A doula accompanies women in labor to help them have a more satisfying birth experience. She provides emotional support, physical comfort and, as needed, communication with the staff to make sure that you have the information you need to make informed decisions as they arise in labor. A doula can provide reassurance and perspective to you and your partner, make suggestions for labor progress, and help with relaxation techniques for comfort. Our doulas are independent contractors with Baby Bumps and Beyond. Your doula works for you, not your caregiver or hospital.
A doula is a woman who…
..recognizes birth as a key life experience that the mother will remember forever.
..understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of the woman in labor.
…assists the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plans for the birth.
…stays by the side of the laboring woman throughout the entire labor.
…provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint and assistance to the woman in getting the information she needs to make good decisions.
…facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and clinical care providers.
…perceives her role as one who nurtures and protects the woman’s memory of her birth.
- Two prenatal visits to discuss the parents’ desires and preparation for the birth
- Phone support as needed during pregnancy and immediate postpartum period
- Assistance in creating a birth plan
- Labor support at home or hospital as needed
- Emotional, physical, and informational support during labor and birth
Choosing a Doula
We prefer to meet with you and your partner at least once before labor to become acquainted, to explore and discuss your priorities and any fears or concerns, and to plan how we might best work together. The fee includes two prenatal visits, your labor, and one postpartum visit. The initial meeting does not obligate you to use our services, but if you do select us, then we will want to become familiar with your birth plan, including your preferences regarding management options and the use of pain medications. We also want to know your own best ways of coping with pain and fatigue and how you and your partner foresee working together.
We will inform you of times when your primary doula is unavailable for labor support. In these instances or in the event that your primary doula is unavailable due to unforeseeable circumstances your back up doula will attend your labor.
We may also decide on other meetings and will certainly want to remain in touch by telephone.
When you are in labor
Please call your primary doula when you think you are in labor, even if you do not yet need support. We can answer questions and make suggestions over the phone. At this point, together we will decide if you need immediate assistance or if we should wait for further change. Approximately one hour is needed to get to you from the time you ask your doula to come. We will also decide where to meet — at your home or the hospital. Except for extraordinary circumstances, your doula or back up will remain with you throughout your labor and birth.
During your labor
The doula reserves the right to be relieved by back up in the event that she becomes ill for any reason or is unable to properly support you during your labor. After 20 hours of labor support the doula may also call in back up if the primary doula feels that it would be in your best interest.
After the birth
Your doula usually remains with you for one or two hours after the birth, until you are comfortable and your family is ready for quiet time together. We can also help with initial breastfeeding, if necessary.
We are available for phone contact to answer questions about the birth or your baby, and would like to get together with you within one to two weeks to see how you are doing, to review the birth, to admire your baby, and to get feedback from you about our role.
What doulas do not do
As a doula, we do not:
Perform clinical tasks such as blood pressure, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams, and others. We are there to provide only physical comfort, emotional support, and advocacy.
Make decisions for you. We will help you to get the information necessary to make informed decisions. We will also remind you if there is a departure from your birth plan.
Speak to the staff instead of you regarding matters where decisions are being made. We will discuss your concerns with you and suggest options, but you or your partner will speak on your behalf to the clinical staff.