WHAT IS A DOULA?
A doula is far from a new phenomenon, but there is still a great deal of confusion about what a doula is. So my friend, I am here to clear up any confusion!
The word doula is a Greek word meaning 'woman servant'. In many cultures, a sister, a mother, a grandmother, or a close friend takes on the role of a doula in a mother's birth. In today's culture, a doula provides the mother with evidence based information prenatally, encouragement, emotional and physical support during labor, initial breastfeeding support, and support postpartum.
What is a doulas scope of practice?
One of the most frequent questions asked is what the difference between a midwife and a doula is. Midwives are medically trained professionals. A midwife handles all the medical aspects of both the mother and the baby, while doulas provide physical and emotional support for the mother (and her partner).
As a CAPPA Certified Labor Doula, it is never within my scope of practice to give medical advice, services, or opinions. I am not hired to do cervical checks or talk about my opinions. I am hired to educate each woman (and family) with evidence based findings and empower her to make the decisions she feels is best for her. A well informed woman is a confident and empowered woman, ready to ask the right questions and become an active participant in her birth.
does A doula really make a difference?
Yes. Doulas provide support (physical and emotional) and evidence based information--all of which are crucial and beneficial to a pregnant woman. Given the right information, women are able to make educated choices regarding their pregnancy and birth which result in greater satisfaction surrounding their birth experience.
The most recent statistics for doulas show a:
31% decrease in the use of Pitocin
28% decrease in the risk of C-section
12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience
*Stat Credit: evidencebasedbirth.com*
I already know I want an epidural or a c-section, will a doula still be beneficial?
Incredibly so. Positioning of the mother while in a bed is especially important for optimal positioning of the baby. Your doula will work with you to find the most comfortable positions for laboring with your epidural in place. Not only that, but in the case that your epidural does not completely eliminate feeling, she will be able to help you cope and have peace of mind.
WILL A DOULA TAKE THE PLACE OF MY PARTNER?
Absolutely not. A doula only increases your partners effectiveness. A doula affirms your partner's ability to support you in the process of pregnancy and birth. A doula is able to provide your partner with much needed coffee/bathroom breaks and emotional support--enabling your partner to be present and enjoy the birth of their child as well.
HOW CAN I GET THE MOST OUT OF MY DOULA?
Communicate! Over communicate even. Ask questions. Be honest with your thoughts, feelings, and concerns. Your doula is not a mind reader.
WHY ARE DOULAS SO EXPENSIVE?
First let's break down the hours your doula will be spending with you. 1 hour initial interview (at no cost), 2-3 prenatally, 12-24 hours during your labor (conservatively), and 2 hours postpartum. Then factor in your doula being on call for you for 2 weeks before-2 weeks after your due date (that is 1 month total). Looking at all the information, an investment of $500-$1200 makes more sense. Your doula works hard and is dedicated to supporting you through one of the most incredible times in your life! It is an investment you will not regret.
Photo Cred: Savannah Cole