Q: What is a doula?
A: A doula is an ancient Greek word meaning "woman servant" and was selected as the word to describe a specially trained individual who offers support and information before, during, and after labor and delivery.
Q: What does a doula do?
A: Doulas provide a very wide range of services, but among the most popular are: childbirth education, birth plan preparation, in-home visits where your concerns are heard and addressed, self-advocacy facilitation (meaning they help you speak up for yourself), non-medical comfort measures (of which there are many) during labor and delivery, constant companionship and support during labor and delivery, an extensive knowledge and network available for all of your childbirth needs, postpartum in-home visits, breastfeeding support, postpartum mood disorder support, and newborn support, to name a few.
Q: What is the advantage of hiring a doula?
A: There are many, many benefits to having a doula attend your birth. For an easy-to-read statistical breakdown, try clicking here.
Q: Why should I hire a doula if I have a partner who will go through labor with me?
A: This is a great question that we love to answer. Simply put, a doula is there for both you and your partner. It is key to have someone there for you who is not personally related that has experience in many different birthing scenarios. Under duress, that same person will have an easier time helping you stay calm and keep a clear vision of your options. A very close loved one is certainly an asset in birth, but having a trained professional there to reassure, inform and support both of you fills in the gap left by having only a healthcare provider and a loved one present.
Q: What if I have a doctor?
A: Then you should definitely consider having a doula! Doctors are wonderful, highly trained professionals that are usually very good at what they do. We love doctors. We do not replace them. We do not interfere with their advice. But we do fill the gap. Doctors will check on you from time to time to make sure you are healthy. A doula will see to all the rest of your needs. Their job is to stay with you constantly to offer what a doctor doesn't. Emotional support. Physical support. Even spiritual support. Touch. Massage. Conversation. Clarity. Options. Reminders of what you wanted when you were in the comfort of your own home.
Q: Do I need a doula if I have a midwife?
A: Midwives love doulas. Most of them have been doulas at some point. A midwife can do all of the things a doula can, but is obligated to see first and foremost to your medical needs. A doula is with you all the time as your very own, constant, personalized care.
Q: Will a doula advocate for me?
A: Yes and no. A doula is trained not to get between you and anyone else. However, a doula meets with you to learn your wishes. When the time comes that one of those wishes is threatened, a doula will help you to make the best possible choice by: helping you understand what is happening and why, helping you have a clear vision of all of your options, reminding you of what you had hoped for and why, and empowering you in the moment to make the best decision for yourself.
Q: What if I'm having a planned c-section? What if I have an emergency c-section?
A: If it's a birth, we can be there for you. Though c-sections can be a somewhat less "athletic" event, in terms of delivery, a doula can still offer all the same support. Doulas will stay right by you to help you to connect with the birth process, keep you comfortable, answer questions, take pictures, and support your partner. Immediately post birth, your doula can facilitate skin-to-skin bonding time and breastfeeding. Postpartum doulas are especially nice to have when recovering from a c-section.