnancy, labor and birth, and during the immediate postpartum period. After the birth, a doula offers immediately postpartum support. The assistance she gives varies from client to client. I am also happy to recommend a postpartum doula who specializes in the postpartum period.