Hiring a birth doula provides so many benefits to your birthing experience and is definitely an investment worth careful consideration. I understand that hiring a doula is a big decision, and it is important to me that my clients feel like they have gotten the most out of their investment. Providing outstanding care to my clients is very important to me, and I always hope that my clients are satisfied with the services they receive. Below are a few suggestions on how to get the most out of your doula services.
Take a quality childbirth education class
Doulas know all about birth. They research constantly, and many of them also teach childbirth classes. They are happy to educate their clients on episiotomies and stages of labor. However, one of the most important aspects of doula care is relational support. On average, a doula spends about 3-5 hours with each client before attending their birth. This usually includes 1 interview as well as 2 meetings at the client’s home before the birth. Ideally, these precious hours are spent getting to know each other, building a trusting relationship together, and learning about those things that will make your birth special. A childbirth class is a great place to learn things like the stages of labor, what episiotomies are, the different degrees of tearing, breastfeeding information, and more.
Stay in touch
I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay in touch with your doula, especially during labor. It is up to you to decide how much help you want from your doula. The more your keep in touch with her, the more she can help you. I ask my clients to touch base with me after each of the prenatal visits with their care provider just to let me know how they are doing, if they have any questions or concerns, or if there is anything they need me to help them with. Once in labor, letting your doula know how you are feeling and whether or not you are ready for her help is important. If you are unable to talk on the phone or respond to text messages, a partner, spouse, or loved one can respond instead. That also usually means that it is time to ask your doula to join you in labor.
It is never too late to hire a doula, unless the baby is already born. Even then, there is a doula for that! (Postpartum doula) In order to get the most out of your time with your doula, hire her early. Many experienced doulas book up quickly, so it isn’t out of the question to start making calls as soon as you find out you are pregnant. That way when you get ready to hire someone, you know exactly who you want to work with. You’ll be able to open the lines of communication with her and secure your spot when you need to. You’ll have more time to communicate with her and get to know her if you hire her earlier in your pregnancy.
Be clear about your wishes
Let your doula know exactly what you expect from her. Many doulas have wonderful intuition, but some things still need to be communicated. How do you envision your birth? In what ways do you typically find comfort? How do you like to be touched? Do you even like to be touched? Are there affirmations that you love and/or hate? Do you like aromatherapy? These are just a few examples of what can be shared with your doula so that she can do her best work for you. Doulas are some of the most caring and compassionate people on the planet. They want to do a great job serving you!
These are just a few ideas on how to get the most out of your doula service. As with any other service, you are able to utilize the service in a way that helps benefit you the most. Not everyone will utilize their doula services the same way, but hopefully you will be able to get the most out of your investment by following these suggestions.