What is a Doula?

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What is a Birth Doula?

• Greek word meaning “Woman’s Servant”
• A woman trained and experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to a woman during labor, birth, and the immediate postpartum period.
• She performs no clinical tasks.
• She supports you in the birth you want!

Benefits of Birth Doulas…
• Shorter labor.
• Fewer complications/interventions:
– Cesarean rates reduced.
– Less use of episiotomies.
– Less need for medications to speed labor.
– Less need for forceps/vacuum extractor.
– Fewer requests for pain medications.
• Increased confidence in self and in partner/ coach.
• Higher success rate in breastfeeding.
• Increased satisfaction with birth experience.
• Mother views baby more positively.
• Continuity in care: prenatal, labor, birth and immediate postpartum.
• Lowers anxiety /stress levels.
• Less likely to have postpartum depression.
• Babies have shorter hospital stays with fewer admissions to special care nurseries.

Benefits to Coach/ Partner…
• Allows partner to be involved to their own comfort level.
• Support and help for the partner.
• Partner can take breaks.
• Increased confidence in self and laboring mother.
• Partner views birth experience and baby more positively.

Role of a Birth Doula…
• Prenatal meeting(s).
• Phone support.
• Support for entire labor: early labor, home/ hospital/ birth center, and first hours after birth.
• Postpartum visit(s).
• To help you cope with labor and any unexpected or unwanted events.

Tools a Birth Doula May Use…
• Massage/ Counterpressure/ Acupressure.
• Positioning.
• Breathing techniques.
• Relaxation techniques- focal points, imagery, sensory therapy, and more.
• Music.
• Hot/ Cold therapies.
• Birth balls.
• Shower/ Bath.
• Knowledge of options.
• And more!!!

Fees and Scheduling…
• Fees vary from $1000- $3000 flat rate.
• Usually requires a deposit/ retainer fee upon hire.
• On call usually two weeks prior and after due date.
• Usually has one or more back up doula(s).

What is a Postpartum Doula?

• A woman trained to care for new families in the first weeks after birth providing guidance with newborn care and infant feeding, household help, and emotional support.
• Professional support person trained in:
– Breastfeeding education and support.
– Typical newborn behavior and development.
– Newborn care.
– Postpartum nutrition.
– Recognizing postpartum mood disorders.
– Linking parents to community resources.

Benefits of a Postpartum Doula…
• Greater satisfaction with postpartum period.
• Quicker birth recovery.
• More likely to eat healthier and sleep more.
• More confidence in parenting and childcare.
• Less stress and anxiety.
• More positive opinion of baby.
• More affectionate to baby.
• Less incidence in postpartum mood disorders.
• Higher breastfeeding success rate.

Role of a Postpartum Doula…
• Supports the family through early transitional days and weeks.
• Assists with early breastfeeding.
• Provides information on normal newborn behavior and development.
• Provides guidance and help with newborn tasks such as diapering, bathing, cord care, dressing, feeding, burping, etc.
• Provides respite care.
• Prepares meals, runs errands, performs light housekeeping.
• Care of siblings.
• Helps parents process birth.
• Works with extended family members.

Fees and Scheduling…
• Fee ranges from $35-$70 and hour (often with a four hour minimum).
• Usually requires a deposit/ retainer fee upon hire.
• On call up to two weeks prior to due date.
• Works 3-8 hours a day.
• Works 2-7 days a week

Local Locations of Meet the Doula Events

Blossom Birth Services
299 South California Avenue, Suite 120, Palo Alto 94306
Registration required- https://www.blossombirth.org/meet-the-doulas.html

Harmony Birth Resources
621 East Campbell Avenue, Suite 14, Campbell 95008
Registration required- http://www.harmonymama.com/and-more/prenatal-yoga-teachers-training/professional-training/the-doula-spotlight/

Bay Area Birth Information
Offers a listing of local doulas who are members of BABI

To find a doulas on the national level-
DONA- International Association of Doulas www.dona.org
ALACE- Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators www.alace.org