What is a Birth Doula?
As your Birth Doula, I will provide 24/7 on-call support starting at 37 weeks as well as continuous and personalized labor support from early contractions until just after your baby is born. I support you with empowering evidence-based knowledge throughout the birthing process, helping you and your family know and understand your options so that you can advocate for your needs and wants.
Isn't that what my OB/Midwife and Labor and Delivery Nurses do?
Well, yes and no. In both home and in the hospital, your OB or Midwife is there to support you on a clinical level. They will not offer continuous support from the beginning of labor, but rather checking in regularly and in attendance for the actual birth. The Labor and Delivery Nurses are amazing, but are typically moving from room to room-offering support to multiple families at once. It is also common in a hospital setting, that both the OB and nursing staff who are there upon your arrival are not the same support people who are there when your baby is born.
Can't my partner give me the same support?
Your partner provides emotional support to you in a way that no one else is capable of. They know you intimately, and can anticipate your reactions before you have even had them. They are the person you look to in life for support and they are likely the person you feel most comfortable being your real self with. This relationship in the delivery room is incredibly valuable. As your Doula, I bring knowledge and experience with birth that typically loved ones do not have. I give your partner ideas about what comfort measures work best during different parts of labor and birth. We work as a team. By having a Doula present, it takes the pressure off and allows your partner to feel calmer, more confident and better able to provide the support that you need.
How far in advance should I book your Birth Doula services?
You can contact and meet with me anytime during your pregnancy. I would suggest booking my services by at least 30 weeks to insure that I have the availability.
Is a Doula the same as a Midwife?
No. A doula provides no medical or nursing care. Since a doula does not have these responsibilities, or other patients to attend to, they can give complete attention to the birthing person for the entire length of her labor.
Aren't doulas just for hippies?
No, not at all! Doulas work with all types of caregivers and families. We help you be empowered to know and understand all of your options. From the very first contraction, you can make confident decisions concerning your labor and birth. Doulas each have different styles and different strengths. It's important to interview several doulas until you find one that is a good fit for you.
What if I want an epidural?
That's great! I completely and fully support you. Knowing what you want for your birth is the first step to being empowering in your choices. While an epidural will relieve intense sensations, it will not calm you or your partner’s emotional state. My goal as a doula is help you feel educated, prepared and confident when labor begins. During labor, my goal is help you find your rhythm and use comfort measures in early contractions so when you do decide to go to the hospital for pain medication, you will have already progressed. If you choose an epidural, I will still stay with you and continue to provide emotional and informational support, as well as physically help you change from different side lying positions in order to mimic active labor movements. When its time to push, I will be there to coach and support you and your partner during this exciting, powerful, and exhaustive time.
Can a Doula attend a C-section birth?
Yes, a person having a C-section can still use a doula’s support. The doula may or may not be allowed in the operating room per the hospitals regulations. Many if not all hospitals only allow one support person the OR, so it will truly depend on the birthing persons team and the decision that pertain to this. For a scheduled C-section, a doula will be there in the time before and help with any emotional support needed by the birthing person and family. After a C-section I will be there in the recovery to help with feeding, as well as other comfort measures for the new parents.
If a labor turns into an emergency C-section, a doula may not be able to attend the birth in the OR as by the rules of the hospital, but will offer all of the support leading up to the C-section as well as support in recovery.
Do you accept insurance?
Currently, Doulas are not covered by any insurance. Many companies that offer HSA (Health Savings Account) plans cover the cost of a Birth Doula. Ask me about the paperwork and check with your HR department.
How are doulas trained?
Birth doula training may include a series of childbirth education classes, educational seminars, birth observations with and without another trained doula, on the job training, and written tests or papers. Doulas receive training to be an advocate for laboring couples and to provide them with information on options so they can make informed choices. DONA International trained me as a birth doula, and more information can be found on DONA.org.
What is your doula style?
I am nurturing and hands on, I will hold you both emotionally as well as physically. I can be your loudest cheerleader or a quiet and calming presence for you. I am a knowledgeable evidence based doula with a calm, confident and no nonsense style of communication. Your birth goals are my birth goals. It is my job to support you 100%, the way you want, so you can have the birth story you feel good about.
So, how does that play out in birth?
I will work with you prenatally to understand this process and how you can apply evidence-based information for the most optimal labor. I will help you prepare your birth wishes and understand all your options before labor. During labor, I am able to use various tools and techniques to help you tune in to your body's and baby's needs. Your partner may be best suited to provide comforting touch during labor, and I can guide them in doing so. If you or your partner does not feel comfortable with those roles, I am able to provide soothing touch during labor. I also work with you to keep you calm and to help navigate any decisions throughout the labor process by reminding you of your options and your original birth wishes. I will not make any decisions for you or your family. I will help guide you in asking the right questions so that you are confident in the decisions you make.
What's in your bag?
I bring my trusty Doula Bag to every birth, hospital or home! It contains comfort measures like massage rollers, essential oils, and a rebozo (large and long piece of fabric used for support and positioning). I have tools such as a headlamp and led candles in the event you prefer to labor in a darkened room. Some mints, tums, and a few extra hair ties and a few snacks which Im always happy to share if cleared with the Midwife, OB, or attending nurse. Im can always bring my bag to our intial consulatation and show you exactly what's in there!
What does a doula do after the birth?
After the birth, doulas can be available to assist new mothers with pain-relief management, breastfeeding guidance and family bonding assistance. As your birth Doula I will be on call for you as your recover in the hospital, and will travel to your house a day or so after you are discharged and settled back at home.
What if you don't make it in time for the birth?
Sometimes things happen that prevent me from being to attend a birth (servere weather, already at a birth, unforeseen circumstances such as car trouble), and while I always do my best to overcome these obstacles it can happen that I am unable to make it work. For every family that signs a contract with me for my services, I always have a backup doula for just this reason. Other circumstances are outlined in my contract and can be discussed further at our conseltation.
What is a postpartum doula?
By definition, the word doula comes from Greek and means “woman who serves.” Today the term doula is used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides emotional and practical support to the parents and baby during the postpartum period.
As your Postpartum Doula I will arrive at your home a few days after birth. It is an emotional and overwhelming time for everyone. As a trained professional I can assist you and your family in learning newborn care (nail clipping, bathing, swaddling...), provide breastfeeding and/or bottle feeding support, babywearing options, as well as reclaiming some household organization. I will also hold your newborn so you can shower, eat, rest and rejuvenate. I can help you and your partner find confidence in your new parenting role as well as be empowered by your choices and decisions. I completed my postpartum doula training through Cappa.
What is the difference between a baby nurse and a postpartum doula?
A postpartum doula is a trained and experienced professional who aids new parents through education, information and support. The focus is on the whole family as a unit, providing care and support and assisting each family in their specific family needs allowing the birthing parent to recover.
A baby nurse is a non-medical care provider, who may also be called a newborn care specialist. Their primary focus is on the baby and many times taking over care for extended periods of time.
Do you provide overnight care?
I currently do not offer overnight Postpartum Doula care. However I work with a few other Doulas who can offer overnight care to my families and I can share their information upon request.
How far in advance do I need to secure your Postpartum services?
Ideally, we would book prenatally (when you’re around 27-30 weeks is good) so I can help you prepare for your postpartum period when you’re not actually in the middle of it. This also allows me to make sure I'm available when your baby comes. That said, if you need me, you should reach out and if I’m available, I will do my best to support you.