What is a birth doula?

A doula is a childbirth expert trained to provide information, emotional and physical support to women before, during and after birth. A birth doula is there to continuously tend to the needs of the mother.

Is a doula like a midwife?

A midwife is a medical provider and a doula is not. Midwives/doctors, and nurses are medical professionals that are there to monitor the health of mother and baby. Doulas help by facilitating communication between you and the care providers.

Will I still need a birth doula if the nurses tend to my needs?

Yes, nurses will tend to you, but a lot of the time they have other mothers in labor to care for and an immense amount of paperwork to do in-between. Sadly, these other duties mean that they cannot provide you with constant support and are usually very happy to have doulas present to help fill in the gap. Shift changes also means that you will have new nurses depending of the length of your stay, with a doula, you will have someone you know and trust throughout your entire hospital stay.

Will my birth doula take the place of my partner?
No, your doula is there to facilitate the involvement of your partner in the birth process. We make sure your partner is as involved as they and you are comfortable with. Your partner and your doula both work as a team to care for you emotionally and physically. Your doula will also tend to your partner to help them be rested, hydrated, fed and to give them the peace of mind that they can leave the room to get something or update family members and know you are in great hands.

I am having a home birth; do I still need a birth doula?

A doula can guide and support you during birth in any setting. Birth is a process and the experience is life changing. Your doula is another set of experienced hands that can be there with you when the midwife might need to take notes or rest till it is time to push. A doula knows the process and is able to help anywhere she is needed from helping with siblings to food making, hydrating, water warming, pain relieving, encouragement, support, massage and doing it all with a constant calm presence.

What if I am having a C-section; planned or unplanned?
Mothers who have cesareans are often times more in need of a doula. A cesarean is major surgery and our doulas are trained in knowing the ins and outs of a normal and easier recovery. Having a cesarean birth does not mean you do not need extra physical and emotional support and your doula is there to provide that. Before surgery your doula can answer any questions and stay with you and your partner through the preparation process. She can braid your hair to get it picture ready for when you get to kiss and/or hold your baby for the very first time. In the case that your doula isn’t allowed in the operating room, she can wait outside and stay with family to help guide them through something that could be emotionally complex for them and be ready to help you with anything you need as soon as you get out of surgery. Doulas have knowledgeable information about breastfeeding after a cesarean. Immediately after your surgery your doula can be there to help if the hospital staffed lactation consultant or nurses may be otherwise occupied. Your doula can help by giving you the tools to fully take advantage of the bonding time after birth with or without a cesarean.

I am getting the epidural, do I still need a birth doula? What if I am still undecided?

The need for constant encouragement and support during labor does not stop with an epidural or any other form of pain relief. Even if you will be confined to bed under pain relief for safety, there are different positions to use that can encourage labor to continue progressing. If you planned for an unmedicated birth but change your mind at any time, we support you without judgement. We trust you completely to make informed decisions about your care.

Is it really worth it to spend money on a birth doula?

We understand there are many costs associated with having a new baby and we encourage our families to think of your doula as an investment. Doulas are shown to reduce the length and pain of labor, the amount of medical intervention, medical costs, the incidence of postpartum depression, and to increase success with breastfeeding and self-confidence in parenting. The studies show doulas help in:

  • 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin*
  • 28% decrease in the risk of C-section*
  • 12% 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
  • 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience*

For four of these outcomes, * results with a doula were better than all the other types of continuous support that were studied (nurses, midwives, doctors, spouses or family members). For the other outcomes, there was no difference between types of continuous support.

Working on your baby registry for your baby shower? Go to babyli.st or contact us directly for Gift Certificates to add a Birth Plus Doula to your baby registry list. We offer custom amounts and all of your family members can pitch in to gift you the services of a birth doula.

Ask us about our FREE baby shower invite inserts!
What does a postpartum doula do while she is with our family?

A postpartum doula’s role is unique to every family. Her role is to nurture you as you make the transition into life with your new baby. This could include help with breastfeeding, information about baby care, and resources to help heal your own body postpartum. Your doula will come in with a keen sense of what new families typically need, and then work with you to decide how she can best support you through the transition into parenthood.

Who needs a postpartum doula?

Traditionally, a new mother would be surrounded by an entire village of support people who could nurture her in the tender weeks and months postpartum. Often new parents are sent alone to their homes, without meaningful support and guidance. Postpartum doulas can be especially helpful for families whose relatives live far away. We work with brand new parents, and those who are adding a sibling to the family. Anyone who wants to get parenting off to a smooth, balanced start can benefit from postpartum doula care.

How long will she stay, and for how many days or weeks?

Birth Plus Postpartum Doulas have a minimum commitment of 3 hours of postpartum care shift. Beyond that, the time we spend with a family varies greatly, depending on their circumstances and needs. It’s most common for a postpartum doula to spend several days a week in the new family’s home. You might work with your postpartum doula for a few weeks or a few months.

Do you do overnights?

Yes, under the right circumstances, we are happy to help new parents through those overnight hours.

How is a postpartum doula different from a nanny or a baby nurse?

Baby nurses bring medical expertise to childcare, while a doula is a non-medical professional who is trained to support new families. Nannies/babysitters take over childcare responsibilities from the parents, while your doula is there to work with you and encourage you to help build confidence as a parent.

I have help from my husband/partner/family/friends; do I really need a postpartum doula?

Awesome! All of those people offer wonderful support in the postpartum transition! Postpartum doulas are great listeners, and they can support you in forming your own parenting philosophies, based on solid evidence. Your doula is an objective source of information and support who can help both you and your partner adjust to life with this new little addition to the family. Postpartum doulas are knowledgeable in knowing exactly what a new family needs and many family members and friends find that with a postpartum doula’s help, they are actually more involved in caring for mom and baby because they learn exactly how to be most supportive.

Do Birth Plus Postpartum Doulas push a particular parenting approach?

No, we believe in you fully as a parent and trust you to make the very personal decisions involved in raising your baby. Your doula will work to build your skill and comfort as a new parent in whatever style you choose, until you are so at ease that you no longer need her support.

How can she help my husband, partner or children?

It can be overwhelming to care for a new mom and baby, and postpartum doulas can help share that nurturing role. For dads and partners, the doula can help them know how to help, and reassure them about what is normal for babies and postpartum mothers. Siblings have a big adjustment too, and doulas can ease that transition by giving attention, talking about their new role, and helping the parents with juggling older siblings and the needs of a newborn.

Do doulas help mothers cope with postpartum depression?

As postpartum doulas, we are not therapists or medical providers and cannot treat any mood disorders. However, we can help new families recognize the symptoms of imbalance, and connect them with resources for help.

When’s the best time to hire a postpartum doula?

Anytime prenatally is a great time to hire a postpartum doula. It allows you some time to get to know us and for Birth Plus to pencil in your baby’s arrival. We’re also happy to help last-minute, so don’t hesitate to call, email or text us!