Birth Doula

Considering the support of a doula in your upcoming birth and not sure where to start? You’ve come to the right place, mama! We’ve got all the details on birth doulas, from what doula services entail to whether a doula is right for you.

The word doula originates from Greek and means “woman’s servant.” Her role is to act as a labor companion, providing emotional, physical, and educational support to the mother, both before, during, and after labor. Doulas are non-clinical practitioners, meaning they don’t provide medical advice. Rather, they listen to you and your partner’s needs and advocate for you during labor. While there are different types of doulas, including antepartum and postpartum doulas, we’re going to focus on the most popular type: birth doulas.

Birth Doula

Types of Support

Physical support

  • Create a calm birthing environment that includes everything from aromatherapy to a curated playlist to lighting candles.
  • Provide breathing techniques, relaxation techniques, 
  • Give massage, healing touch, and counter pressure throughout the labor. 
  • Provide warm and cold therapy. 
  • Assist you in moving in and out of the shower or tub.
  • Ensure you’re well-hydrated throughout the labor.

Emotional support

  • Encourage you through emotional blockages or stalls during the labor.
  • Remind you that you’re strong and able and help you to remember your desires for this birth. 
  • Praise you throughout the labor.
  • Talk you through your fears, concerns, and doubts throughout the labor.
  • Maintain a warm, caring attitude.

Informational & Advocacy support

  • Suggest different positions to help ease the pain and progress the labor. 
  • Support you and your partner if decisions need to be made, keeping in mind the values and wishes you shared during your pregnancy
  • Listen to your desires and help communicate them to the medical professionals.

During pregnancy

In the months prior to your due date, you’ll begin to develop a relationship with your doula. You’ll talk about your fears and concerns and create a birth plan together. She’ll educate you on the labor process and equip you with different pain management techniques to use during birth. 

During labor

Call your doula when you’re in the beginning stages of labor. She’ll often come over to your house and help you decide when to go to the hospital. If your labor moves quickly, she’ll meet you at the hospital. During labor, your doula will provide physical support, emotional support, and informational support and advocacy.

Birth Doula FAQsYou’ve got questions? We’ve got answers.

Are all doulas certified? Is it important?

Because there is no licensing agency for doulas, you do not need to be trained to call yourself a doula. We highly recommend seeking a doula that has been certified by an organization that oversees training such as DONA International, Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA), or The International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA)

How far into labor does your doula come to support?

It varies person to person, but oftentimes, you’ll contact your doula when you begin to labor and she’ll have you time your contractions. Once your labor has progressed, she’ll come over and help you labor at home until it’s time to leave for the hospital or birth center (if that’s where you plan to give birth).

Is there scientific evidence that having a birth doula is beneficial?

Yes! In 2017, a study was published that found that mothers who received the continuous support of a doula were:

  • More likely to have a vaginal birth
  • Less likely to have pain medication or epidurals
  • Less likely to have negative feelings after childbirth
  • Less likely to have a birth that utilized a vacuum or forceps
  • Less likely to have a Cesarean 
  • More likely to have a shorter labor (an estimated 40 minutes less)
  • More likely for the baby to have a high Apgar score

In fact, there were no negative findings of having a doula present at labor.

What questions should I ask a doula?

We’ve got it all below!

 

Doula Interview Questions

  • What training have you had?
  • Are you certified? If so, who was it through?
  • What is your philosophy on birth?
  • What are your fees? What happens if I have the baby before you arrive or have an emergency C-section?
  • How do you work with the partner?
  • What are your tactics for dealing with pain?
  • Why did you become a doula?
  • Tell me about your doula style.
  • How many births have you attended?
  • Do you provide any postpartum after-care?
  • Do you have any births scheduled near my date?
  • What happens if you’re not available when I go into labor?
  • Do you have a back-up doula? If so, how often have you had to use her?
  • Do you have any references that I may contact?

When should I book my doula?

Once you’ve selected a doula, book her as soon as possible to ensure your due date is reserved. This will also give you additional time to get to know one another and for you to share your hopes for your labor and delivery. It’s important that you feel your personalities mesh (some like quiet, reserved doulas; others prefer those with a bubbly, sparkly personality), so we recommend interviewing 2-3 doulas if you can!

How much does a doula cost?

The cost of hiring a doula varies greatly by region and experience, but usually costs between $800-$2500. This often includes a prenatal visit, labor and delivery, and postpartum follow-up. Some doulas offer scholarships and sliding scales and if you have a training program near you, doula students may be available for free to gain more experience. Adding doula services to your baby registry is also a great way to lower the cost and have friends and family participate in your little one’s arrival.

Have more questions about Birth Doulas?

Reach out to us at hello@mynestwell.com — we’d love to chat and support you in this journey

Find Your Birth Doula Now

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