Did you know?
The presence of a doula...
Increases your chances of a spontaneous vaginal birth and lowers your chance of cesarean section, use of forceps, and use of vacuum.
Means you are less likely to use pain medications (if that is what your wishes are).
Means you are more likely to be satisfied with your birth experience.
Can lead to a slightly shorter labor.
Means your baby is less likely to have low five minute Apgar scores.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why would I need a doula if my partner will be at the birth?
Your partner is your first line of support, your right hand. I am your left hand. Your partner and I will work seamlessly together to support you. My job is to alleviate some of the pressure that your partner may have in supporting you. Sometimes I may whisper suggestions in your partner's ear and you won't even notice I am there. It may be scary or stressful for your partner to see you in pain. I am there to reassure your partner that what he/she is seeing is a normal, physiological response to birthing a baby. Since I provide constant support, your partner can take breaks to nap, eat, or go to the bathroom without having to worry if you will be supported. Penny Simpkin explains so well how the doula and partner work together in this article.
What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?
A midwife is a wonderful choice for a care provider. Midwives go to school to become licensed medical professionals. They specialize in normal, low risk pregnancies and unmedicated, low intervention births. Midwives can do everything an Obstetrician Gynecologist can do except perform surgery. A midwife will take care of all of your prenatal care including running tests, advising you on the health of you and your baby during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, prescribing supplements and medications if needed, performing physical exams when necessary, monitoring you and your baby during labor and delivery, consulting with an obstetrician if complications arise that are outside of their scope of practice. They will do their best to help you have a comfortable birth and to follow your birth wishes but they are not always present in the room. A midwife will catch your baby.
Doulas are not medical professionals. We provide emotional, physical, and educational support during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. A doula attends an intensive workshop and usually goes on to become certified. She will establish a relationship with you during your pregnancy, answer questions, reassure and encourage you, and calm any fears. Doulas can help you decide what your birth wishes will be, give you resources, and help you to feel confident communicating your needs to your care provider. During labor, we stay with you continuously to help you and your partner to relax, use different techniques to help you cope with labor, and make suggestions of different labor and birth positions depending on progress. A doula provides postpartum emotional support and support with breastfeeding. Doulas will direct you to your care provider for medical questions and concerns.
What does a doula NOT do?
A doula does NOT...
- Perform vaginal exams, fetal heart monitoring, or any clinical task.
- Leave a laboring mother unattended (unless agreed upon by all).
- Diagnose conditions.
- Take over the role of the partner.
- Catch the baby (unless she is the only birth expert available).
- Leave at the end of a shift.