Giving birth to a baby is so much more than a physical phenomenon; it engages parents-to-be in a transformational experience, a key life event full of emotion and meaning. A doula who accompanies a woman in labor mothers the mother, taking care of her emotional needs throughout childbirth. A doula also provides support and suggestions for partners that can enhance their experiences of birth. A postpartum doula continues that valuable emotional support and guidance, helping a family make a smooth transition into new family dynamics.
Doulas are educated and knowledgeable about childbirth and the postpartum experience. They are advocates and a listening ear for birthing mothers, as well as facilitators to her partner. When a family goes home with a new baby, a postpartum doula supports every member and the family unit as a whole.
Doulas are educated to work within evidence-based standards of practice. The skills that they develop are medically proven to make a true difference in the experience of birth. A doula's presence at birth improves outcomes for mother and baby. In the postpartum period, a doula's guidance can empower and encourage new parents, inspiring self-confidence in parenting.
HOW TO FIND A DOULA
American Pregnancy.com Doulas
Also do a google search for "doula and your state or city"
When you are interviewing a doula choose the one you click with. While how long she has been a doula and how many births she has attended is some what important, its far more important you feel you can connect with her.
Doulas cost an average of $500-1,000. More for metropolitan areas. If cost is a concern contact local doulas and ask if they can recommend a doula in training or a new doula. You can also contact doula training organizations too to see if they have someone in your community that is in training. Doulas in training *MAY* be free or may charge a nominal fee something like $200.
Questions to Ask a DoulaThe following questions will help you decide if a particular doula is right for you.
For any doula:
What training have you had? (If a doula is certified, you might consider checking with the organization.)
Do you have one or more backup doulas for times when you are not available?
May we meet her/them?
What is your fee, what does it include, and what are your refund policies?
When interviewing a birth doula:
Tell me/us about your philosophy about childbirth and supporting women and their partners through labor.
May we meet to discuss our birth plans and the role you will play in supporting me/us through childbirth?
May we call you with questions or concerns before and after the birth?
When do you try to join women in labor?
Do you come to our home or meet us at the place of birth?
Do you meet with me/us after the birth to review the labor and answer questions?
When interviewing a postpartum doula:
Tell me about your experience as a postpartum doula.
What is your philosophy about parenting and supporting women and their families during postpartum?
May we meet to discuss our needs and the role you will play?
What different types of services do you offer?
When do your services begin postpartum?
What is your experience in breast-feeding support?
Do you have current CPR certification?
You should interview more than one doula to find the right one for you.
Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth:
Tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
Reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
Reduces the need for pitocin, forceps or vaccum extraction and cesareans
Reduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals
Research shows parents who receive support can: Feel more secure and cared for
Are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
Have greater success with breastfeeding
Have greater self-confidence
Have less postpartum depression
Have lower incidence of abuse
Doula Statistics:50% reduction in the cesarean rate
25% shorter labor
60% reduction in epidural requests
40% reduction in oxytocin use
30% reduction in analgesia use
40% reduction in forceps delivery
•Recognizes birth as a key life experience that the mother will remember all her life
•Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
•Assists the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plans for the birth
•Stays by the side of the laboring woman throughout the entire labor
•Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint and assistance to the woman in getting the information she needs to make good decisions
•Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and clinical care providers
•Perceives her role as one who nurtures and protects the woman's memory of her birth experience
Source: Mothering the Mother, Klaus 1993
More articles about doulas:
Dads and Doulas: Working Together
The Value of Labor Support
A Doula Makes the Difference!