frequently asked questions
What is a Doula?
The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.
A Birth Doula?
Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
Stays with the woman throughout the labor
Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decision
Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience
Allows the woman's partner to participate at his/her comfort level
A Postpartum Doula?
Offers education, companionship and nonjudgmental support during the postpartum fourth trimester
Assists with newborn care, family adjustment, meal preparation and light household tidying
Offers evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, infant soothing and coping skills for new parents and makes appropriate referrals when necessary
A Breastfeeding Counselor?
Offer evidence-based breastfeeding information and support to women through in-person meetings, by phone, or email.
May also provide administrative support to volunteers or participate in advocacy activities.
Mothers who have breastfed their babies for at least one year.
Understand the significant role mother to mother support plays in the overall success and satisfaction of ones breastfeeding experience.
How will you work with my birth partner if I already have one?
My job as a doula is to help your partner help you. Being a birthing partner is a tough job! A doula allows your birth partner to participate to his or her comfort level. I can get food and drink for you and your partner when you'd rather him or her be with you, or I can take over for a little while so that he or she can take a break. If ever your partner is unsure what to do to help you, I can help give him or her some direction. While I'm trained in birthing and maternity care, your birthing partner is trained in the most important thing: you. Your birthing partner knows you, what you like, and what works for you. Our roles complement one another and help achieve the ultimate goal: a healthy, happy birth.
What if I'm planning an epidural or cesarean?
Won't a doula push her views about birth onto our family?
No! My job as a doula is to help YOU achieve the birth that YOU want.
Birthing is about empowering women with factual evidence to do what they believe is best for themselves, their babies, and their families. Your decisions are just that: YOUR decisions. I can give you information that you may need to make decisions, give you options that you didn't realize you had, and/or remind you of your original birth plan when labor gets intense, but ultimately my job is to support what YOU want and support all of your choices along the way. Doulas accompany women into all birthing situations, including high-risk pregnancies/births, inductions, medicated births, and even planned cesareans. There are specific techniques that can reduce additional interventions and/or complications no matter what your birth plan includes! Many women mistakenly believe that because they're not planning an unmedicated birth, they don't have any options. Let me show you how to have the best birth for your specific circumstances!