Doula | Frequently Asked Questions
What (and Who) is a doula?
A doula is an experienced guide, knowledgable in childbirth and familiar with local hospital and birth center policies. She enables parents to make fully informed decisions that are right for their family. A doula is trained to offer continuous physical, emotional and informational support to women & their partners throughout labor and birth.
What is the benefit of hiring a doula?
While there are many emotional benefits to having a doula during your labor & birth, research has shown that births WITH a doula have fewer interventions, increased maternal satisfaction, and improved breastfeeding rates. Doulas also attribute to:
25% shorter labor durations
26-45% reduced cesarean rates
41% reduced instrumental rate
30% decreased need for pain medication
If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.” ~ John H. Kennell, MD
Do I still need a doula if I’m using a midwife? What’s the difference?
While at first glance they may seem similar, since both midwives & doulas tend to be chosen by women who want to go drug-free during their labor and delivery, the 2 roles are actually quite different!
Midwives are licensed health care providers (similar to OBs) that you’d see for prenatal care and visits. They can administer pain medications, order epidurals, deliver vaginal babies, and repair tears.
Doulas provide emotional & physical support. They don’t replace your healthcare provider, but instead add extra services like breathing techniques, position changes, and non-pharmacological pain management.
While a midwife will usually visit a laboring mother more frequently than a traditional doctor, if delivering in a birth center or hospital it can be quite common for a midwife to be attending multiple midwife clients at once. A doula will always provide 1:1 continuous support and stay in the room with you through shift changes and labor progression.
What does a birth doula “do” during labor?
While each labor is unique, a doula attends to both the laboring mother & her partner throughout labor. She provides emotional support, massage, and non-medicated pain management techniques to keep the birthing mother comfortable, calm and focused. Overall, a doula strives to create & hold the sacred space for the birth of your new baby.
Does a doula take the place of my partner?
Absolutely not. Nothing can replace the love, trust & encouragement a partner has for the birthing mother. Our hope is that our presence will enhance everyone’s experience & if anything, guide you both closer together. A doula will ensure you both understand what is happening, advise on effective ways to help during labor, and allow your partner to experience the birth and participate to their own comfort level.
What if I plan to have an epidural? What if I need an unplanned cesarean?
I like to tell my clients that there are no awards given for unmedicated births. You are bringing LIFE into the world and however your unique story unfolds, you will do it beautifully!
If you have an epidural you will still experience sensations, laboring, and pushing. My job is to support you in your decision making and birth process. There is still plenty we can do from epidural to delivery!
Sometimes birth just doesn’t go as expected. If you find yourself needing a C-section (planned or unplanned), I will still be present and supportive until your baby is earth-side. Luckily, many operating rooms allow up to 2 people, so both your partner & your doula (me) can be with you!
What if I’m not available when you (birthing mama) go into labor?
At our initial consultation, we will discuss the dates of your birth window and any potential activities that may conflict. As a rule, I will avoid or reschedule anything that falls within your on-call period.
However, sometimes life happens… should we find ourselves in rare circumstances that delay or prevent my attendance, I have an amazing team of backup doulas who will serve in my place.
When should I hire a doula?
As soon as you know you want or need one!
I accept all of my clients on a first-come, first-serve basis & in order to serve my clients with the best care and attention, I only take a limited number of births in a month. Some expectant mothers call me as soon as they see 2 pink lines, while others wait until a little later into their pregnancy!