Here are the top 12 questions I get asked about doula care and childbirth education.
What does a doula do?
Doulas are present through your pregnancy, labor and birth to support moms and dads through the process. We bring emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental support to the environment. We provide quality education and teaching throughout your pregnancy and at prenatal appointments. We answer questions or concerns that you may have, or are just a listening ear when you need one. We provide hands on support throughout labor, and birth as well as documenting your journey through a hand written birth summary. We continue that support through the postpartum period with a visit in your home to talk through the birth and answer questions you may have about a new baby, breastfeeding, or just life in general.
I have a super supportive husband or family member, why would I need a doula?
First off, AWESOME! So many people don’t have that support- it’s SO important. While it is amazing to have a husband, mom, friend, sister, etc. at your birth- a doula is a subjective person who is there simply in the role of support. It is easy for family or friends to get wrapped up into the emotions behind birth and have a hard time using their “thinking brain.” Doulas are also trained in specific techniques for labor and birth that most lay people would not be familiar with. Also, birth can be long and taxing- it is just as important for those support people to have someone they can count on when they need to take a break, have a meal or a short nap. Doulas help fill in the roles to help compliment your support team- not take away from it.
When do you go on call?
I technically go on call at 37 weeks for each of my clients. This is when I guarantee I will not be out of town, or other wise engaged. Obviously if your baby should come earlier, please call and I will do my best to be present at your birth. If I am unable I will send one of my amazing back up doulas to you so you will not be alone.
How will I know when you should come to my labor? How long will you stay?
We will spend a lot of time at your prenatal appointments talking about when you should call your doula. Your doctor/midwife will also give you the 5-1-1 method, which is generally when I join you as well- usually when active labor occurs. However, the bottom line answer is that I come to you when you need me. I stay until baby is here, and usually an hour or two after as well.
What happens if you have two births at once, or you need a back up?
I have an amazing cohort of doula sisters who support and back me up as needed. I only 2-3 births a month, but if there happens to be two at once you will be fully supported!
Do you take photos?
I love taking photos of your labor and birth journey. They are not high quality- and I highly recommend having a birth photographer- however, I love for all family’s to have access to their birth via photos.
How many visits do you provide?
We will have at least 1 prenatal visit in your home to talk about birth, questions you may have, and get to know each other. If there are variations to your pregnancy, you become high risk, induction is presented, etc. we will have another meeting to talk through that as well. I do another visit postpartum within the first week to assess how you are doing, answer questions about the birth, breastfeeding, and newborn care, and give you follow up contacts and resources.
What other techniques or equipment do you bring to the birth?
Doulas are trained in a variety of supportive therapies for labor and birth. I personally bring a “bag of tricks” to each birth that includes various items. I also have a TENS unit that I bring to each birth, as well as rebozo techniques, breathing techniques, and relaxation/supportive scripts.
What if I need an epidural or end up with a cesarean birth?
All birth deserves to be supported. Doulas support all kinds, including VBACs, water birth, home birth, Cesarean birth, epidural birth, multiples birth, etc. Doulas can still provide emotional, physical, and mental support even with an epidural or a cesarean. I will do my best to make it into the OR to take pictures and be a present support if at all possible.
When should I take birth classes?
Birth Classes should be taken around 20 weeks. There is a large range of what is considered acceptable and if it works for you and your partner to take a class earlier or later that is ok. More education is better than no education. Remember that a lot happens at the end of your pregnancy so taking a class before 36 weeks is advisable.
How are your classes different than the hospital? Why wouldn’t I just take their class?
Hospital based or Clinic based classes teach you to be a consumer of their facility. They do demos of different equipment, tours of the rooms, and the basics of childbirth anatomy and physiology. Private childbirth classes will teach you the questions you need to ask so that you can avoid unnecessary interventions, and advocate for the kind of birth you desire. You will be taught how to be in charge of your birth, rather than just allowing the protocols to dictate how you birth.
What if my husband/partner doesn’t want to take classes?
That is ok. While I think it’s uber important for support people to be just as educated, I understand not wanting to take a birth class. Reminding them that this is a great way to get on the same page regarding your birth journey is a huge help. Also, try to get them to one class and they’ll see it’s not just boring but actually kind of fun!
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Nutrition and Exercise in Pregnancy
Sibling in Birth
Breastfeeding and Newborn Care
Baby wearing and Cloth Diapering
Variations of Labor
How to Choose a Care Provider