What is a Doula?
a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born.
Doula is a Greek word meaning "woman servant". In modern times the word doula refers to a non-medical person who provides physical and emotional support to a woman and her partner during pregnancy, labor, and birth. Studies have shown that when doulas attend births, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily, and women report higher levels of satisfaction with their birth.
Will the doula take the place of my husband/partner during the birth?
No. A doulas job is to work with you and your partner to create a supportive birth team. Natasha and Star will go over techniques with you and your partner during the prenatal visits. Your doula will suggest techniques during labor to help your partner support you. A doula can provide breaks for the birth partner (or partners) if they feel they need them but will not take their place in the birth process. Her goal is to work closely with your support team so everyone has a positive experience.
Do doulas only attend unmedicated or homebirths?
Doulas can support every type of birth whether in the hospital or at home. Interventions and c-section rates are lower when doulas attend births. Natasha and Star have training in techniques that are useful during inductions or planned epidurals. They can also support for a planned cesarean. A doula's role is to support the birth choices you make. Your doula will prepare you for birth and provide the support to achieve your goals.
Will the doula talk to the hospital staff on my behalf?
No, a doula should not speak to the hospital staff on your behalf. Your doula can ask you if you would like more time to discuss something but it will be up to you to communicate your wishes with your provider and nurses. Your doula will help you research the birth process prior to labor so that you and your partner will feel confident and be comfortable speaking up on your own behalf. This does not mean she will not talk to the staff at all; she simply will not speak for you.
Won't my nurses provide the same care a doula would?
While there are many great and attentive nurses, they simply do not have the time to provide continuous care to every laboring woman. Many times the nurses have multiple women in labor at the same time. They will be dividing their time between you and other women. A nurse also works in shifts. There may be a shift change during your labor in which time the nurse will go home. When you hire Natasha or Star as your doula, they do not leave your side. A nurse is trained in the clinical tasks whereas a doula is trained in comfort techniques.
Can't my friend do the same thing a doula does?
While having a friend support you is an option, you have to ask what you are looking for in your labor support person. A doula has very specialized trainingin comfort techniques to help you relax during labor. A doula also has an in depth knowledge of the process of childbirth and hospital procedure, they can help answer questions that arise. While a friends support is great, their knowledge is not likely as specialized as the doula who is trained and has attended births regularly. Another thing to consider is if your friend will need to tend to their families needs and possibly have to leave you at some point? A doula has childcare in place and a good backup secured to ensure you will not be left alone without your support person.
I am having a homebirth with a midwife, can I still benefit from a doula?
A midwife and doula have distinctly separate roles in their support ofbirth. Midwives perform the clinical tasks during labor and the delivery of the baby. While they can also assist you in getting into comfortable positions, there may be times when all of their focus will be on the clinical tasks or the baby. This is where a doula comes in, the doulas entire focus is on providing emotional and physical support to the laboring mother. Doulas and Midwives work together to provide a supportive birth team.
What if I can't afford a doula?
Doula services are an investment in your birth. If you are unsure if you can afford the fee, discuss the possibility of a payment plan with your doula. You can also think of some creative ways to save for a doula. Think of an "extra" item you purchase in your daily life, cut that out and set that money aside during the pregnancy. You can also ask for donations to your doula fund in lieu of a baby shower gift. Most of the things people buy for a baby don't end up being used (babies don't need as much gear as we think they do). Clean out your closets and consign clothes you don't wear anymore. You don't get a do-over on the birth of your baby. Having a doula is worth the investment. If you plan early in the pregnancy, saving across 30 weeks is not as daunting as coming up with the full fee at one time.
"Women who have used a doula are more satisfied with their birth experience, feel more confidant in their ability to mother, bond faster with their newborn, are less likely to have postpartum depression, and are more likely to breastfeed". - Klaus, Kennel, and Klaus