I have had a doula for both of my children’s births and would have been lost without her. With my first, I had an epidural and pitocin and an occiput-posterior baby and my second was an unmedicated birth. My doula played a vital role, no matter what type of birth I had. My husband would tell you that he LOVED having a doula because it allowed him to be close and pay attention to my needs. He didn’t have to worry about remembering everything we learned for optimal positioning or pain relief because we had the guidance of an experienced professional. It was assuring to have another woman who never left my side, speaking words of affirmation and comfort.
So, what is a doula?
DONA International defines a doula as, “a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.” They are guides through the journey of birth, not certified medical professionals. They often cost anywhere from $675-$2500 with an average of $1200, depending on their experience and certification.
What will my doula do for me?
Doulas will typically be available by text or call for the duration of your pregnancy. They will often meet with you before your birth to discuss what you envision for your birth, help you develop a birth plan, and discuss what role you see them playing during the process. They will likely be on call and ready to come to you from 38 weeks on.
During birth, doulas will use their acquired skills to help soothe you and bring you as much comfort and confidence as possible. After your birth, your doulas will provide extra assistance in establishing the breastfeeding relationship.
There are also postpartum doulas that can come and help you after returning home. They can assist you in taking care of household tasks so that your body can heal and you can spend time bonding with your baby.
How do I find a doula?
You can find a list of all DONA certified labor doulas on the DONA website. Perhaps, the easiest way to find a doula near you is to search for doula birthing classes in your area.
How do I pick a doula?
The best way to choose a doula is to attend a meet and greet or doula “speed-dating” gathering. During these meetings you can interview the doulas. Here are some questions you may consider asking:
Make sure that your doula is someone you feel comfortable around, who is warm, inviting and understanding. You want to find someone that is knowledgeable, a good communicator and excited to assist in your birth.