What is a Birth Doula?

What is a Birth Doula?

The doula accompanies the parents in labor, provides emotional and physical support, suggests comfort measures, and provides support and suggestions for the partner. Whenever possible, the doula provides informational support, including explanation and discussion of practices and procedures, and assistance in acquiring the knowledge necessary for the client to make informed decisions about their own care. Additionally, as doulas do not prescribe treatment, any suggestions or information provided within the role of the doula must be done with the proviso that the doula advises his/her client to check with the primary care provider before using any application.

The birth doula does NOT perform clinical or medical tasks. The doula provides non-medical support solely.

After your initial conversation you will meet the doula for a free in-person interview. This usually takes place with both parents present and most likely in your home. 

All doulas work with back-ups just in case. Birth doulas charge a flare-rate for their services and work with contracts and retainers.

Once you’ve hired your birth doula, you will meet with your doula two to three times prenatally to get to know one another better and so the doula can prepare you for the birth of your baby.

Once you go into labor, the doula will meet you in your home or meet you at the hospital to start the services. 

 

Prenatal Care

  • At least two prenatal visits to discuss comfort measures, answer any questions and alleviate your concerns.
  • Assisting you in the design of your birth plan for an easier, more fluid birthing experience.
  • Helping you to have the most satisfying birth possible as you define it.
  • Infant feeding preparation, information and support.
  • Training in visualization and relaxation techniques.
  • Suggestions for a more comfortable pregnancy and birth.
  • Alternative relief measures for morning sickness, heartburn, and other discomforts during pregnancy.
  • Providing educational materials and referrals.
  • Telephone support and advice throughout pregnancy and immediate postpartum.

Labor and Birth

  • Going on call two weeks prior to the due date.
  • Counseling you in asking the right questions so that you can make informed decisions about the care of you and your baby.
  • Massage and other alternative pain relief measures during labor.
  • Continuous, uninterrupted support throughout labor and birth and immediate postpartum.
  • Labor and birth positioning suggestions for comfort and labor progress
  • Providing an environment such that the partner is able to focus on the birth experience and can direct their attention to loving and supporting the laboring parent.
  • Assisting the partner and family members as needed.
  • Guaranteed backup doulas.

Postpartum Care

  • Next day follow up visit.
  • Additional wellness visit two weeks after the birth.

The Birth Doula…

  • Recognizes childbirth as a key life experience that the parent will remember all their life.
  • Understands and trusts the process of birth and the emotional needs of a person in labor.
  • Is experienced and trained in providing labor support.
  • Provides emotional support and physical comfort measures to birthing people and families from early labor until after childbirth.
  • Acts as a liaison between the laboring couple and the medical staff to facilitate communication and help the parents get the information they need to make informed decisions.
  • Supports the informed choices of the clients.
  • Inspires confidence in a person’s ability to give birth in their own best way.
  • Perceives the role as nurturing and protecting the parent’s memory of their birth experience.
  • Offers resources and information.

The Birth Doula Does Not…

  • Perform clinical tasks, such as fetal heart tone checks or vaginal exams. The doula is not there for medical reasons, other than to provide support.
  • Make decisions for you. The doula will help get the information necessary for parents to make an informed decision and the one that is right for them.
  • Replace the partner during labor. The doula supports and encourages the partner, and enhances their support style rather than replaces it.

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