Chochrane review finds that doula support, “may improve outcomes for women and infants, including increased spontaneous vaginal birth, shorter duration of labor, and decreased caesarean birth, instrumental vaginal birth, use of any analgesia, use of regional analgesia, low five-minute Apgar score and negative feelings about childbirth experiences.”
Doula Services include:
During a complimentary consultation, we get to know each other, discuss your personal childbirth goals, and talk about how I can support you.
2-3 Prenatal visits
- Build your birth plan
- Process labor and parenting hopes and fears, etc.
- Talk through labor and breastfeeding physiology
- Articulate questions for your care provider
- Plan for informed consent before, during, and after birth
- Help you get ready for baby’s arrival
Continuous labor support
- Pain management
- Help you stay productive in your labor
- Help you pace your efforts
- Hold space, ground you
- Help you identify, process, and overcome your fears
- Ensure you have the necessary information, time, and space to make your own decisions
- Help you process and understand your options
- Facilitate effective communication between you and your care provider
- Enhance your connection with each other (not replace your partner in any way)
- Empower your partner with information, reassurance, guidance, and attention
1 Postpartum visit
- Processing through your childbirth experience
- Basic breastfeeding support
- Non-medical mama and newborn care support
- Troubleshooting for any parenting bumps along the road
Photography upon request
My partner, friend, or loved one will be at my birth to support me. Is a doula still helpful? Yes! Doulas work collaboratively with your support team including your care provider, partner, friends, and family. Your partner, friend, or family members are important members of your support team. These are the people who have a long term commitment to you and who know you intimately. A doula will balance this support with professional birth experience, an objective approach to your birth plan, helpful guidance for how these people can better support you, and as an extra set of hands. The doula will also provide valuable support for your partner, friend or family member by ensuring they are rested, fed, involved, and informed.
Studies have compared the efficacy of doula support over that of family and/or nursing staff support. These studies have shown that when a doula is present, desirable outcomes are achieved more often including: shorter labor time; fewer interventions; stronger parent baby bonding; greater breastfeeding success; shorter hospital stays; and higher overall birth satisfaction.
I am having a midwife attend my birth. Is a doula still relevant? Yes! A doula will ensure you receive continuous emotional and physical support during your labor. The midwife’s main responsibility is the health and well-being of you and your baby. A doula can join you at home, hospital or birthing center in labor before your midwife is with you, and will be there continuously to support your non-medical needs. A doula will also help to enhance communication between you and your midwife.
What effect does a doula have on labor? Studies compared births supported by doulas with births supported by only a loved one, or nursing staff. The births supported by doulas achieved the following outcomes.
- shorter labor time
- fewer medical interventions (cesarean section, epidural, Pitocin, pain medication, forceps, and vacuum extraction)
- greater breastfeeding success
- shorter hospital stays
- greater parent satisfaction in the birth experience,
- stronger parent baby bonding
Does insurance cover the cost of a doula? Maybe. Some plans do cover the cost of a doula. You need to contact your individual plan to verify your benefits. If your plan does, I will provide a receipt with the necessary codes for reimbursement. Most health savings accounts offer reimbursement for doula services.
Does a doula make decisions on my behalf? No! A doula will never make any decisions on your behalf. A doula helps you to make informed decisions by offering you objective information, providing referrals to other professionals, and enhancing communication between you and your care provider. A doula will help you to establish and achieve your own personal birth plan.
I’m planning a home birth. Will a doula still be helpful? Yes! A doula will often join you at home before the midwife arrives. All of the comfort measures, reassurance, and support are still effective at home.
I plan to get an epidural. Will a doula still be helpful? Yes! A doula will support you in your own informed birth plan. There will still be need for on-going emotional and some physical support. A doula will help you work through your labor before the epidural is administered. Once administered, the epidural will numb your sensations, but you will still need to work very hard to give birth. A doula can help you: identify what labor techniques are working, maintain your stamina, enhance communication with the medical staff, and help you once the baby is born.
I am having a scheduled cesarean birth. Will a doula still be helpful? Yes! If you want a trusted, caring, and objective support person with you through your cesarean, a doula will be very helpful. A doula will provide practical and emotional support before, during and after your procedure. You can still have certain preferences for your birth plan even when having a cesarean birth, and a doula will help you identify and achieve these. A doula can enhance communication with the medical staff, and help you once the baby is born.