Frequently Asked Questions
I was considering having my mom/sister/sister-in-law attend my labor….can’t they fill the doula role for me?
Although having family members present during such a memorable occasion can be a tremendous blessing and addition to the birth process, we recommend having a professional fill the role of a birth doula. A birth doula has specialized training that equips her in the areas of comfort measures, relaxation techniques, massage, pain management, positioning, and more, which sets her apart from the support offered by a family member. Furthermore, although highly invested in your labor and birth, a professional birth doula doesn’t have the emotional connection to you that a family member does, thus making her the ideal support person able to assist you throughout the entire undertaking.
What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?
A doula is a non-medical support person who focuses on caring for you emotionally and physically while keeping you informed and empowered. While they often have similar approaches, a midwife differs from a doula substantially. A midwife is a *medical* professional, meaning that the primary focus of their care is on the health and safety of you and your baby. Both doulas and midwives work with you prenatally, support you throughout the birth and follow up with you postpartum. Specifically, at a birth, doulas are often found doing hip squeezes, refilling your water bottle, providing guidance and reassurance (to you and your partner), and repeating affirmations that empower you. At a birth, midwives may be found doing similar things to a doula, but their top priorities include: ensuring that you and your baby's vital signs are stable, assessing you and your baby, completing cervical exams when needed, administering medication if necessary, and catching the baby you are birthing.
When should I hire a birth doula?
The earlier, the better. Typically, the beginning of your third trimester is a good time to have your doula secured. It is recommended that you start your search in your second trimester, talk to and interview a couple of doulas, and determine who is the best fit for you. You deserve someone you feel an easy connection with and someone you think fits your personality and needs.
What does a doula really do and why do I need one?
A birth doula is integral to the prenatal, birth, and postpartum season. Consider your doula as your family’s go-to person for information, resources, advice, and practical, physical, and emotional support person from the beginning of your pregnancy to your postpartum closing visit. She is your personal advisor for those never-ending questions and decisions you encounter throughout your pregnancy, labor, and postpartum stages. She is committed to providing you with excellent care, so you feel pampered, supported, and nurtured as you prepare to nurture your little one.
As an added benefit, your primary support person can rest assured should they need a break from the labor room knowing that mom is being well provided for by your doula. Furthermore, studies overwhelmingly prove the valuable asset a doula can be to the expectant family. Doula attended births are commonly associated with a more satisfying birth experience, less need for interventions, decreased requests for pain relief, reduced number of C-sections, decreased length of labor, and a positive breastfeeding experience.