What is a doula?
A trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.
How can a doula help me?
Physical Support-Position ideas for comfort and labor progression cross over with hands-on comfort measures like comforting touch, counter pressure, breathing techniques and other “doula magic” for families. A doula’s skilled hands and positioning tools can often help a malpositioned baby find its way through the pelvis and into the birthing parent’s arms.
Emotional Support-Doulas help families to feel supported, easing the emotional experience of birth and also helping to create a space where the hormones of labor can work at their best. Whether a birth is completely unmedicated or medically very complex, every family can benefit from nurturing and connection at this tender, incredible time in their lives.
Partner Support-Whether it’s a romantic partner, a friend or another family member like the baby’s grandma, the birth partner’s experience matters in birth. Our doulas are there to support every birth partner in being as involved as they’d like with the birth. Physical and emotional support make a huge difference for everyone involved.
Evidenced-Based Information and Advocacy-DONA International doulas are trained to help families connect with evidence-based resources so they can ask great questions and make informed decisions about their births. Our doulas serve as a bridge of communication between women and their providers, lifting them up to help them find their voices and advocate for the very best care. www.dona.org
How much does a doula cost?
Anywhere from $300-$2000. A doulas fees are based on four factors; certification, experience level, location, and training.
What are the benefits of having a doula?
Research shows that women who use a birth doula are:
Should I try nitrous oxcide?
If you have the opportunity to try it I recommend giving it a shot. The side effects are very minimal and it is easy to use or discontinue use. Sometimes nitrous can get you over the transition hump and help avoid having an epidural.
Can I drink alcohol while breastfeeding?
Yes! An occasional beer or glass of wine is acceptable while breastfeeding. Moderate to heavy drinking would put a baby at risk. But occasional exposure to alcohol through the milk has not been found to be harmful. You may also allow time for the alcohol to clear from your system. For example, the alcohol from one glass of beer or wine is out of the milk of a 120 pound woman within two to three hours (Shulte 1995). You don't need to express milk for it clear of alcohol. As your blood alcohol level decreases so will the level in your milk. (Breastfeeding made simple by Nancy Mohrbacher and Kathleen Kendall)
Can I drink coffee while breastfeeding?
Yes! One or two cups of caffeinated drinks per day will not cause a problem for most breastfeeding mothers and babies.
Why are fear and anxiety bad for labor progression?
Stress hormones are secreted when a person is frightened, angry, or is in real or percieved danger. These hormones called Catecholamines tend to counteract the effects of oxytocin and endorphins, causing contractions to space out or be ineffective. Also, the fetal heart rate may slow, and/or the woman may become tense, alert, fearful, and protective of her unborn child.
Should I have a Doula present for my planned cesarean?
Yes! Having a doula present for your surgery helps ease anxiety and normalizes the feeling of the birth. Your doula is still advocating for your birth options available for cesarean section like skin to skin and breastfeeding in the OR. Also babies are frequently taken to the warmer for evaluation following birth and your Doula can stay with you while your partner goes to be with the baby. Establishing breastfeeding within an hour is very important so your Doula will advocate for you to be able to either feed your baby or pump your breasts. This isn't your nurses top priority as she is busy with managing your recovery medically. (As of right now most hospitals are only allowing one support person into the OR, hopefully this changes soon.)
What childbirth and breastfeeding books should I read?
My favorites are; Ina May's guide to Breastfeeding/Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin, Pregnancy, childbirth and the newborn by Simpkin, Whalley, Keppler, Durham and Bolding, and Breastfeeding made simple by Nancy Mohrbacher.
What movies should I watch?
There are a few helpful films I recommend. Penny Simpkins Comfort Measures in Labor is a wonderful guide for learning labor support and comfort measures. Why Not Home is also very interesting if you are considering a home birth www.whynothome.com. Also, Birth Day by Naoli Lopez features her beautiful, natural, home birth.