Frequently Asked Questions
Are doulas only for people who want unmedicated births?
Nope! Everyone deserves doula support. If you plan to birth with an epidural, as your doula I will help you by preparing you prenatally on how the epidural placement will take place and the best time in labor to get one. I will help you get into optimal positions using my "peanut ball" and I will make sure you change positions every 30 mins so that your baby can get into the proper position. I will help keep you hydrated, help set the room up so you can rest and when it comes time to push, I will help you get into good pushing positions for epidural births. I will be in your corner making sure that you have the support to birth in the way you want to.
What are your interactions with medical staff like?
In the labor and delivery room, I interact in a very friendly way with nurses, doctors, midwives and other people. However, I work for YOU and not your provider so if you need me to speak up on your behalf, I am always more than willing.
Do you perform any physical examinations?
No, doulas do not perform any physical examinations. We provide hands on comfort such as massages, acupressure and more. We may help you with nursing, babywearing and simple newborn care but we do not perform examinations.
What will we do at our prenatal visits?
At our prenatal visits, we will go over all of your birthing options and formulate a birth plan. I will also teach you about the phases of labor and how to cope with each phase. You'll learn how to recognize the start of labor and when to head to the hospital if that's where you're birthing. I will teach you and your partner how to do hands on pain relief like acupressure and more. We will also formulate a Postpartum plan for physical healing with nutrition, rest, mental health, relationship support and more. We will also go over some basic newborn care like feeding, sleep and more.
What happens when my labor starts?
You will call me and let me know when you feel your labor starting. I will give you support over the phone until you are ready for me to join you. I will come to your home and help you to cope until it's time to go to the hospital together. If you are having a scheduled induction, I will join you when pitocin is administered or a pattern of labor has begun and you're ready for help coping.
How will hiring you affect my partner’s role during the birth?
I love training partners in hands on comfort measures during labor and birth. In the birthing space, I often remind partners to drink, eat and rest. I help to ease any worries they may be having and reassure them about the care that their partner is getting. I also love teaching partners how best to support their partner in the postpartum space. Partners need support too, and I will connect your partner with tools to support their journey into parenthood as needed.
What advice do you have for people pursuing doula work?
1. Pick a doula training organization carefully. D.O.N.A. isn't the only (or best) place to train. Make sure you seek out a training that represents all identities and lived experiences. I wouldn't train with an organization that makes claims like "doulas aren't advocates." Also, form relationships with your fellow students and lean on one another.
2. If you have to attend a certain number of births to be certified, I recommend using your existing circle of friends and family to find your certifying clients. Advertise on your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc that you are a student doula and looking for families. We ALL know people who know people who are pregnant and would like the support of a doula-even one in training. What you choose to charge for those first births is up to you.
3. People need to be able to find you on the internet. Make sure you have a social media presence that is consistent, friendly and informative. You can make a cheap and easy website with Wixx, business cards from Vistaprint, a free email address from Gmail, make a profile on DoulaMatch.com, join your local doula FaceBook group and pregnancy FaceBook groups, etc.. I know FaceBook is gross but it's where a lot of important doula networking and knowledge sharing happens.
4. Reach out to the birth community where you are. Ask the local childbirth educators, prenatal yoga teachers, etc.. if they would consider referring pregnant people to you. Find out if there is a doula collective in your area and apply! Just google “doula collective” or “doula referrals” in your area and then reach out and ask to join.
5. I hope this was helpful!