Michelle: What does a doula do?
Debbie: A doula will provide a nonjudgmental form of support; support that is loving, caring, emotional, and educational. The doula will provide support during pregnancy through the postpartum period, and be available to answer questions your provider may not be able to answer simply due to not being able to spend enough time with you. She will listen to your concerns and help you find your own unique way of approaching "your" birth experience. During labor a doula can also provide physical comfort measures, assist mom with changing positions, give emotional support to the mother and father, as well as be an advocate for them.
Michelle: What is a doula not allowed to do?
Debbie: A doula does not provide medical care or advice, nor can she diagnose or treat any medical concern.
Michelle: Why should one hire a doula?
Debbie: There are many different reasons why you should hire a doula. Most of all, it's for the support aspect. It's someone who can support what you want and help you explore your ideal birth experience; someone who can be there to give you information and answer your questions. They will not force their ideals on you, but empower you to be confident in your choices. A doula can help you find the answers that you are looking for and get you the resources you need. The best part is they can be with you continuously throughout labor.
Michelle: Can a doula help you carry out your birthing plan?
Debbie: Yes, they can. A doula will not speak for you, but she will empower you to speak for yourself. Sometimes we are intimidated by doctors, and we think that they are all-knowing and have all the answers, and there are reasons for why they recommend certain things, but sometimes that is due to the nature of their business. But, that is not always the best option for you. It is best for you to have all the information so you can make decisions and consider what the best option for you is.
Michelle: What does the cost of a doula include?
Debbie: The cost of a doula can vary greatly, but it normally ranges from $1,800 to $2,500 and up. Most doulas will include an initial interview, two prenatal visits and I will also offer to go with mom to the doctor if the family would like. I will labor with a mother at her home and stay with her throughout labor, as well as stay a few hours postpartum, which will include leaving for about an hour to give the mom and baby some bonding time. It also includes two postpartum follow-up visits, one right after the birth and the second about a week or two after the birth. Then, I offer email, phone and even texting support if they have any questions or need resources. I will also offer additional visits if they need more support.
Michelle: What do you cover in postpartum visits?
Debbie: We may cover what happened during pregnancy, labor, or birth, and I can answer any questions that they have. I will also answer any questions that they have about recovery, their baby, or adjusting to life once they are home. In general, I am still providing various types of support, giving encouragement, and helping people build confidence in their new roles as parents.
Michelle: How can a doula help the father or partner?
Debbie: The father or partner may feel like it is not necessary to hire a doula, if they are going to be there to provide support. As a doula, you are there to support both parents. There have been a lot of changes ever since fathers/partners have started coming into the delivery room. I do not think they should have the pressure to be mom's labor coach. They should be there to support mom and give her love. I think that when you support both parents and take the pressure off the father or partner, they feel relieved that all they have to do is hold her hand and tell her they love her. The father/partner does not need to remember everything that was learned in childbirth class. All you have to do is be there. Keep reading...