If the term doula is new to you or you have heard it in passing, here are a few commonly asked questions along with resources for you to explore.
What is a Doula?
A doula is a birthing companion trained to provide continuous, one-on-one care and physical, emotional, and informational support to women and their partners throughout labor and childbirth.
Birth doulas provide care for a woman before and during labor. Birth doulas provide reassurance to mothers and partners as well as guidance and support as labor progress in the form of relaxation, massage, and positioning.
Postpartum Doulas provide care for a woman after birth. This care can include but not limited to caring for the mother and baby, housework, cooking nutritious meals and providing breastfeeding support
*Doulas are not medically trained. They should not be used as a substitute for medical advice. Doulas are there to provide education, guidance and support based on your needs.
Why are doulas needed?
Doulas are individuals who are places and values the emotional and affirming work of birthing. Doula can help make medicalized birth a more humanizing experience for women and their partners. They can be a voice and advocate for women who wish not wish to have "non-medically indicated interventions and routines" such as IVs, restrictions on movement, fasting, as well as continuous fetal monitoring. These medical routines can have an adverse effect on the quality and experience of labor and birth.
Having the benefit of a support person during labor and birth has mental and physical benefits. The percentages below comes from a report published in 2017 about the continuous support for women during childbirth. If you want read more about the finding, please click here for the full report or to read key takeaways click here.
less likely to have a cesarean birth
less likely to have a negative birth experience
more likely to have a spontaneous vaginal birth
ARe doulas affordable?
Yes! You can find doulas with various levels of experience based on the amount of births attended. More experienced doulas typically cost more due to the births attended. However, that should not discourage you because some doulas offer sliding scale options, meaning that their prices can be adjusted based on income level. Another option is looking for doulas in training, like myself. A doula in training is a person who is seeking certification and is required to attend a certain number of births in order to become certified. Doulas in training usually offer services for free or for a minimum cost. Lastly, there are volunteer doula services that are based on income but may offer a sliding scale option for families who exceed the income threshold.
This is an exciting yet overwhelming time in your life. Although this is just the starting place, it does not make it any less nerve-wracking. Here are few videos and websites that has a wealth of information for you to explore.
Childbirth Connection promotes safe, effective and satisfying evidence-based maternity care and is a voice for the needs and interests of childbearing families.
Evidence Based Birth® is an online childbirth resource that informs, empowers and inspires expecting parents and birth-care practitioners globally, to understand the latest, proven, evidence based care practices.
"Who delivered your baby?" is a question commonly asked of new parents and has implications for the emotional empowerment of women during childbirth. In this talk, Dr. Greenwald focuses on a behavioral approach to childbirth, juxtaposed with a medical one, and discusses the physical and emotional constraints associated with our current birth practices.