Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need a doula?
You don’t know what you don’t know. Before birth, a doula can help answer questions, guide you to articles and other resources catered to your personality and desires for your birth experience. During labor, a doula clarifies the labor stages and guides you in communication with your medical team of doctors, nurses, or midwives. She fosters tranquility and is trained to support you during labor with soothing techniques to ease discomfort and promote safe progress. As labor draws near, a doula coaches expectant birthing families on comfort and relaxation techniques, offers nurturing emotional support, provides information on labor and the birth, and offers information about options and medical procedures available during labor. While other staff on your medical team will need to tend to other patients, a doula never leaves your side. Postpartum, a doula is still there to answer questions and be a support.
What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?
Great question! In short, a midwife is somebody you would choose instead of a doctor to handle delivering your baby and attending to other medical needs. A doula is who you would hire to handle the other elements of your birth experience. Doulas can help advocate for you, educate you and your spouse during the prenatal, labor, birthing and post partum stages. They can apply counter pressure and help you and your partner with different positions in labor, they can fan you, give relief to your partner when he needs a break, take your photos and everything in between!
How do I choose the doula that is best for me?
How early should I hire a doula?
It is never too early to hire a doula, and the ideal time to hire one is 5-6 months before your estimated due date. Experienced doulas book early and quickly; repeat birthing families often book their doula on the day their pregnancy is confirmed!
Will a doula meet me at home or at the hospital?
Your doula will communicate with you by telephone during early labor until she joins you in your home or at the hospital. It is your preference whether she joins you at home or the hospital once labor is established. For scheduled hospital procedures, like an induction or a scheduled C-section, your doula will meet you at the hospital by the agreed upon time whether night or day.
Can I benefit from a doula if I am considering a pain medication?
Absolutely. A doula is beneficial assisting with planned medicated or unmedicated births. Some expectant mothers prefer no pain medications, others want to begin with no medications, but reserve the right to change that decision. Others choose a planned medicated birth--in which case, a doula is extremely beneficial in not only explaining things along the way but especially for helping you progress during labor when you can’t feel all parts of your body. A doula offers information on all procedures, including pain medications and potential side effects, and interventions. She will discuss options with you and your partner and facilitate a dialogue between you, your partner, and hospital staff. She will translate medical terms and proposed procedures. Your doula’s goal is to advise, support, and champion your decisions. She appreciates that birth preferences may change. The choice to use pain medication or not is up to you.
If I have a C-section, can I still benefit from having a doula?
Yes! Even if it’s a planned C-section, a doula can be a valuable tool during pregnancy in helping to process your feelings on your upcoming pregnancy and inform you of the options you still have--even in a surgical setting. A doula is there to explain what is happening and guide you through the procedure. She is also there during recovery to help with the first breastfeeding and bonding. With the permission of your doctor and anesthesiologist, your doula may accompany you into the operating room, unless it is an extreme emergency requiring general anesthesia.
Does a doula replace my partner or other family or friends I want at my birth?
Absolutely not. The presence of a doula at your birth complements and strengthens a partner's role. During prenatal visits, your doula discusses your partner’s comfort level with participation during labor and collaborates with your partner to best support you. Studies show that partners participate more actively during labor when a doula is present. Your partner and your family bring a loving emotional connection and an intimate knowledge of you that your doula does not have. In combination with your doula's professional expertise, the team creates the very best support system.
Are doulas welcome in hospitals and medical settings?
Yes. It is the doula’s goal to establish good working relationships with the doctors, midwives, and medical staff of her expectant families. Communication, respect, professionalism, and trust create a supportive birthing team.