If you are here, you have either heard of a doula, someone has recommended you hiring a doula, you know what a doula is and are seeking more information, or you just happened to stumble across my site. Well let me tell you all about what a doula is and the amazing work we do!!
Doula? The word ‘doula’ derives from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and today it refers to a woman (or a man, there are some!!) who aid a woman in pregnancy, birth, and post birth with continuous presence, emotional care, comfort measures and an understanding of the laboring woman’s desires for her birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
So you’re like a midwife?
A doula, unlike a doctor, a nurse, or a midwife, has no other obligation during labor other than the woman in labor, supporting a women and their physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. As a doula, I do not:
Perform clinical tasks, such as: blood pressure, fetal heart tones, vaginal exams, etc. I am there to only provide physical comfort, emotional, and informational support.
Make decisions for you. I will help you get the information necessary to make an informed decision. I will also remind you if there is a departure from your birth plan.
Speak to the staff on your behalf. I will discuss your concerns with you and suggest options, but you or your partner will speak directly to the clinical staff.
Do you travel?
I do! I’ve had several clients that live well outside the East Baton Rouge Parish limits that deliver at our local hospitals. Unfortunately, I cannot travel outside of EBR for birth as there is too much of a risk of me not arriving in time.
How many prenatal visits do you provide?
I provide 3 visits in your home, covering birth plan options, basic childbirth education, and comfort measures.
But I’m taking a childbirth class, do we still need 3 visits?
That is entirely up to you. Sometimes childbirth classes don’t allow time to answer in depth questions or you may not feel comfortable doing so in front of a large class. We can have a whole prenatal dedicated to childbirth education or just have a quick review at your comfort measures visit. Provide confirmation of attendance to a childbirth education class, and receive a $100 discount on birth doula services.
I’m also taking a comfort measures class, do I still need your comfort measures visit?
Yes. We cover different techniques with and without a rebozo from relaxation to hands-on massage and support. This also helps me as your doula to know what you may or may not like in labor.
What is a rebozo?
I’m so glad you asked! “A rebozo (riˈbōzō) is a traditional Mexican shawl or scarf. For centuries Parteras (midwives) have used the rebozo to help women in labor. The rebozo offers support, pain relief and helps to make the laboring woman feel powerful, and helps the partner by helping him/her support the laboring woman. The Rebozo is limitless and can perform many different roles in the lives of women in Mexico, Central and South America. The rebozo can be an aid in labor, a baby carrier, a knapsack, a cool-weather wrap (or hospital blanket) or elegant shawl.” (genakirby.com)
I’m having a c-section, do I still need a doula?
Absolutely! A doula can still be there to help calm your nerves prior to surgery, take more time then a doctor or nurse would to explain procedures, sit with your partner while we wait to to go into the OR, update family members at your request, stay with you while baby and dad head into the nursery, help with initial breastfeeding, and so much more!
My friend/family offered to act as my doula and support, do I still need a trained doula?
The most important part of your birth experience is your comfort. While friends and family can be wonderful with emotional and physical support, it they are typically not trained in current evidence based information and difficult situations that may arise in labor and delivery. As a trained doula, I am continuously attending workshops, seminars, and webinars to keep my information current and am trained to react calmly and professionally to various situations. I encourage clients to have whomever they wish attend their birth and I work with them to provide the best experience possible.
A Birth Doula
- Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will always remember
- Understand the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
- Assists the woman to prepare for and carry out her plans for birth
- Stays with the woman throughout the labor
- Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decisions
- Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her care providers.
- Encourages the woman’s partner to participate at their comfort level.
- 28% less likely to have a cesarean section
- 31% less likely to use synthetic oxytocin to speed up labor
- 9% less likely to use any pain medication
- 34% less like to rate their childbirth experience negatively
A Postpartum Doula
- Offers education, companionship and nonjudgmental support during the postpartum fourth trimester
- Assists with newborn care, family adjustment, meal preparation and light household chores
- Offers evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, infant soothing and coping skills for new parents, making appropriate referrals when necessary