Q: What does a doula do?
A: A doula is a professional advocate, trained in childbirth who provides emotional, physical, and educational support to a birth parent who is expecting, is experiencing labor, or has recently given birth. The doula's purpose is to help birth parent and family have a safe, memorable, and empowering birthing experience. Check out this blog post for specifics.
Q: Why do I need a doula?
A: According to a study done by Hodnett et al. in 2012, "the best [birth] results occurred when woman had continuous labor support from a doula— someone who was NOT a staff member at the hospital and who was NOT part of the birth parent's social network. When continuous labor support was provided by a doula, birth parents experienced 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*"
(Source: Evidenced Based Birth)
Q: Will a doula help my partner(s)?
A: In short, yes! While a doula's primary focus is on the person giving birth, a doula also provides support and check-ins for partner(s). Most partners find it incredibly reassuring to have the calm support of a doula during the birth process.
"In other words, while your doctor is checking to see how far you're dilated and your partner is collapsed in a chair looking pale and pasty, your birth doula will be the one standing by your side, making sure you have everything you need for a positive birth experience." (Parents.com)
Q: I’m nervous my doctor won’t like me having a doula. What should I do about that?
A: Sometimes an OB or OB/GYN won't like their patient having a doula. Oftentimes, this is because the doula helps their client ask questions and support their decisions regarding care – which may cause a doctor to spend more time on delivery.
"The only reason I can think of that a hospital or medical professional would have a problem with doulas encouraging their clients to ask informed consent questions would be because they don’t wish to go through the motions of actually following important informed consent guidelines. Even if you don’t want to hire a doula, knowing that your care provider or hospital is threatened by the presence of someone who will potentially insist upon informed consent is a bad sign!" (Birth Takes a Village).
As a doula, I am always happy to discuss any provider concerns you may have.
Q: Will my labor be easier with a doula?
A: Because it's not possible to do a "double blind study" (comparing your experience giving birth with and without a doula), it's helpful to look at statistics, as many parents "consider doulas to be an absolute must, especially for those giving birth in a hospital. Due to the over-medicalisation of birth, inductions of labour have skyrocketed, and are partly to blame for the 30% (that's one out of every three!) Australian and American babies now born via c-section. Some hospitals sport c-section rates of 50% and higher. This is a shocking statistic, well above the World Health Organisation recommendations of 10-15% — after this amount, it doesn't save any further lives, which is what the c-section was intended for." (Belly. Belly)
Q: What doesn’t a doula do?
A: A doula is NOT a medical professional. Doulas do not perform exams on the birth parent or baby. They do not deliver the baby, give medical advice or diagnose conditions.
Q: When in my pregnancy should I contact you for a consultation?
A: I recommend contacting me as early in your pregnancy as possible. I have helped birth parents at nearly every stage of pregnancy (some even past their due date!). I'm happy to schedule a talk, and refer you to a trusted doula if my schedule doesn't allow for us to work together.
Q: How much does having a doula cost?
A: Cost for a full pregnancy is approximately $1400 USD. Payment plans are available, full pricing is available here.
I also offer postpartum doula services, which you can view here.
Have a question that wasn't answered in the FAQ? Drop me a line here, and I'm happy to chat!