What is a doula?

A doula is a non-medical birthing attendant. She comes when she is called and supports a woman in her pregnancy and labor.  When you are most vulnerable, a doula is there to offer assurance, assistance, and a friendly smile, as well as many comfort measures to a pregnant and laboring woman that she may not know about, or has forgotten when in the midst of labor.

Does a doula replace my husband/partner? 

NO! A doula’s job is primarily to care for the emotional and physical needs of a laboring mom, and removing a person, or taking the place of a person that would otherwise help calm and soothe her is counter productive to the process of labor.

A doula will help both mother and birth partner to achieve the birth that they hope for, while striving to make everyone in the labor room comfortable.She will get food and drinks, assist in changing positions, and reassure both mom and birth partner.

Why should I have a doula at my birth?

When I’d first heard of doulas I thought they were for the rich and spoiled, or the very lonely, certainly not for a woman like myself who would be accompanied in birth by my loving husband — surely we would be enough.  Where I was wrong was that while my husband was VERY helpful he was often worried about the process of birth and I wasn’t always able to inform him that the process was normal, partly because I didn’t know that myself.

A doula’s presence is a reassurance for Dad as well as for mom.  My husband left constantly to ‘find a nurse’ when he felt I needed to be accompanied by someone, he didn’t know what to do most of the time, how to comfort me, and what would be helpful and what would not.  He benefited greatly when the nurse came in and gave him directions that were clear and he was able to feel he was doing something.

The benefits for mom are that she has the calm presence of  a woman who knows what is happening, can reassure her that everything is normal and inform her of the medical procedures that are happening and what they are for when the nurses and doctors (because of multiple patients) don’t always give the most clear answers.

Aside from labor and delivery, when will my doula be available to me?

Different doulas offer different things, but most offer 2-3 prenatal appointments to get to know their clients and their preferences for labor, and to practice different relaxations techniques.  All doulas should be available via phone and/or e-mail to answer questions you have that maybe you don’t want to bring up to your doctor.  You must however realize that a doula is not medical, and so she will most likely give you information and ask you to talk to your doctor about it.

I checked and most doulas charge more than you, why?  And am I missing something if I choose you instead of them?

To the best of my knowledge I offer the same thing as any other doula in this area, some specialize in breastfeeding and know more than I do, and some specialize in massage, and perhaps have taken special classes to earn certification in that area, but all have a basic package that is pretty much the same.  So no you won’t miss out on anything if you choose me.

The reason my service fees are so low is because I recognize that every mama should have a doula, and finances are the number one reason that women have told me they won’t hire a doula.  I don’t want to keep anyone from having this service by putting my service price above a reasonable level.  My charge is carefully tallied to allow me to pay all of my own costs (gas, food, childcare, printer paper, printer ink, and birth supplies) and then to pay me a reasonable estimated hourly wage.  When my cost goes up, unfortunately yours will as well, but unless my personal expenses increase I will never charge more than I have to.

As an example, I was charging $500 for my services until recently when we added another child to our family, forcing me to increase the amount I paid my babysitters, which was actually already a very low amount, and needed to be increased.  So my fee is now $600-850 (depending on the options of care you choose), allowing me to pay the babysitters a more reasonable amount.

If you have any other questions you would like to have answered, please comment and I will get the answers posted as quickly as I can.

Have a Cherished Birth.

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