What's a Doula (doo-lah) ?
The word "doula" is derived from a Greek word meaning "helper of woman". A doula is a non-medical support person, most often a woman, who has been specifically trained to provide knowledge and continuous emotional and physical support to a woman and her family before, during, and just after childbirth. She is a supportive witness, providing guidance and wisdom as an expecting mother navigates her birth journey. A doula does not impose her own thoughts and beliefs of childbirth on you; she observes, she listens, and she protects a woman during one of the most beautiful, challenging, and vulnerable moments of her life.
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Benefits of a Doula
In a healthcare system where you often do not know who your medical provider will be during childbirth, a doula is a trusted support person you have chosen. Familiar with you, she knows your likes and dislikes, as well as your desires and fears. She often serves as a bridge between you and your medical staff, keeping you as priority. With our doulas, you will never be a number, but a person who is loved, respected and understood. Research shows that women who have a doula at their birth are:
more likely to begin labor naturally
less likely to use pain medication
less likely to have a cesarean birth
more likely to report a positive childbirth experience
What's the difference between a doula and a midwife?
A midwife is a trained medical professional, who assists healthy women with low-risk pregnancies. In addition to assisting in labor and birth, most will also provide medical prenatal care. A midwife will focus on the medical aspects of your care, providing medical advice and procedures if necessary to ensure the health of both mother and baby. A doula however, is a non-medical professional who will focus on providing comfort and emotional support throughout the various stages in your childbirth journey, aiding you in reaching your birth goals, assisting with coping techniques during labor, providing assistance/guidance to your support person(s), and empowering you with knowledge to voice your desires and know what questions to ask your medical provider.
Will a doula replace my birth partner or medical professional?
Absolutely NOT! A doula reinforces the care you will receive from the support system(s) you already have in place. Your medical provider is necessary to support your medical and physical well-being, while your birth partner(s) will be first in command to provide you with the support you will need as you transition throughout your childbirth journey and beyond. A doula cannot replace the bond that exists between you and your birth partner(s), nor provide you with medical advice, but she can arm both you and your partner with evidence based information, review your options and birth plans, suggest labor and birth positions as well as comfort measures, provide rest for your support person(s) when needed for continuous care, and also provide emotional support in various scenarios that may arise.
How will my doula provide support?
Prior to hiring a birth doula, you will receive a complimentary consultation so we can get to know you and hopefully your birth partner to learn about your birth goals and how we may best assist you. Our service includes a minimum of two prenatal sessions as we prepare for your labor and you will have the opportunity to meet all the members of our team. A doula will be available to you by phone, text, email, or WhatsApp messenger throughout your pregnancy to provide support and answer any questions you may have.
During the early stage of labor, a doula will provide continuous support by phone, text, or WhatsApp messenger. It will be your choice if you would like us to meet you at your home or birth location. Your doula will be present up to two hours after your birth to provide immediate postpartum care, including breastfeeding support. In addition, you will also receive at least one postpartum visit within the first week of returning home from the hospital to review your birth experience and address any postpartum needs or concerns you may have.
I want to be a doula! How do I get started?
Being a doula is an exciting, rewarding lifestyle, not to mention a great skill set to possess if you are currently working with women and families in social work, advocacy, maternity care, etc. It is very different than a traditional job and there is much one should consider when entering this line of work. A great doula can come from any background. You do not need a college or medical degree - although it certainly can be beneficial! Your age, marital status, race, creed, or bank account does not influence your ability. You can be an amazing doula without ever personally experiencing childbirth yourself! The range of doulas in the industry should be as diverse as the families they serve but misconceptions, fear, and a lack of access can keep many well qualified people from pursuing their passion. For this reason, we offer Doula Pathway Consultations to those considering becoming a doula. Whether you plan to be a doula for family or friends, or you would like to pursue it as a new profession, our consultations provide guidance to doulas in the beginning of their journey at a very affordable rate. If you'd like to learn more about our consultations for new doulas, click here!