What is a doula and what do they do? A doula is a trained professional providing non-medical support during pregnancy, labor, birth, and the postpartum period. A doula provides a listening ear for the emotional process of pregnancy, physical comfort suggestions during pregnancy and labor, and informational support for families. The doula is knowledgeable in the processes of pregnancy and childbirth, possesses skills to utilize during labor, and assist a laboring woman cope with the physical and emotional experiences of pregnancy and labor. Most importantly, a doula will respect the wishes of the woman and her partner using her skills to complement their desires to ensure a satisfying birth memory. Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics A Birth Doula's Role in Maternity Care
When should I contact and hire a doula? The earlier the better! However, regardless of when you contact and hire a doula, you will receive the same benefits. The longer you have a doula as part of your pregnancy, the closer your relationship will grow. You may also find that a doula's calendar can fill up rather quickly, so contacting us as soon as possible will help ensure we are available for you.
I have a great doctor or midwife, do I need a doula too? Doctors, midwives, nurses, and doulas all take on different roles in the birth community. Each one is important to a birth team, and all work together to assist a laboring woman and her family in a positive birth experience. Physicians or midwives are highly-trained and skilled medical professionals that monitor you and your baby's health before and during labor and delivery. The nurse(s), also medically trained, have the job of communicating with your doctor or midwife, monitoring you and your baby's vital signs, administer medication, perform vaginal exams, charting, and more. A doula will be there as part of your birth team to focus on you and your partner while offering emotional support and physical comfort.
I'm taking childbirth and/or parenting preparation classes, why would I need a doula? Doulas are intended to enhance, not replace, such preparation classes. Your doula will be with you during labor to remind you of certain techniques you may have learned in childbirth or parenting classes.
I already have a supportive birth partner, why do I need a doula? It is great to be surrounded by loved ones during such a special time. A doula will enhance the presence of those wanting to offer you support, in a non-intrusive manner. Often times a doula is able to bring knowledge and experience that a partner may not. Additionally a partner, mother, grandmother, or close friend may each have their own emotional response to seeing the woman they love experience labor. A doula will respect all emotions and gently provide encouragement, information, and reassurance helping loved ones respectfully support a laboring woman's needs.
I’m not comfortable having a "stranger" with me during this intimate life event, isn't birth suppose to be private? Birth is definitely an intimate experience. A doula is a professional, and will respect your wishes regarding privacy and modesty. Many women and partners report feeling more secure with the presence of a doula.
I’m not yet decided on my birth plan and choices for labor, what if I get an epidural or have a cesarean section? That is okay! A doula will help walk you through your choices and preferences helping to create your birth plan. The goal of a doula is to support you in having the best birth experience possible. If your caregiver suggests a cesarean or other procedures, a doula will help guide you through the process and encourage you to make informed decisions best for you and your family.