Sept 14, 2021
Should I get a Doula?
Written By: Kimberly Kearney
What's A Doula?
The word “doula” is an ancient Greek word meaning “a woman who serves.”
A doula is a non-medical birth assistant that provides support, educates, and nurtures a woman throughout the course of her pregnancy, birth, and post-partum time. There are many different types of doulas, and no matter what type of birth is on the horizon for you, there is a doula for that.
A doula’s labor practices include, physical touch, massage, breath work, pain management, holistic integration, emotional support, and more. While you labor, your doula will assist you and provide body positioning and movement techniques that will help bring your baby earthside. A doula can advocate for you when it comes to timelines, such as when to move forward with certain protocols regarding hospital procedures, drugs, induction, or any other issues that may arise. She is essentially a touchstone and a guiding force for your birth.
How do I find a Doula?
Explore your local birth centers. One phrase I remember hearing as I was seeking to become a doula was, “Go to where the midwives are,” and this is an excellent place to start. Make a visit to a birth center, search social media groups, and use local platforms to connect with doulas and birth workers around you. Doulas usually offer something called a “doula circle.” This is where pregnant mothers in search of connecting with a doula can personally meet and find a birth worker.
Your OB may or may not offer resources for external birth services. Having a doula is an ancient tradition that has been used for many years across many different cultures, however some Dr. 's won't support these services due to the fact that a doula is not medically trained.
Doulas have many different certification programs they can take to validate their work experience. This is not required to be a doula; however, some mothers may feel more comfortable working with someone who is certified. Some of the best doulas I have known have had significant birth experience, and no credentials.
Choose your doula instinctually. Your birth is an intimate experience, and you want to be with a doula who aligns with you and yours. Discuss your birth plan, ask questions, and get to know each other. It’s basically an interview for both parties and you’ll want to make sure that the vibes lineup before entering into an agreement together.
In the wake of covid-19 doula support has changed due to the amount of people that can attend a birth. I know several doula’s who have worked closely with the partner who is attending the birth to impart labor techniques and education. I also know of doula’s who have guided births via FaceTime during the pandemic. Always ask your midwife, or OB about birth attendance policies so you’ll know if your doula can attend your birth.
“Having a doula can soothe anxiety, and help navigate the unknown elements of birth.”
What if I’m having a C-section?
Cesarean doulas are available, and most are trained in C-section care in the event a birth takes that turn. They can help provide support to the family, and offer emotional support to C mothers, and assist in postpartum care. Doulas are required to familiarize themselves with many aspects of birth. This includes understanding birth from a psychological perspective and being able to offer emotional support around birth traumas.
A doula will be able to help with breast-feeding after cesarean, placenta encapsulation, holistic methods for healing from a C-section, as well as postpartum and newborn care. If you feel called to have a doula for your C-section, take the leap and connect with the support you need to feel secure during this special, sacred, and sometimes fearful time.
What will a doula cost?
Doula costs can range anywhere from $20-$100 per hour, or they can choose to charge a single service fee. This usually begins at around $600, but can go up from there depending on the practitioners’ services and experience.
A doula might be the additional reinforcement you need to add to your birth plan. Having a doula can soothe anxiety, and help navigate the unknown elements of birth, especially for new mothers. The work they do, and the service they provide brings an extra layer of comfort to your birthing experience. If having a doula is something you think would benefit you, bring on the doula!