What Is a doula?
A birth doula is a childbirth professional who offers emotional, physical, and informational support to the birthing woman. Birth doulas build relationships with families throughout pregnancy and become a familiar face and trusted companion during the incredibly vulnerable and intimate time of labor. Nurses and doctors have an important role in the labor process, but they also have many women to monitor and care for. A birth doula’s focus is to support primarily the birthing woman and her partner. Every birth is different, but every birthing woman needs support, and a birth doula is there to give it! What is a doula? The perfect addition to your birth team!
Why Do I Need a Doula?
Good question! Maybe you’re feeling a little nervous about birth. As a doula, I help you identify and eliminate fears to achieve your dream birth. (Click here to learn how fear impacts the birthing body.) Or, perhaps you have an idea of the kind of birth you’re desiring but not sure how to get there. I provide you the tools to craft a birth plan and prepare you for it. Maybe you’re completely confident in your birth plan and excited for birth. Guess what? Doulas still offer you incredible benefits! I strive for communication with the medical staff to carry out your birth plan, I am an extra set of hands to give your partner a chance to relax and rest, and I am there every step of the way to provide comfort measures, information, and reassurance.
Evidence shows that mothers who have doula support have:
39% decrease of having a Cesarean Section
10% decrease in the use of pain medication
31% decrease in the risk of having a negative birth experience
What is a Doula vs What is a midwife
Birth doulas and midwives play important, but very different roles on your birth team. If you choose a midwife over an OB, she/he will be your care provider: trained and certified to give you prenatal and postnatal care, and to deliver your baby. Many hospitals today use midwives, with almost 95% of midwife attended births occurring at hospitals, as opposed to birth centers or at home. While a midwife assists primarily in medical support, the doula acts as a labor coach and companion. Doulas offer continual one-on-one emotional, physical, and informational support from the onset of labor till baby is born. A doula will not perform any medical tasks; that’s the job of the midwife! Comfort measures, coping techniques, facilitating breathing, creating a calm birthing space, and more are all tasks the doula will be ready and excited to perform!
How close should my doula be to my home or hospital?
Although I am located in the East Bay, I offer birth doula services throughout the entire San Francisco Bay Area. For every visit besides your free consultation (where we will meet in the middle) I am available to meet you in a convenient location of your choosing. Often families will choose to meet in their homes. I recommend for families to hire a doula that lives no more than one hour away with traffic. However, keep in mind that birth is generally a lengthy process, especially for first time mothers. I should be able to offer my support without issues provided the family requests my presence in a timely manner.
As a Doula, I Will…
Accept the mother’s birth plan and assist her and her partner in carrying it out.
Be a constant encouraging and informational presence throughout the birth.
Offer physical comfort measures, emotional support, and unbiased information.
Encourage the partner to be the primary support throughout the birth while also assisting them when requested/necessary.
As a Doula, I Will Not…
Contradict the mother’s choices and desires for her birth.
Perform any clinical tasks, medical exams, or give diagnoses.
Make any decisions for the mother. I facilitate clear communication between the mother and her care providers so she is able to make informed decisions.