Many people wonder why they need a doula. Maybe you love your care provider and think that they will be enough. Maybe you took several birth classes or read a stack of books. Maybe your partner is a rockstar at support. If so, great! All of those things are wonderful, but a doula can still be a part of your birth team.
One of the biggest concerns I have heard from prospective clients in that a doula will take over their partner’s role. My role is not to replace anyone but rather to compliment. As a support person I am able to provide physical comfort, like counter pressure or light massage. I can also teach your birth partner these techniques as well. I am able to make suggestions to help with the progression of labor or to make you feel more comfortable. By having two support people by your side you are never left alone (unless of course you want to be!). If your partner needs to run out for more coconut water or grab a quick bite to eat, I’ll stay by your side. This way your partner is refreshed and energized to provide the best care for you.
I like to spend time getting to know clients before their big birth day. We typically meet for two prenatal visits in your home where we cover birth preferences and labor positions. We also discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Since the prenatal visits are in your home, you can feel relaxed and comfortable. This also gives me the opportunity to get the “lay of the land” and figure out where everything is in your home that may be needed during early labor. I don’t want to disrupt a laboring mother to ask where the towels or bottled water is! I’ll be able to provide you with your preferred snacks and drinks to keep you alert and energized for the hard work ahead.
Once the big day (likely the middle of the night) is finally here, I arrive at your home to help in whatever way you need. I can simply sit, observe and remind you to relax your shoulders. I can provide counter pressure for those particularly challenging contractions. I can help reassure you and your partner to what is normal/ not normal. My role is to support you in whatever way you choose. I can be as hands on or as hands off as you choose (in a nonmedical way). I will help time contractions and remind you when it is time to call your care provider.
Your care provider is unlikely to be present for the majority of your labor. If you’re giving birth in a hospital, you’ll interact primarily with the nurse assigned to you. She will likely have several patients at a time and her shift will end at a specified time, at which point you will be assigned another nurse. Depending on how long you spend laboring at the hospital, you could have several different nurses attending to you. If your care provider is at the hospital during your labor, (s)he will check in intermittently but is unlikely to spend large amounts of time with you until it comes time to birth your baby. Sometimes your chosen care provider is not on call or is attending to another patient. In this case you will give birth with another care provider that you may have never met before. Having a doula present helps provide you with continuous and consistent support.
By hiring a doula you also gain access to a vast network of birth professionals and providers. I am able to provide referrals to lactation counselors/ consultants, acupuncturists, massage therapists, birth photographers, child birth educators, support groups and much more. Any questions you have, I am happy to help answer. And if I don’t know something, I know someone who does!
Hiring a doula provides you with much more than just the physical support during birth. Doulas provide reassurance, knowledge, education and comfort to both the birthing mother and her partner.