What is a birth doula?
A doula is a person who serves. Birth doulas are professionals trained in childbirth who support families before, during, and after birth. Birth doulas specialize in providing physical, emotional, informational, and relational support to families during this exciting time in their lives. Birth doulas are a combination of tour guide, personal trainer, motivational speaker, and empathic listening extraordinaires. We are familiar with the terrain of birth, we’ve accompanied families on the journey of birth many times, and we know many ways to help them stay motivated throughout the journey. We are there to listen and encourage as situations arise that need extra encouragement.
Does a doula replace my husband or partner?
Absolutely not! Doulas assist partners as well as the birthing person. We see a need and we fill that need. We meet partners where they are. Some have described doulas as a partner’s wing man. Doulas take the pressure off of the partner to be everything and to know everything so that they can do what they do best- love the mother. Leave all the position memorization to us!
Are doulas only for natural/home births?
No! We support all kinds of births. While most of my clients are seeking a natural childbirth, most of them are also seeking to birth inside of the hospital. In my opinion, doulas are the most helpful in a hospital setting and incredibly helpful during planned or unplanned epidural births. Read more about how doulas help with epidurals here.
What scientific evidence is there for having a doula?
Doula care has been studied for many years. Studies have shown that those that have a doula tend to have shorter labors, less request for pain meds, and more satisfaction with their births. Read more about the evidence for doulas here.
What training and experience do you have?
I have been attending births as a birth doula since 2011, and have attended almost 100 births. I have taught childbirth classes since 2014. I have worked with many families from various backgrounds with many different birth goals. I have attended births in homes, birth centers, and hospitals and have supported families through all sorts of birthing situations.
I currently hold the following certifications:
Birth Boot Camp DOULA (2014-current)
I have attended the following trainings:
Birth Boot Camp Instructor (Certified 2014-2020)
DONA International Birth Doula (Certified 2011-2014)
Spinning Babies (2012)
Gena Kirby Rebozo Training (2012)
The Art of Labor Whispering (2016)
Mental Health First Aid (2017)
Karen Strange Neonatal Resuscitation Program training (2019)
Dancing for Birth™ training (2019)
CAPPA Postpartum Doula training (2019)
Will I see my doula before going into labor? What about after my baby is born?
We will typically meet 2 times in your home before labor begins and once after your baby is born. This does not include the interview in order to see if we are a good fit.
Do you recommend a childbirth class?
Yes. I am unable to fit in everything there is to know about childbirth into 2 1.5-2 hour visits before birth. While I am happy to answer basic questions like, “What is an episiotomy? What can I expect from an induction? What is pitocin?” I would much prefer to spend that time building a relationship with you. A childbirth class is a perfect place to learn the basics of birth. I often explain it like this: a comprehensive childbirth class as the place to learn what to Google. It will cover the vital information in order to be able to make informed decisions without bombarding you with scary and unnecessary information.
What is your “doula style?”
My doula style is client-led and relationship-based. I do most of my work during our home visits together before birth. My goals are to learn about you, your partner, your birth goals, your concerns, and your expectations of me. I try to be the doula you need. Are you someone who likes lots of information, studies, and reading material? I do that. Do you prefer to have someone who just listens, has your back, and isn’t out to give you advice like everyone else? I do that, too. Do you need someone who can affirm you over and over and over that you really can do this and that you’re not crazy for wanting to? I’m your girl. Whatever you feel like you need, I try to fill in any gaps. I work to instill confidence. My hope is that my clients feel like they’ve known me for years during our time together. Once I join you in labor, again, my approach is client-led. If you are confidently “doing your thing,” then my job is one of “do not disturb.” If you require tons of comforting touch, affirmations, position changes, and all-around direction, I can do that too. My doula style is very much dependent on what each client needs. I provide individualized, compassionate care.
Do you recommend hospital, birth centers, home births, midwives, or OBs?
All of them. I believe people birth the best where they feel the safest. Do you feel like giving birth surrounded by lots of technology and close proximity to an OR in case something goes wrong will help you feel the safest? The hospital is the best place for you. Do you want to birth away from a hospital, but can’t stand the idea of having to give birth in your own home? Or maybe you want to birth outside of a hospital but insurance won’t cover a home birth. Maybe your partner is against the idea of a home birth. A birth center may be the best fit for you. Do you love the idea of being in your own space away from the sterile hospital environment? A home birth may be right for you.
Do you need a doula if you have a midwife?
I’ll be the first to admit that no one NEEDS a doula. People give birth just fine without doulas and some (raises hand) give birth just fine without even a care provider present (total accident). Although there is a bit of a crossover in what each person does, doulas and midwives serve very different roles on your birth team. A midwife is your care provider. This is the person who monitors your and your baby’s health before, during, and after birth. This person monitors vitals during labor, charts, and makes sure everyone is tolerating the process safely. While they CAN provide comfort measures and emotional support, and often DO, their main purpose is to be a guardian of your and your baby’s health and safety.
Doulas do NOT provide medical care of any sort. Their job is to help you feel calm and as comfortable as possible. They tend to be the one who supports during the longer early parts of labor, helping your find your groove, offering sips of water, and words of encouragement. They are the guardians of a calm and confident environment. While a partner, friend, or family member can provide this kind of support, doulas bring years of experience in “birthy things” to the table (that is supported by evidence) that just can’t be duplicated by a close family member or even a member of the medical care team.
When do you join me in labor?
I love to open the lines of communication as soon as you think you might be going into labor. This could be as simple as sending a text message to say, “I’ve been having contractions 15 minutes apart all night. I’m doing well. Just wanted to give you a heads up.” That way I can support you over the phone as needed. We will touch base every few hours throughout the process and eventually, as contractions get closer together and you start showing signs of more active labor, we will decide together when and where to meet. Typically people start wanting my physical presence when they can no longer talk through contractions, when they feel like heading to their birth place, and their confidence starts to waver. That can vary per individual, and I remind clients of these things during early labor. I am with you every step of the way, even if I haven’t physically joined you yet. Most of the time I join clients shortly after they have arrived at their birthing place or if having a home birth, shortly (or several hours) before they are ready for their midwife to arrive.
Will you labor with me at home?
I am willing to join people at home during labor, but most of the time, people are not interested in this. Of course, those planning a home birth, I will join at home.
Note: If you are planning on having your baby at home without a care provider present, I am not comfortable serving as your doula. I am happy to refer you to doulas who provide this service.