What Is a Doula?
A doula mothers the mom. Moms who feel loved and supported during labor and birth feel calmer, healthier, and better able to mother their babies than mothers who do not feel loved and supported during their births. This should come under the heading of “Duh!”, but it is often forgotten in the sea of policy-driven treatment in maternity wards, designed primarily to justify high cost equipment and to prepare defenses against potential lawsuits. Doulas can help restore humanity to an overly technological birthing environment, or they can be one more set of capable, supportive hands in an already loving and supportive environment.
“Human warmth attenuates pain.”
Penny Armstrong, Midwife and Author
What Does a Doula Offer?
The doula can provide what the laboring woman needs most, as the very definition of her job is to be a provider of continuous physical and emotional support. (Doula is a greek word meaning “servant,” which has come to mean a woman who serves another woman.)
- Physical Support: I offer non-medical tools to help with the pain of labor—massage, application of pressure in specific places, knowledge of acupressure points that assist with labor progression or pain management, visualization exercises to help the mother to relax, and knowledge of movements to aid with relaxation and acceptance of pain.
- Intellectual Support: I help to decipher medical terminology, and support the birthing woman and her partner through handling the occasional stumbling block of hospital policy, should they need it.
- Advocacy: I am an advocate for parents’ knowing their options and taking the time to choose the one that suits their interests.
- Memory: I can remind you of the words and actions you wanted to remember during your birth but might forget when the excitement of birth is upon you. I’m also there as a voice to remind you that “You can do this.”
A doula does not administer tests, provide opinions or advice, or speak on behalf of her clients.
My services and fee
If you hire me as your doula, you will receive knowledgeable, warm support of you during pregnancy, labor, and beyond, specifically:
- An initial meeting before you hire me—it is important that the mother and father feel comfortable with their doula. Birth is an intimate, personal experience, and you should feel comfortable with all of your birth professionals, but especially with the person you hire as your continuous labor support.
- Two prenatal visits to assess your needs and desires for birth, define and understand our expectations of one another, provide you with useful tools for labor and birth. We will also discuss your previous birth experiences, and talk about any fears or issues you or your partners may have.
- Birth plan assistance to help you clarify your preferences for birth and explain the options that are available to you.
- Access to my lending library of books and videos about pregnancy, birth and baby care, to support your learning.
- Continuous physical, emotional, and informational support for you and your partner for the duration of labor and birth, to help you move towards the vision you created for your baby’s birth. This could include massage, counter-pressure to help ease the pressure of contractions, accupressure (many of my clients have been surprised by the effectiveness of accupressure to bring on contractions or ease pain or nausea), help with visualizations, breathing, and other things that we might have discussed beforehand or that arise in the moment. This can happen both at my clients’ homes and at the place of birth, if different, at their discretion.
- Unlimited phone and e-mail support to answer your questions and offer suggestions and support throughout pregnancy and early labor.
- If you are interested in photos once the baby is born, I would be happy to help you with this as well.
- Initial breastfeeding support immediately after birth to help your baby latch on properly and encourage the establishment of breastfeeding.
- One postpartum follow-up visit to celebrate the birth of your baby and answer any questions you have during the early postpartum period.
- Assistance with writing a birth story, if desired.
Contact me to discuss payment. I support barter transactions.