What is a doula, and why should I have one?

A birth doula is a person who provides emotional support, physical comfort, and an objective viewpoint to parents before and during labor and birth. Birth doulas also help parents get the information they need to make informed decisions. As your doula, I'm hired by YOU - not your hospital or birth center - so my whole purpose is to serve you and your baby. 

Studies show that when continuous labor support was provided by a doula, women experienced a:

  • 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin
  • 28% decrease in the risk of Cesarean
  • 12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
  • 9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
  • 14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
  • 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience

 

What does a doula actually do?

Physical support

  • I can help you find positions that feel good and help your labor to progress
  • I can provide soothing touch through massage, counter or a rebozo (a woven fabric that is used to support your belly or move the baby into an optimal position)
  • I can help to create a calm environment by dimming the lights, playing your preferred music, or arranging the room in a way that feels most comfortable for you
  • I can assist with hydrotherapy (using the shower or tub)
  • I can apply warm or cold compresses
  • I can hunt down snacks, drinks, ice chips, and bendy straws for you and your partner

Emotional support

  • I help you to feel cared for, confident, and heard
  • I give your partner suggestions of how to best support you
  • I provide continuous presence throughout your entire labor and birth
  • I help you and your partner work through fears about birth
  • I help you to make sure your voice is heard during labor
  • I debrief with you after the birth, listen to your story, and hold space for your experience 

informational support

  • I keep you and your partner informed about what's going on during labor
  • I suggest techniques that you can use during labor like breathing, movement, relaxation techniques, and position changes (which can be really useful with or without an epidural)
  • I help you find evidence-based information about different options in pregnancy and childbirth
  • I can explain medical procedures before they happen
  • I help your partner understand what you're going through and what is happening with your labor (like reassuring them that the sounds you're making are totally normal)

 

what is not included in doula support?

As your doula, I am not a medical professional. These are things that I do NOT do:

  • I do not perform clinical tasks like vaginal exams or fetal heart checks
  • I do not give medical advice or diagnose conditions
  • I do not make decisions for you (medical or otherwise)
  • I do not pressure you into certain choices for your labor or birth
  • I do not take over the role of your partner
  • I do not catch the baby
  • I do not change shifts (though I may call in my backup doula after 12-24 hours)

 

what is a postpartum doula?

Many parents spend countless hours preparing for the birth of their baby, reading books, taking classes, and imagining their optimal birth.  However, lots of parents find that they don't feel as prepared once the baby has arrived and throughout the "fourth trimester" (the first 3 months of baby's life).  They may have questions, need help around the house, need referrals to specialists, or just need emotional support and someone to listen and tell them that they are doing awesome!  This is where a postpartum doula can be invaluable.

as your postpartum Doula:

  • I provide education, companionship and nonjudgmental support during the postpartum period
  • I help with newborn care, family adjustment, meal preparation and light household tidying
  • I offer evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, and infant soothing and coping skills
  • I can refer you to other specialists when needed