What is a doula?
A doula is an additional layer of support for the birthing person. In dry terms, a doula is there to provide informational, emotional, and physical support to the birthing person before, during, and immediately after labor. I prefer to think of myself as your temporary "best friend" - someone whom you can ask and tell anything while you are going through pregnancy and childbirth. A doula is not a medical professional, and no one "needs" a doula - but the benefits of having one are becoming more and more clear: Having a Doula: Is a Doula for Me?
Isn't a doula the same as a midwife?
NO. A midwife is a medical professional specially trained to treat you and your baby during pregnancy and childbirth. A midwife is typically seen in lieu of a tranditional OB/GYN. A doula is a non-medical support person who has often undergone special training and attended classes to learn how best to support individuals during their pregnancy journey.
I am giving birth in a hospital. Should I have a doula?
Obviously, that is ultimately up to you! As a doula myself, and as a woman who had one unplanned hospital birth and one scheduled C-section - with the same doula at both - I can say I do recommend it. Having a person who is dedicated exclusively to you, your needs, and your comfort, regardless of the kind of birth you are planning, can be invaluable. A doula can also be helpful in the hours following the birth, aiding in breastfeeding and ensuring everyone in the family has what they need.
I am planning on having an epidural/a C-section. Aren't doulas for "natural" births?
It is my belief that every birth, no matter how it occurs, is natural. My goal is therefore to support every birthing person on their journey to delivering their baby. You are the only one equipped to decide what birth is the right birth for you. My hope is that I am able to make you feel empowered, secure, and ultimately happy with the choices you make.
Can my partner still be in the room if I have a doula?
Absolutely! Most hospitals (and of course birth centers) allow a "reasonable number" of support people in the room with you when you deliver. That is to say, they obviously don't want so many people in there that they can't move freely to assist you and the baby. But many women labor with a significant other, family member, and even sometimes a friend all present - as well as a doula. The difference between your family and your doula is that your doula's only focus is on you and what will make you happy and comfortable. In this question, however, we're talking about a vaginal birth. Which brings us to...
What if I have to get a C-section?
Some women plan C-sections, and some women have C-sections thrust upon them - I was one of the latter. However your C-section happens, it definitely looks different than a vaginal birth. That said, many hospitals now allow a significant other as well as an additional support person in the OR with you - which means you could choose to have your doula accompany you into surgery. Should you have an unplanned C-section and prefer not to have me go with you, I will wait for you in recovery and perform the exact same after care I would have had you birthed vaginally.
How many times will I see my doula, and how long will she stay?
I will meet with you three times prior to your birth - first for an introductory interview, wherein we'll chat and see if we're a good fit, and then for two followup visits. The rest of the time, I will be available to you via phone, text, and email to answer your questions, provide referrals when applicable, and give you any guidance you might need. When your labor begins, we'll be in close touch until you enter active labor. At that time, I am at your service until after you deliver your baby. Two hours of labor? Lucky you - I'm there. Twenty hours of labor? You can do it - I'm there. Forty hours of labor? Let's hope not! - but I'm there. When you hire me, I am your doula until that baby is out and you are both settled and ready to begin your life together.
But I'm NOT ready! Can you help?
I can! First, as your birth doula, I will meet with you once after birth for a postpartum visit. This will be a check-in visit, making sure you are adjusting and offering referrals to any resources you might need. If you need more assistance, I provide postpartum as well as birth doula services - meaning that even if I am not at your birth, I am available in the days that follow to assist with household duties, coordinating visitors, grocery shopping, and even overnights so that you can get some much-needed rest.