What is a birth doula?
The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek word meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth (birth doula) or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period (postpartum doula).
Though the term is somewhat new, the model of doula care is as old as time itself.
Why should I consider hiring a doula to attend my birth?
Studies show that having a doula present reduces the rates of induction, augmentation, caesarean birth, instrumental deliveries, epidurals, narcotic pain relief and maternal emotional distress. Women with doulas also report more satisfying birth experiences.
A recent meta-analysis published in The Cochrane Library (February 2011) looked at 21 randomized controlled studies involving more than 15,000 women. The study found that, compared with women who had no continuous support, women who had a doula were:
• 28% less likely to have a caesarean section
• 31% less likely to use synthetic oxytocin (i.e. Pitocin) to speed labor
• 9% less likely to use any pain medication
• 34% less likely to rate their childbirth experience negatively
There is also growing evidence that breastfeeding goes more smoothly, babies require less trips to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and the mother and father feel good about their birth experience.
What will you do for me, as my birth doula?
As your doula, I:
- Recognize birth as an important experience you will remember all of your life
- Understand the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
- Will assist you and your partner in preparing for and carrying out your wishes for birth
- Stay by your side throughout your labor
- Give you one-on-one attention
- Provide emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as remind you of the information you learned prenatally that will help you make your own informed decisions
- Will suggest ways to increase your comfort level as well as help your labor progress
- Perceive my role as nurturing and I will protect your memory of the birth experience
- Work with your partner, allowing them to participate at their own comfort level
- Help you and your partner get off to a great start as new parents.
Will a doula replace my partner?
Absolutely not. A doula simply adds to their support and makes it possible for partners to participate at their comfort level. The husband or partner is then able to focus their love and attention on the mother, freeing them to be physically and emotionally present for the birth of their child, too!
What does a doula NOT do?
- anything medical - this includes giving medical advice, reading machines or interpreting test results.
- provide a second opinion
- make decisions for you
- answer for you or your partner
- speak on your behalf
When should I book my doula?
The simple answer is that it's never too early or to late to hire a doula! However, it would be ideal to contact and reserve one as soon as you know that you'd like the support. Most doulas (including myself) will only book a certain number of clients per month to make sure that everyone gets the attention and support that they deserve. This also helps lower the chance of conflict or overlap between estimated due dates.
Want to learn more? Find further information on services here. For pricing, please send an inquiry - fees are dependant on birth location, mileage and the level of additional support or preparation classes chosen.
"I had no idea how beneficial having a doula would be. I am 100% satisfied with how everything went and would recommend Jen as a doula to anyone. Thank you Jen for being such an important part of this special moment in our family's life!" - C.K.