A doula is a person who provides emotional and physical support to a woman during labor, assisting the woman in creating and having the birth experience she wants. As a mother I learned first hand the importance of having a doula present and am privileged to now be the one supporting others as they journey through birth and into parenthood.
I believe that pregnancy and birth are one of the most memorable experiences in a woman’s life and that finding the right doula for your child’s birth is an important process. I recommend interviewing a few doulas before making your final decision and have listed below a few sample questions to ask prospective doulas.
For women who already have birth partners (fathers, mothers, co-parents, friends or relatives) my purpose is to act as a secondary support the mother, not to take the place of the birth partner during labor, by offering suggestions, assistance and relief if needed.
As a doula, I meet with the mother or couple once or twice before the birth. During these meetings we discuss the wishes and desires for the birth and create birth plans. I can also suggest prenatal exercises and relaxation strategies to ease pain during labor and answer any questions that may arise regarding labor, comfort strategies, hospital procedures and interventions.
During labor and birth I will provide emotional and physical support to aid in pain relief and relaxation. I am trained to recognize the signs of the emotional and physical stages of labor and can perform massage and comfort techniques as well as suggest position changes, movements and relaxation strategies. I will also act as an information advocate for the mother. I do not give medical advice, nor do I perform any medical procedures but I will explain procedures and help the mother elicit more information from doctors or midwives when she needs it. My job as an advocate is to help the mother get all the information necessary so that she can make the most informed and best decisions for herself and her baby.
After the birth of the baby I will meet with the family once during the next week to talk about her birth experience and answer any questions that may have arisen. This is a great time to also check in and see how the new family is doing. I have both experience and training in breastfeeding and can help with any challenges mother or baby are facing.
The following are some good questions to ask when interviewing a doula
1. What is your experience with birth, personally and as a doula?
2. What is your philosophy about childbirth and supporting women and their partners through labor?
3. What training have you had?
4. Do you work with one or more back up doulas? May we meet them?
5. What are your fee and refund policies?