What is a doula?
I'm so glad you asked! Doula's have been serving the families of this world for thousands of centuries, and they play a vital role in the development of communities and families. The word doula actually originated in Ancient Greece and is translated as "woman who serves". The word was specifically used to describe the women who supported other women through labor and birth. Fast forward to 2017, and the word doula is used to describe a trained professional who provides emotional, physical, educational, and spiritual support to the birthing woman during the childbearing year. Yep, that's me! A doula is present to hold space, gently guide, and encourage the birthing woman to step into power, and to tap into the ancient wisdom within her, while the little one embarks on their journey earth side.
a doula does
- Recognize childbirth as a key life experience that the woman will remember all her life.
- Understand and trust the process of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor.
- Offer her mind, her heart, and her hands, for the wellbeing of the whole woman.
- Help alleviate fear around birth which will allow for gentler, smoother, more connected and relaxed birth.
- Offer a variety of resources and evidence-based research to help educate women (+ partner) with the information they need to make informed decisions.
- Offer continuous physical comfort and emotional encouragement throughout the birth experience.
- Acts as a liaison between the birthing woman and the medical staff to facilitate clear communication.
- Provide an objective viewpoint should issues arise and aid the birthing woman (+ partner) in making informed decisions that are consistent with their values.
- Always support the informed choices of the birthing woman.
- Inspire confidence in a woman's ability to give birth in her own best way, so that she feels more connected and at peace with her birth choices.
- Perceive her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of her birth experience.
- Is knowledgeable, supportive, compassionate, and open; and seeks to ensure that the birth is a positive life affirming experience for all those involved.
a doula does not
- Perform clinical tasks, such as fetal heart tone checks or vaginal exams.
- Give medical advice or diagnose conditions
- Make decisions for the birthing woman. She will help get the information necessary for the birthing woman to make an informed decision.
- Speak to the medical staff instead of the laboring woman regarding matters where decisions are being made. She will discuss your concerns with you and the staff and suggest options, but you or your partner will speak on your behalf to the medical staff.
- Pressure the birthing woman into certain choices just because that’s what they prefer
- Replace the partner during labor. She supports and encourages the partner, and enhances their support style rather than replaces it.
- Leave the birthing woman during labor and birth, unless asked.
What are the benefits of having a doula?
According to an updated Cochrane Database Systematic Review (2017), the largest systematic review of continuous labor support, “continuous support during labor has clinically meaningful benefits for women and infants and no known harm.” The review summarizes the experiences of 15,858 women who participated in 26 randomized controlled trials (a rigorous type of study). The study found that in comparison with women receiving no continuous labor support, women with doula role support were an impressive:
- 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin
- 35% decrease in the risk of Cesarean
- 15% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
- 9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
- 14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
- 35% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience
More evidence on benefits of having a doula.
How does payment with Eden house work?
At our consultation, we will discuss prices in detail, especially if you are choosing to build your own doula. I can take cash, check, or card. There is a 50% non refundable deposit due when the contract is signed. This deposit means that I will book your estimated due date in my calendar and will consider myself your doula. From there, I offer payment plans for the remaining balance. The remaining balance is to be paid no later than 36 weeks. If you pay after 36 weeks, there is a $100 late fee. Fees listed on this site are what you can expect to pay. However, I do offer and award scholarships, based on household income, at my discretion. This would be discussed at our consultation. My heart is that every woman should have access to true nourishment and support throughout pregnancy, labor+birth, and motherhood.
Will a doula replace my partner?
Absolutely not! A doula knows birth. And your partner knows you. These two things will seamlessly blend together, to create the best experience possible for you. As your doula, I will be as hands-on or hands-off as you and your partner would like. I will encourage and empower your partner in supporting you by teaching him techniques I would use, or, if your partner is the type who would like to be more on the sidelines, then I'll be right in the thick of it, giving you what you need! I'm there to guide both of you through the process, while respecting the intimacy of your experience together. In my experience, partners perform best in the roll of loving partners rather than doula. With the pressure off of the partner to be an amazing doula, partners tend to be more present and are therefore most helpful to you.
But aren't doulas just for women who want to birth "all natural"?
Nope. Knowing what you want for your birth is the first step to being empowered in your choices. A doula can assist you in discovering what type of birth you desire. Some expectant women prefer no pain medications, others want to begin with no medications, but reserve the right to change that decision. Others choose a planned medicated birth or a planned C-Section. I can appreciate and find space for your birth preferences without personal bias. My birth services offer evidence-based information on all procedures, including pain medications and potential side effects, and interventions. I will discuss all of the birthing options with you and your partner and help facilitate a dialogue between you, your partner, and birthing staff. My main goal is to advise, support, and champion your decisions.