Regardless of your national origin, race, color, religion, ability, sex, familial status, and identity, I’m here to listen to you, to support your vision of pregnancy and parenthood, and help facilitate it into fruition. As a non-judgmental birth professional whose agenda is YOUR agenda, my mission is to ensure you feel the steady pulse of support, commiseration, and empowerment you deserve. Together we will find ways for your pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum to feel fulfilling, connected, and manageable.
Q. What is a doula?
A. Doula (pronounced doo-lah) is a Greek word meaning “women’s servant.”
A birth doula is a professional trained in childbirth who provides a range of support to a birthing person who is pregnant, birthing, and postpartum that focuses on them with continuous one-on-one attention. Birth/labor doulas can also be referred to as labor companions, labor support specialists, labor support professionals, birth assistants, birth coaches, or labor assistants. Doulas have been around in one form or another since the dawn of humankind.
A postpartum doula is a doula whose assistance extends to the post-labor time period. Postpartum doulas is someone who helps provide evidenced based information on things such as infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, parent–baby bonding, infant soothing, and basic newborn care. A postpartum doula is there to help a new family in those first days and weeks after bringing home a new baby.
Q. Why is a doula important?
A. A doula can be a vital asset to any birth.
“In a 2012 survey that took place in the U.S., 6% of birthing people said they used a doula during childbirth (Declerq et al., 2013), up from 3% in a 2006 national survey (Declerq et al., 2007). Of those people who did not have a doula but understood what they were, 27% would have liked to have a doula.” – Evidence Based Birth
Benefits of a doula attending birth:
39% decrease in risk of Cesarean
15% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
10% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
Shorter labors by 41 minutes on average
38% decrease in the baby’s risk of a low five minute Apgar score
31% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience
Q. What does a Doula do & Not Do?
A. As a doula, I provide informational support, emotional support, physical support, partner support, and amplify your voice so that you can own your birth.
As a doula, I do not provide medical care and cannot take the place of a midwife or obstetrician at a birth. However, I’m trained in an expansive knowledge of the medical aspects that may arise in childbirth.
Q. What is your training & Experience?
A. - I am currently trained as a Birth Doula, VBAC Doula, Postpartum Doula. Feel free to contact me for details about my experience as the answer continues to evolve with time. To learn more about me, click here!
Q. What birth settings do you attend?
A. I attend hospital, birth center, and midwife-attended home births. Though I fully support a parent’s right to birth at home unassisted (planned free-birth) and trust the intuition in doing so, I do not attend these births at this time.
Q. DO YOU ONLY ATTEND UNMEDICATED/NATURAL LABORS?
A. I support a birthing parent’s decisions about medication in any setting. Opting for medication pain relief or labor augmentation is a very personal choice, and I am here to help regardless what that choice may be.
At a labor involving an epidural, I can help position you so the drug distributes more evenly and dilation isn’t impeded. This includes periodically turning you and showing you how to support hips and natural lumbar curve with pillows to avoid back pain after anesthesia wears off. I can also help you determine the ideal timing for receiving the epidural. I can be a great emotional ally because although an epidural quiets your physical sensations, it will not necessarily provide calm for your mental state.
Of course, sometimes epidurals don’t work and labor sensations are still felt, or labor progresses too quickly to be eligible for a planned epidural; I can offer comfort measures in case of a surprise.
Whether a labor is induced or not, there are practical things to take care of while you labor. When I assist with these things, your partner can focus on being wholly present for you.
Q. DO YOU ATTEND CESAREAN BIRTHS?
A. Yes! Here are a few of the ways I can serve at a planned/unplanned cesarean:
I share information about family-centered cesarean birth options.
I prepare you for what to expect from an emotional and physical standpoint, with insights that may go unmentioned by medical attendants.
I will either stay in the operating room with you or wait for you to finish surgery, per your wishes and hospital policy.
I will help facilitate a smooth transition in reconnecting you with your baby as soon as possible.
I will help you develop a realistic and heartening recovery plan.
Q. DOES A DOULA REPLACE THE ROLE OF MY PARTNER?
A. A good doula helps a partner feel more involved in the birth process, not pushed away from it. A doula’s role revolves around the birthing parent’s specific wants and needs. Whatever you envision for your partner’s involvement, a doula can help make it a reality. Birth team members can generally only handle one task at a time, and this is where a doula comes in handy!
At any birth, a partner will need:
Breaks to take care of personal needs & avoid exhaustion.
Time & space to be able to enjoy this day, which is a special milestone for them too!
Affirmation that they are doing a great job.
A solid understanding of how birth works, what to expect, how to actively help.
A sense of self-esteem in knowing they are a vital, acknowledged member of the birth team.
As your doula, I can:
Take over active support so your partner can have a break.
Handle mundane or practical tasks so your partner can be close to you during special moments.
Assure your partner that they have a unique role in the birth process & is capable of wonderfully supporting you/baby.
Give your partner guidance on the birth process & reminders of your options.
Q. DON’T NURSES, OB/GYNS OR MIDWIVES BASICALLY DO WHAT A DOULA DOES?
A. Nurses spend a great deal of time reviewing monitors, charting, and splitting their time between multiple patients each shift. A doula spends her entire “shift” near the birthing parent, and devotes herself to one client at a time.
At a hospital birth, an OB/GYN is usually seldom seen (if at all) until it is time to deliver and leaves shortly thereafter. A doula stays with you from active labor until everyone is settled in postpartum.
Midwives and their birth assistants have various responsibilities at a birth unrelated to comfort care, such as charting, setting supplies, taking heart tones and other health assessments, and keeping a watchful eye on the baby’s response to labor. A doula keeps her eye on the mother so she is never without support when attention is otherwise divided.
Often, we find instances of “all hands on deck” at birth and this is when a doula can be an irreplaceable asset. Also keep in mind: as a doula I don’t perform medical tasks, I don’t catch babies, and I don’t make health diagnoses. These are the responsibilities of your OB/GYN or midwife.
Q. DOESN’T A RELATIVE OR CLOSE FRIEND BASICALLY DO WHAT A DOULA DOES?
A. As a doula, my position is different from that of a family member or close friend. I support you without personal bias or unrelated history brought into the birthing day. Though a friend or relative is likely to worry as they watch you in distress or what they perceive as suffering, I remain calm, collected, and focused on you. When a friend or relative may feel led to blurt out excited notes of advice or observation, a doula is mindful of the sanctity of the space and the emotional susceptibility of the event. There are many benefits in including a helper who isn’t bogged down by protocols (nurses and medical providers) or personal concerns (relatives, friends).
Q. AT WHAT POINT IN PREGNANCY SHOULD I HIRE A DOULA?
A. This is entirely up to you. Keep in mind though, the earlier you book your doula, the more use you’ll get out of them! The cost of doula support is the same whether you hire them right after your pregnancy test turns positive or right as your first labor contraction begins.
Q. HOW CAN I AFFORD A DOULA?
A. Here are some ways to afford a doula:
Add services to your baby registry
Ask about my payment plans
Ask family/friends to donate funds
Use a flex savings or health savings account
Ask me about bartering goods/services for part of the cost
Ask for a customized package
Use your tax refund
Minimize unnecessary spending for a couple of months to save
Q. WHAT IS THE COST BREAKDOWN INVOLVED IN A DOULA INVESTMENT?
A. The amount invested in doula services goes toward more than just what your doula takes home. She is being compensated for:
doula training & certification costs
continuing education costs
time spent with: consults & meetings…
…research & paperwork
…birth plan writing
being on-call 24/7 from 37 weeks onward
continuous labor support (average length of birth is 13 hours)
several hours’ worth of postpartum support
supplies cost (labor tools, books, printing, etc)
childcare costs during meetings & birth
personal costs during birth (food & drink)
hospital parking fees
invoicing fees, if applicable
Q. WHAT IF IT SEEMS LIKE OUR PERSONALITIES JUST DON’T CLICK?
A. We will get to know each other a bit at your first consultation, which is always free with no commitment. If it feels like we don’t exactly vibe in the way you envision for your pregnancy and birth journey, that’s totally okay. No hard feelings! I want you to have the experience that’s right for YOU.
View my Doula Packages HERE!