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Birth Doula FAQs

“We have a secret in our culture, it’s not that birth is painful, it’s that women are strong.”

                                                                                           ~Laura Stavoe Harm

What is a Birth Doula?

A Doula is a trained non-medical support person who is there to help Mom during pregnancy, labor, birth and the post-partum period. They also serve as great back-up for the birth partner!  As a Doula my role is to provide emotional, physical and informational support. A Doula has knowledge on how to approach labor and birth in ways that can enhance Mom's comfort and focus. Our training is grounded in  the latest evidenced based research and best practice guidelines. As a Doula, I can also help you to prepare for birth both mentally and physically, assisting you in writing your birth preferences,  understanding your choices and developing a toolkit of comfort measures for use at home and in the hospital. 

What are the benefits of a Birth Doula?

Research has shown that when a Birth Doula is present and a mom has continuous support during labor, labor tends to be shorter and with fewer complications. Women who use doulas report having more positive feelings about the birthing experience and tend to breastfeed longer than women who birthed without a doula. Doula assisted  births have a reduced need for labor induction or delivery assisted with forceps or vacuum. There is also a reduction in epidurals and the extent of the pain medication requested. Having a Doula can also have a positive impact on the birth partner’s experience and their involvement throughout labor. My husband is a HUGE advocate for doulas! As first time parents,  he was also a little clueless about how things were going during labor and having our doula there was a great help.

Will a Doula interfere with the role of my birth partner?

No, your Doula is there to support you and your birth partner. To enhance both of your experiences a the birth. As a Doula I m an expert in birth, comfort measures and emotional support, your birth partner is an expert in you! They know you best, or you wouldn't have invited them into the room. Together we can support you in having the most positive, empowered birth experience possible. 

What is the difference between a Doula and a Midwife?

Midwives are medically trained professionals, whereas Doulas are not medically trained and do not perform any clinical tasks or give any medical advice. Your midwife is responsible for you and your baby’s care. Your Doula is 100% focused on you and your emotional and physical comfort needs. Your Doula does not replace your midwife but works alongside her as she completes clinical tasks and documentation. Your Doula fills that gap when your midwife is busy with other tasks, other patients, on her break or finishes her shift. A Doula is a consistent and familiar person who will remain with you throughout your labor and birth.

What Doula’s Do Not:

  • Perform clinical tasks, such as: blood pressure, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams and others.

  • Make decisions for you.

  • Speak to the staff on your behalf. 

Can a Doula help during Induction / Epidurals and Cesareans?

Absolutely! Often times inductions, epidurals and cesareans can come with their own challenges – ex. restricted movement along with additional stresses and worries. During these times Mom and/or partner might feel particularly vulnerable and could benefit from the extra support that a Doula can offer. A Doula can help you to prepare mentally for these procedures and provide helpful information throughout your pregnancy in addition to staying with you as your continuous support person on the day. 

A Doula has knowledge to help you stay comfortable even with an epidural or drip. If you’re having a cesarean birth, a doula can help you to keep you focused and calm and be that familiar support person and help you get settled afterwards. Each birth is different and  unpredictable. Regardless of the course your birthing day takes, a trained, continuous support person makes a huge difference in how you remember your big day. 

Will my hospital allow me to have a Doula? 

Doula’s are generally admitted to hospitals and are considered the #2 person that the Mom is allowed to bring with her to labor. The majority of hospitals allow two people to come with Mom, but you will need to confirm this with your hospital. It is also good to let your hospital know that you plan to have a Doula with you at your labor and birth. This is usually very straightforward and is simply noted in your file. The feedback from hospitals and midwives of DONA trained Doulas is very positive. 

Can I meet with you first before I decide?

Absolutely! It’s a good idea to have an initial meeting with at least two Doula’s so you can find someone who is a good fit for you. Chemistry is super important and its critical that you and your birth partner are comfortable with the Doula you choose. It is a very special and intimate time for you and you want to be sure that the person you choose to support you during labor is someone whom you find trustworthy and comforting, in whatever form that means for you.

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