What does a Doula Do?
How does it work?
Ideally, expectant families meet prospective doulas sometime late in the first trimester or early in the second trimester, although you can choose your doula at any time—even before you conceive, and sometimes doulas work on call in hospitals, so parents meet them just before their baby is born. I recommend that people interview several doulas to make sure it's the right fit--after all, the birth of your baby is an important and intimate day.
If you hire me, you review and sign my contract, and pay a retainer fee. Then, we can get down to the good work of me helping you to have the support during birth that you desire. As my contract states, I usually prefer to meet with families at least 3 times before the baby is born.
What do we do during prenatal visits? We get to know each other. You tell me your birth wishes, and perhaps make a birthing map or plan. We talk about your place of birth, preferences for comfort measures and pain coping techniques. I show you and your partner ways to help you feel more comfortable as your baby grows. I help you find resources about birth, babies and families in the community. These visits are also a great time for me to get to know your partner, if you have one, and how to support them to support you during your birth and after the baby is born.
If you have hired me as your doula, I also am available to field questions and provide support between prenatal appointments. You can call or text me during my 'regular business hours' (9 am to 9 pm).
It's BABY TIME! When it's your personal LABOR DAY, I like to be called when you THINK you might be in labor. From there, we can decide, based on our previous conversations, whether you'd like me to come to your home, or meet you at your place of birth, if it is elsewhere. And yes, doulas work in hospitals and birthing centers all of the time. In fact, most of the births I have attended have been in the hospital. I will stay with you and provide support throughout labor, and until everyone is settled in after your baby is born.
Some of the things I do DURING labor and birth are: I can suggest positions and movements which may help keep labor moving along, or, alternatively help you to be comfortable resting and relaxing if labor is progressing more slowly. I can help advocate for the birth choices you’ve requested and that I’m familiar with because of our prenatal contact, including preferences for natural or or medicated birth, birthing atmosphere, positions and other things you may have requested on your birth plan. I can help your partner to support you, as well. Together, we find ways of of helping to cope with the pain and power of labor contractions, moving in and out of the shower or birthing tub, techniques for massage and/or touch, use of heat and cold, and again changing positions or movements that encourage baby to come out and meet you. Doulas do NOT perform any medical or diagnostic tasks. We work with nurses, midwives and doctors to help make birth a positive, supported experience.
If you choose, you can also add a postpartum support package to your services.
What does a Postpartum Doula do? After baby is born, I provide physical support and information to parents as they become a family. This looks different for each family. Sometimes I am prepping nutritious meals. Sometimes I am supporting breastfeeding. Sometimes I am teaching simple soothing techniques, baby wearing or how to cloth diaper. Some families need support after one partner goes back to work. If you think you may be interested in a postpartum doula, let's chat.