What is a Birth Doula?

Doula is a Greek word meaning “helper.” A Birth Doula is a woman trained to provide physical and emotional support and comfort to a laboring woman and her partner. It is my goal to provide information and resources leading up to childbirth so that you, the pregnant woman, and your partner can make well-informed decisions about the way in which you would like the birth of your baby to happen.

My training includes an extensive reading list, childbirth education classes, breastfeeding classes, and training workshops. Through all of this, I have learned what the normal progression of labor is and how to determine what stage of labor a woman is in. I know how to help you cope with contractions and pain through various natural techniques, including massage, visualization, essential oils, water, and position changes. And I know how to support you through the early postpartum period, including giving you basic breastfeeding support and information.

Who Needs a Birth Doula?

All pregnant women can benefit from the services of a Birth Doula. Medical studies have shown that women with supportive labor companions have better outcomes, shorter labors and need less pain medication than women who labor alone. Even if you have a labor coach, having a doula can be very beneficial. Your partner/labor coach may not have any experience with childbirth. A Birth Doula can help your partner be an effective and compassionate labor coach. We are not there to replace your partner. Instead, we are there to help the couple work together as a team. Having a Birth Doula gives you the opportunity to labor at home for longer than you would if you don’t have a doula, which can help contribute to fewer interventions because your labor will be better established before you even enter the hospital.

If you are choosing to have an epidural, a doula is still beneficial. Your need for comfort measures at the end of labor will be lessened with the epidural, but most doctors wait until labor is well-established before they will administer any medication. In this case, we are most effective at helping with the discomfort of early labor. Also, many women find that they need constant emotional support throughout labor, even with an epidural on board. If your partner is your sole continuous physical and emotional support, they could become drained and exhausted. Having a doula present allows your partner/labor coach some time to recharge so that they can be fully attentive to your needs.

If you are having a cesarean section, whether elective or emergency, a doula can give you information about the medications used and how they are administered, as well as information about recovery. And we can relay any information about the surgical procedure that you or your partner may not remember.

Won’t my Doctor and Nurse Support Me in Labor?

Yes, absolutely. My job is not to replace expert medical care. A doula’s first concern is your comfort and reassurance. Doctors and nurses have many responsibilities and many patients. Nurses change shifts meaning you may have more than one nurse during your labor and delivery. Your doula is an already-established relationship providing constant support during your labor.

I give you resources and information about labor and delivery, including what procedures may take place, what medications may be used, and how all of these things may affect you or your baby. This is strictly for you so that you can make the most informed decisions possible for you, your birth, and your baby.

Most hospitals will allow you to have two support people present at your birth, one being your partner and the other a person of your choice, including a Birth Doula. It is always a good idea to check with your doctor as most like to know ahead of time who to expect to see in labor and delivery. Also, check with your hospital’s policies. Recently, there has been some concern that certain obstetrical practices and area hospitals have been banning doulas from Labor and Delivery wards. Certainly it is your choice to have a Doula and there should not be anyone telling you that you can not have one present at your birth, but you should be aware that these policies are being put into place and you can decide if this is a conducive environment for you to birth. Once you have hired a Doula, write them into your birth plan and give a copy of it to your doctor.

Fees:

The Birth Doula fee is $1,000.00 per birth, with $300.00 due when you sign the contract (usually at your history appointment) and the remainder due by 37 weeks. However, I believe that every woman has the right to good labor support, so if this fee seems out of your budget, please let me know because we can always discuss a payment plan. Please keep in mind that if you figure out the fee over the average number of hours spent with each client from the first meeting through the postpartum visit, plus cost of business expenses (parking fees, gas, birth supplies, childcare, self-employment taxes, etc.), I only take home about $200.00 to $300.00 from each birth.

The mileage charge is $5.00 per mile and is separate from the Birth Doula fee. Mileage is calculated one-way from my office to your home. Travel to households or hospitals outside of Franklin County are subject to an additional mileage charge.

Please visit my Contact Me page to schedule a free first consultation.