Frequently Asked Questions
Birth Doula FAQs:
What is a birth doula?
A doula's role is to help you have the most satisfying birth as you define it by providing emotional, physical and informational support to you and your partner and by helping you to advocate for your wishes during birth.
What are the benefits of having a doula?
Studies have shown that doulas impact the birth experience positively. Overall, women who receive continuous labor support are less likely to experience/require:
- Epidural or other regional analgesia
- Birth with vacuum extraction or forceps
- Birth by cesarean
- Dissatisfaction or a negative rating of their experience
Do I need a doula if my partner plans on supporting me throughout the birth?
I often spend more time with the partner than they imagine. During early labor I'm coaching the partner over the phone. In cases where partners are looking to take a more active role in the birth, I can assist with recommendations based on my training and experience for ways the partner can soothe the mother and better support her through this challenging time. This continues as I attend the birth. At the hospital, I'm at the partner's side as they are relaying the birth preferences to the hospital staff helping them navigate the medical system. It's also nice to have someone there if they need to take a break!
What if I plan on having a medicated birth / epidural?
Having a doula on site is still beneficial and likely to help keep this a low intervention birth. Having someone there to reassure you, to explain what is happening and to generally take care of your needs will help the birth go much more smoothly.
What if you are assisting another birth when I go into labor?
I work with a DONA certified birth doula as my emergency back up that I am confident will be compatible with my clients. I provide you with her contact information to speak with her prenatally. One of us will definitely be there!
What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
It excites me to support a woman at the edge of her limits, working to get her to a place where she believes in her capabilities. I am ever so grateful to be able to bear witness to that moment in her life.
Postpartum Doula FAQs:
What is a postpartum doula?
What a postpartum doula does changes from day to day, as the needs of the family change. Postpartum doulas do whatever a mother needs or the family needs to best enjoy and care for the new baby. A large part of their role is education. They share information about baby care with parents, as well as teach siblings and partners to “mother the mother.” Additionally, they assist with breastfeeding education as well as place attention to the mother's recovery.
What is the difference between a postpartum doula and a baby nurse?
The role of a postpartum doula is to help a woman through her postpartum period and to nurture the family. Unlike a baby nurse, a doula’s focus is not solely on the baby, but on fostering independence for the entire family by placing a priority on teaching (baby care, breastfeeding support) and assistance around the home. The doula is as available to the partner and older children as to the mother and the baby. Treating the family as a unit that is connected and always changing enables doulas to do their job: nurture the family.
How does a postpartum doula work with my partner?
A doula respects the partner’s role and input, and teaches concrete skills that will help the partner nurture the baby and mother. The doula will share evidence-based information with the partner that shows how his or her role in the early weeks will have a dramatic positive effect on the family.
What can I expect during a visit?
Visits usually last 4+ hrs and start by debriefing the couple to identify areas that need attention. Every visit usually is centered around a set of priorities. In the early weeks, it's mostly centered around the mother's recovery and breastfeeding while the later weeks include outings and taking care of household responsibilities. Here's as example of a sample 4 hr visit:
- Debrief the couple and identify priorities
- Assist the mama in improving her breastfeeding latch while teaching the partner how to support the breastfeeding mother
- Create breastfeeding stations around the house
- Prepare a meal for the family
- Do a load of baby's laundry
- Watch the baby while the couple takes a nap/showers
- Teach couple how to wear baby out
"When you have come to the edge of all the light you know and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of 2 things will happen: there will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly." ~Patrick Overter