What is a doula?
A doula is a non-medical person who provides emotional, informational and physical support to women during pregnancy, labor, birth and immediately postpartum.
What does a doula do?
Your doula is an independent contractor hired by you, not your care provider or birthing venue. She is there to care just for you and your needs! A professionally trained and certified doula is equipped to provide evidence-based information to ease decision making during pregnancy and labor, as well as physical and emotional support.
What are the benefits of hiring a doula?
Results from a review of 21 studies, released in 2011 by the Cochrane Collaboration, showed that women attended by a doula during labor are:
- Significantly more likely to have a spontaneous vaginal birth
- Less likely to have intrapartum analgesia (narcotics)
- More likely to have short labors
- Less likely to have a cesarean
- Less likely to have an epidural
- Less likely to have babies with APGARs of 5 or lower
- 27% less likely to be dissatisfied with their births
- Significantly less likely to feel a loss of control in labor
What can a doula NOT do?
- Perform clinical tasks (such as cervical exams, check blood pressure/fetal heart rates).
- Make decisions for you. Doulas assist in getting you the information necessary to make an informed decision and remind you of any departure from your birth plan.
- Speak to the medical staff for you. I will discuss your concerns and options with you, but you and your partner need to address the medical staff directly.
- Prescribe, diagnose or treat any medical problems.
- Provide childcare before, during or after labor. I have several great resources I can provide you to locate a babysitter or nanny.
What about my partner? Does a doula replace them?
Doulas do not replace your partner! Doulas are a part of your birth team to support both you and your partner. Sometimes partners may be leery of including a doula into your birth team, for fear of being replaced. This is not the goal of a doula. She wants to be sure both of you are made comfortable and have the knowledge and support needed to have the birth you both desire. If that means guiding your partner on massage techniques, or assisting them with your position changes, then your doula will help in exactly that way. Or, if it means your partner would rather be your emotional support person, but would rather not provide the physical comfort measures, like massage, then your doula will step in and carry out that aspect of support.
What if I want an epidural?
A doulas support does not end once an epidural is placed. It is sometimes thought that birthing mothers need a doula especially after an epidural because, even though her pain may be eased, her need for emotional and informational support is still paramount. Many partners take the time immediately following an epidural placement to take a well deserved break for themselves (nap or snack). While it is also a good time for the birthing mother to rest, a doula is always available to fill any voids in support.
I am scheduled for a cesarean delivery. Can I still benefit from a doula?
Absolutely! Although it may be hospital policy to limit the number of support persons allowed into the operating room for your birth, a doula can remain with you and maintain a sense of calm prior to being taken into the OR. She can also hold space for your awaiting family members, help with breastfeeding once you’re moved to recovery, be sure your belongings make it from one room to the next and even stay with you to make the transition to your postpartum room as smooth as possible.
Hiring a doula seems pricey!
Relatively speaking, the cost of a doula is minimal in relation to the amount spent on nursery furniture, baby gear and diapering needs. There is substantial scientific evidence that hiring a doula can significantly increase your satisfaction in your birth. It is an investment no doubt, but when you consider your doula’s duties to you (24/7 on call, unlimited phone and email support, even at 2am!) the investment is understandably justified.
I live a little ways from the city. How far will you travel to meet clients?
I will travel as far as 30 miles (from zip 45238) to reach my clients. When you request that I meet you in labor, I want you to be comfortable that even during rush hour traffic, I can reach you. Cincinnati traffic and weather can be unpredictable, therefore this has proven to be the best travel guideline for both my clients and myself.
I would love for you to be my doula! What’s the next step?
Wonderful! Please contact me so that I can be sure I’m am available for your due date. I pride myself on timely replies to inquires and will respond to you quickly.
Next, we will set up a no-obligation, in-person interview to ensure that we are a great match. Immediately upon hiring me as your doula, I will be available to you for unlimited support via email, phone and text. During your 36th week of pregnancy, we will set up a prenatal appointment in the comfort of your home to discuss your birth preferences and to get to know each other even better.
I will be available to you on call, 24 hours a day/7 days a week, from your 38th week of pregnancy until labor begins. Once requested by you, I will meet you at your home or the hospital to begin supporting you through labor. I will stay with you through birth, until you and your new baby are settled in and comfortable.
During your first two weeks postpartum, I will contact you to set up a prenatal visit in your home to discuss your birth, provide emotional support and newborn basics education, and possibly even help with light housework or meal prep. I can also provide you with referrals to other local professionals trained to further support you during your postpartum recovery.
©Every Birth Cincinnati LLC 2016