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The Doula

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Frequently Asked Questions

1.   Who needs a doula and what is the advantage of having a doula?

Numerous clinical studies have shown that women who are supported by a birth doula during labor and birth are more satisfied with their birth experience, require fewer interventions during labor and delivery, and have higher rates of successful breastfeeding than women without doula support.  Some of the benefits of continuous support by a birth doula through labor include:

2. I’m planning on having an epidural.  Why would I need a doula?

Even if you plan on getting pain medication, there is a lot a doula can do. There is usually some discomfort or pain while waiting for pain medication, and a doula can help relieve this discomfort while you wait. A doula can provide massages, get food or drinks, assist with position changes, make suggestions to keep labor moving forward, discuss procedures as they occur during the birth, and even attend cesarean sections with the approval of the anesthesiologist. A doula can also take pictures and video, and help manage family and friends who may be waiting or calling during the labor.  The doula is also an asset if medication is not an option or is not working effectively.

3. What’s the difference between a midwife and a doula?

 Midwives are primary caregivers who make clinical decisions and give medical advice. They provide prenatal care, deliver the baby, and provide post-partum care of the mother and newborn. The midwife is responsible for the safety of mother and baby. Certified doulas do not provide any kind of medical care. Doulas provide emotional and physical support for the laboring woman and her family and/or post-partum care of the mother and baby. Doula care has been shown to improve outcomes for both moms and babies in many studies.

4. I’m planning on having a midwife deliver my baby.  Do I also need a doula?

Your midwife is responsible for the safety of you and your baby.  She may or may not be able to provide you with physical and emotional support during your birth.  If you are delivering your baby at a hospital, it is likely you’re your midwife won’t arrive until just before your baby is born.  Even at a homebirth you may not see your midwife until you are well into active labor.  As your doula, I provide continuous support for you and your partner throughout labor and birth.  

5. What training have you had?

I’m a Certified Doula.  The training process includes an intensive workshop, attending births and obtaining evaluations from parents, completing both breastfeeding and childbirth education classes.  I also had to complete an extensive list of reading material.  DOULA Verband Schweiz requires certified doulas to maintain their certification by attending workshops, reading birth-related educational materials and attending births on an ongoing basis.

6. What if you can’t make it my birth?

I always work with a back-up doula.  In the unlikely event that, I become ill, or other urgent matters prevent me from attending your birth my back-up would replace me at your birth.

7. When will you join me?

I will join you after your labor has begun at whatever point that you feel you are in need of assistance, whether it be your home or the hospital or birth center.  

8. How do you help women cope with labor pain?

Knowledge, preparation and confidence are the keys to coping with the intensity of labor. Most women find they need a variety of techniques to help relive labor pain and we will work together to find the combination of techniques that work best for you.

9. Do you have any references?

Yes!  In addition to the client testimonials listed on my website, I can provide you with e-mail addresses or telephone numbers for many of my previous clients.  Please contact me for more details.

10. What hospitals/birth centers are you affiliated with?

I’m an independent, self-employed doula.  I work for my clients, not a hospital or birth center.  

 11. Will having a doula replace my husband’s role at the birth or make him feel left out?

No, the role of the doula is never to take the place of the partner, but to compliment and enhance the experience.  As your doula I provide support for both you and your partner.  Childbirth is not an easy thing to approach for anyone. It is physically complex and emotionally challenging to meet needs of a laboring woman.  Women in labor need the love and companionship provided by their partners, but he or she may find themselves feeling overwhelmed with the experience. I will encourage your partner to use comfort measures and I can step in when he needs a break. Having a doula allows the partner to be able to support the laboring woman emotionally during labor and birth and also enjoy it himself without the pressure to remember everything he learned in childbirth class! A doula is not someone who will replace the dad in any way. I’ll work with your partner in helping him/her be as involved as they desire, to the extent they are comfortable.

12. What is your role at births?

My role is to help you and your partner have a safe, memorable and empowering birth experience.  How I help you accomplish this is different with every birth I attend.  Some women desire a lot of physical comfort measures such as massage and changing positions.  Other women simply want the quiet, loving presence of another woman experienced with birth to be there at her side.  As your doula I will spend several hours with you before your birth to get to you and get an idea of how I can best serve you at your birth.

13. What if I need a c-section?

Good news!  Simply having a doula present at your birth reduces your change of a cesarean section by up to 45%.  In the event that you do have a surgical birth, I can help prepare you and your partner for the surgery.  Once inside the operating room, I will keep you apprised of the progress by giving you details of whatever you wish to know. Your surgeon and assistants are busy doing the surgery. The nurses are preparing the room for the baby. Your husband is awaiting the baby and will soon go to the warmer to greet the baby. I will be at your side. I can take photos if you desire, particularly after the baby is born. I can remind the staff of any special requests you may have, like letting your husband announce the gender of the baby or a quiet room during the birth.
If your baby needs to go to the nursery, your husband/partner can go with the baby. I will stay by your side the entire procedure and act as a liaison between the staff and you for getting updates on your baby while you are separated.
One important fact to remember about the cesarean is that the baby is born in the first few minutes. The rest of the nearly hour long procedure is the repair. If your husband is busy with the baby or in the nursery, you would otherwise be alone during this period. Some of the moms I have worked with said having a doula for this period alone was awesome and prevented them from becoming frightened.