Just What is a Doula & What Does a Birth Doula do?
A doula is someone who stands beside the mother unconditionally. During the pregnancy, she will offer education and assistance in preparing the mom's birth plan as well as 24/7 phone support. During labor, the doula's role is supplementary to the mother's partner--we are not here to displace the partner, but to cater to both the needs of the mother and her partner. The doula will enable the mom's partner to be fully focused on her at this time; doulas will support the mother's partner so that he may participate at his own comfort level. (Special consideration is given to single moms or those whose partners cannot be present at the birth.)
Support in labor and birth will be given according to the mom's needs and wishes, though usually it will consist of helpful comfort and relaxation measures for the mom (such as massage/aromatherapy/counter-pressure), emotional encouragement, education (explanations of labor/delivery procedures that providers suggest), and practical helps (such as fetching ice chips/juice to keep the partner from having to leave the room, taking pictures at the labor/birth, etc.); we will also be an advocate for the mother's wishes and desires for her birth, when needed. Doulas are also trained in mother's labor and delivery positions and the benefits associated with the different variations. A doula will suggest certain positions for the mom during the labor to encourage baby to move into optimal positions for delivery--ie. the posterior or breech baby--thus minimizing the discomfort/pain for the mom and decreasing her chances of later needing a cesarean section.
For hospital delivering clients, labor support may begin in the mother's home or in the hospital, wherever she prefers. Once the baby is born, we help the mother with her first breastfeeding sessions of her new baby and ensure that mom and baby get off to the right start. Postpartum support and information, particularly with breastfeeding, is also given, if needed, at the postpartum visit in the mother's home.
Included in my doula servicing fee is:
- Four (4) prenatal visits
- The 4th visit should occur after 38 weeks and will include "A Midwife's Touch" assessment of baby's position as well as brief breastfeeding consultation.
- Assistance in preparing your birth plan and explanations of your options in labor/birth
- Informed Parents group childbirth class series
- Continual labor and birth support (beginning at home or hospital)
- Monitrice services for hospital delivering mothers wishing to labor at home for extended periods of time
- Amateur photography of birth
- One postpartum visit in your home
- These visits will include a baby weight check and breastfeeding assistance
- For extended area clients, the postpartum follow-up will be a phone consult
In addition, all doula clients have access to the following:
- Birth ball available for in-home use during labor (upon request)
- Use of my lending library (books and videos)
- 24/7 phone support during pregnancy and postpartum
- Breastfeeding support
- Monthly Mom's Night Out Available
- One-on-one education about Babywearing and Cloth Diapering is available (upon request)