Let us help make hiring a doula an easy process for you. We know that you may have multiple questions and concerns. Please read through the FAQs but feel free to contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org for any additional information.
WHAT IS A DOULA?
A doula is a Greek word for a woman that serves. It has been adapted to mean a woman who gives emotional, physical, and informational support to a birthing person and her partner/family before, during, and after labor.
We will draw on our professional training and experience to provide you with such support, and as needed, help communicate with the hospital/birthing staff to make sure you have the information you require to make informed decisions as they arise in labor. We can provide reassurance and perspective in labor for you and your partner, make suggestions for labor progress, and help with relaxation, soothing touch/massage, positioning, and other techniques for comfort.
We are independent and self-employed. As your doulas, we work for you and not your caregiver or hospital.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND DISADVANTAGES?
Numerous studies have documented the benefits of having a doula present during labor. Many recent reports show a very high number of positive birth outcomes when a doula is present. With the support of a doula, women are less likely to have pain medication administered and less likely to have a cesarean birth. Women also reported having a more positive childbirth experience.
WHAT IS THE EFFECT DOULAS HAVE ON BIRTH OUTCOMES?
- 50% reduction in the cesarean rate 25% shorter labor
- 60% reduction in epidural requests 40% reduction in pitocin use
- 30% reduction in analgesia use 40% reduction in forceps delivery
- Improved chest/breastfeeding
- Reported satisfaction with birth experience
- Decreased postpartum depression
There are no disadvantages to having women supporting other women during birth.
HOW IS A DOULA DIFFERENT FROM A LABOR AND DELIVERY NURSE OR PARTNER/SPOUSE?
They differ in the ability to provide continuous, uninterrupted support. A doula rarely leaves the laboring person's side. Nurses have many other patients and simultaneous responsibilities. A nurse’s support ends when her shift does. The doula has one obligation during your pregnancy and labor—and that is that you're comfortable and your needs are met. Families and doulas will work together to make a support team for the mother. Partners are an essential support person for the laboring person to have by their side. However, the partner will have their own needs - food, sleep, and mental breaks during long labors. The doula has expert knowledge about birth, medical procedures, or what goes on in labor. Doulas and partners will work together to make up a labor support team.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BIRTH DOULA AND MIDWIFE?
A midwife and doula have distinctly separate roles in their support of your birth.
Midwives are able to deliver babies at home births, birthing center births, and hospital births, and are responsible for the health of you and your child prenatally and during childbirth.
Your Midwife will:
- Run prenatal tests
- Advise you on health during pregnancy, birth and postpartum
- Prescribe maternal health related supplements or medications
- Monitor you and baby during labor, birth, and postpartum
- Perform physical examinations prenatally, during labor and postpartum
- Consult with an obstetrician if a medical complication arises which is out of the midwifery scope of practice
- Do their best to help you have a comfortable birth, but their primary responsibility will be their clinical responsibilities
Doulas, on the other hand, are not medical professionals. Doulas provide emotional, informational, and physical support during pregnancy and birth.
Your Doula will:
- Establish a prenatal relationship with you
- Help you articulate your vision for your birth
- Give you evidence based information so that you can give informed consent to things happening to your body and baby
- Direct you to resources in the community for pregnant women and families
- Help keep you and your partner calm and supported during labor
- Use tools and techniques to help you manage the intense physical sensations of labor and birth
- Make suggestions regarding laboring and birthing positions depending on how your labor is progressing
- Ensure you feel confident communicating your needs to your health care provider
- Provide postpartum emotional support and help with breastfeeding initiation
- Direct you to your doctor or midwife for any medical questions
Although doulas do not provide medical care, research shows they do increase your likelihood of avoiding unnecessary medical interventions such as instrumental delivery and cesarean birth.
WHAT IF I PLAN ON RECEIVING AN EPIDURAL OR HAVE A SCHEDULED C-SECTION?
Planning on an epidural?
Plenty of women receive epidurals for pain, some planned and some unplanned. A doula is able to support a laboring mom planning on receiving an epidural the same as one who is not. Many hospitals will only begin to administer anesthesia when a laboring woman is at least 4-5cm dilated. A doula supports a mom before, during, and after it is administered. Often times, women are able to labor a longer amount of time with a doula, lessening the chances of a needed c-section, or interventions such as forceps/vacuum. If the laboring person receives an epidural, a doula can help keep laboring person and partner make informed decisions and help laboring person with comfort measures and optimal positioning for labor. Epidural or not, a doula saves as emotional and mental support
Scheduled a c-section?
If laboring person has a scheduled c-section, a doula is able to accompany the laboring person, calming them and their partner before the surgery, which often brings about all kinds of emotions. After the c-section, when the partner will need to stay with the baby, a doula is able to stay with the laboring person so they are not alone, keeping them updated on the process as well as providing mental and emotional support. A doula is also able to document the birth, write a birth story, take photos, and help with chest/breastfeeding.
WHAT IF THE DOULA IS UNABLE TO ATTEND MY BIRTH AT THE LAST MINUTE?
In the event of an emergency, which coincides with the day a person goes into labor The Mothership will always have one to two back up doulas on call. The Mothership has a thorough list of wonderful doulas who we know personally and would trust at our own birth. THIS IS A RARE OCCURRENCE AND NOT ONE TO WORRY ABOUT.