All The Answers
WHAT IS A DOULA?
A Doula is a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the birthing person and their family before, during and shortly after childbirth to help them achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.
Having a baby, whether it be your first, or fourth, is a new life-changing experience each time. Childbirth being the exact expression of this moment of change. Your care during this time will impact postpartum, and the memory of the birth far into your future. My role as a doula is to ensure that you are fully prepared to embrace the moment with all the information and support you deserve.
Find more information about Doulas on the DONA International page.
DOES A DOULA ONLY ATTEND UNMEDICATED PHYSIOLOGICAL BIRTHS?
No. A doula is a support person for whatever regardless of your choices in birth. I will be there to talk with you about your options, help you reflect on decisions about your care. There is no right or wrong way to give birth. What matters most is that you feel cared for, heard in your wishes, and respected in the decisions that you make. As your doula I will support you regardless of what you want.
DOES A DOULA ONLY ATTEND HOME BIRTHS?
Not at all. In America, 98% of births happen at a hospital. In Alabama, there is very little access to out of hospital maternal health care. I support all types of labors (medicated and unmedicated, induced and spontaneous) at the birth location of your choice. Wherever that may be.
DOES A DOULA REPLACE NURSING STAFF?
No. As a doula I do not preform clinical tasks such as blood pressure, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams, or others. My role is non-medical. I am there to provide physical comfort, emotional support, and advocacy. Although a nurse can sometimes provide some of these things, she has other responsibilities as well. I work for YOU, not for your care provider or facility. I am answering to your best interests and can remind you to ask the right questions when a nurse or doctor goes by protocol.
WHAT ABOUT MY PARTNER? WILL A DOULA TAKE OVER HIS ROLE?
My intention as a Doula is to support you AND your partner. Your partner knows you. I know birth. I will never be able to replace your partners love and support for you, nor do I intend to. During our prenatal appointments I expect that your partner will be there to absorb all the information by your side. We will discuss the ways you support each other as well as how you view my role as a doula. I will draw on my knowledge and experience to give your partner advice on ways to support you during your labor including positions, massage and words of encouragement. After hire, I am apart of your birth TEAM. We will work together to attain the birth you desire.
WHAT IS A BIRTH PLAN? DO I REALLY NEED ONE?
A birth plan is an outline of your preferences for your labor, delivery and immediate postpartum while in the care of your primary provider. This will include everything from pain management to how you plan on dealing with the unexpected.
Do I need one? Yes. I believe birth plans are an excercise in learning rather than a set plan. An opportunity to discuss the benifits and risks associated with each item before you are confronted with them in labor.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH COMPLICATIONS AT BIRTH?
Your care provider will make recommendations on how to best respond to complications. I will help you to navigate your care providers recommendations and facilitate the conversation to help you play an active role in the decision making.
DO YOU OFFER POSTPARTUM SUPPORT?
I usually remain with you for one to two hours after the birth, which is around the time that you are more comfortable and your family is ready for quiet time together. I can also help with initial breastfeeding, if necessary. I am available by phone to answer questions about the birth or newborn care. I will also arrange one postpartum visit with you after you are settled to see how you are doing, to review the birth, admire your baby, and to get feedback from you about my role.
IM NOT SURE I NEED A DOULA. WHY SHOULD I HAVE ONE?
In 2012, Hodnett et al. published a review of over 22 clinical trials that include 16,000 women, to show how the continuous support of a Doula can effect labor outcome. Women who had a trained doula had 25% shorter labors, they were more likely to have a spontaneous vaginal birth, they experienced a 40% decrease in the use of pitocen, 45% decrease in the chance of C-section, were less likely to have an instrumental birth, and requests for pain medication decreased by 30%.
The evidence suggests that it is the emotional, physical, and informational support doulas give contribute positively to women's decisions during the birthing process. They also attributed doulas for the reduced need for clinical procedures during labor and birth, fewer birth complications, and more satisfying experiences during labor, birth, and postpartum.