WHEN SHOULD I HIRE A DOULA?
Anytime during your pregnancy is a good time, but often booking earlier means a doula is more likely to have an opening. I have had clients book me for their birth anywhere between 10 weeks and 37 weeks into their pregnancies. Booking earlier also gives you a chance to spread out payments into smaller chunks if that is a concern.
DO I NEED TO WRITE A BIRTH PLAN IF I HIRE A DOULA?
Your birth is YOUR birth, so you don’t need to do anything you don’t want to do, including write a birth plan. I always suggest we talk about the many possibilities in birth and postpartum so you can make informed decisions and we know your preferences. However, you don’t need to write a typed document with this information. It does help to know your feelings about birth ahead of time so we can all help you have a positive experience.
DO I NEED TO HAVE A HOMEBIRTH OR WATERBIRTH IF I HAVE A DOULA? CAN I GO TO THE HOSPITAL AND HAVE AN EPIDURAL IF I WANT?
Your doula will go where you go! You can choose to have your baby in whatever place makes you feel most comfortable whether that’s in your home or in a hospital. Doulas can support you either way and a homebirth doesn’t need to be a water birth! Doulas support your choices which may include pain medication or anything else you would like.
CAN I USE A DOULA'S SUPPORT WITHOUT HAVING THEM AT MY BIRTH?
Absolutely! I offer both a Prenatal Doula and Postpartum Doula option which means I would be a resource to you throughout pregnancy or after the baby is born (or both!).
Prenatal Doula support would include mini childbirth prep classes, email/text/phone support to help you find information and answer your questions or even accompanying you to appointments if you need assistance. It can include helping you decide what type of birth you want and how to prepare you for life with a new baby.
Postpartum doula support would include helping around your home after your baby arrives. It might include meal prep, light housework, holding the baby while you sleep/shower/eat. It also includes just chatting about your birth and how you’re feeling in the postpartum days. A Postpartum Doula is like a friend who also knows a lot about babies, birth and breastfeeding.
DO I NEED TO USE MIDWIFERY CARE IF I HAVE A DOULA?
No, you can choose whichever type of care provider you feel most comfortable with and is available to you - whether it's Midwife or Obstetrician/Gynaecologist.
WHEN DOES A BIRTH DOULA SHOW UP TO A BIRTH?
When they can best support you! A Doula will want to be kept informed on any changes at the end of your pregnancy so they have some idea when labour is getting close. You should let your doula know when labour starts, and they will likely show up when you begin active labour. However, if you want them there earlier they will come! I have arrived at births during early labour, if parents really want me there. Sometimes, you just need the support! Doulas will stay with you until a couple hours after your baby is born to make sure you are comfortable.
WHAT DOES A BIRTH DOULA DO AT A BIRTH?
So many things. To name some:
Physical comfort measures (massage, counter pressure, hand holding, cold/hot packs, suggests movement and positional changes, instruct partner on these measures)
Emotional support, encouragement and reassurance to parents
Helps explain what the birther is experiencing and provides info/resources
Helps advocate for parents' wishes/needs
Constant presence and support to the parents
Provides relief for the partner if they need to rest
Knows when to sit back, hold space and allow things to unfold if all is well.
Helps get breastfeeding started
Helps tidy up the birth space
Can take photos or videos
Can jots down memorable notes from the birth including the timeline
HIRING A DOULA SEEMS LIKE A BIG EXPENSE TO ME. HOW CAN I MANAGE THIS?
Here are a few ways you can afford to hire a doula:
Hire a doula early and spread out payment into smaller chunks. I am happy to offer payment plans!
Add doula services (or gift certificates for doula services) to your baby registry.
Do your research on all the fancy baby gear before you buy (or look for second hand). Many items are overpriced (for the amount of times you use them) and unnecessary. Sometimes this money could be better spent supporting you during or after your birth.
Suggest a services swap. Do you provide a service that you could swap for birth support? You never know!
More questions? Send me an email, I’m happy to answer them!