frequently asked questions
What do birth doulas offer?
As a DONA trained birth doula, we will provide:
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.
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.
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.
Evidence-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.
What do postpartum doulas offer?
The postpartum doula has 3 points of focus in the early days and weeks of providing support.
Postpartum Doula’s Primary Focus
The postpartum doula’s primary focus is on the client’s recovery from giving birth. That includes physical and emotional recovery. Both are complex in nature and the doula trained by ProDoula is equipped with the knowledge of what is “normal” and what is “beyond the scope of normal” when it comes to post-birth recovery. When something is beyond the scope of normal, the postpartum doula encourages the client to contact their medical provider and continues to support them as they navigate the issue.
Postpartum Doula’s Secondary Focus
The postpartum doula’s secondary focus is on the baby’s (or babies) adjustment to life on the outside of the womb. This includes comfortability, feeding, sleeping, hygiene, and bonding. Again, the ProDoula trained postpartum doula is equipped with the knowledge of what is “normal” and what is “beyond the scope of normal.” If something appears to be beyond the scope of normal, the postpartum doula encourages the client to contact their medical provider and continues to support them as they navigate the issue.
Postpartum Doula’s Tertiary Focus
The postpartum doula’s tertiary focus is on anything that can inhibit the first two. That might include some light housekeeping, some laundry, some meal prep, an errand or anything else that might be causing some unneccessary stress.
How does this work as far as a back-up doula?
East Raleigh Doula Co. was created specifically for this purpose! When you hire us, you get both doulas on your birth team. Both of us will attend your two doula prenatal appointments as well as be available to answer questions and give support during pregnancy. One of us will be your primary doula and the other will be the designated back-up doula in case of an unexpected situation.
Are doulas only useful in planning an unmedicated birth?
The presence of a doula can be beneficial no matter what type of birth you are planning. The role of doula is to help support you for whatever type of birth experience you have. If you choose a medicated labor, a planned cesearean, or end up having an emergency cesearean, a doula is able to bring emotional support, educational support, and additional comfort measures. Oftentimes care providers are unable to stay with a family or a situation could arise where the partner must stay with the baby leaving a mother alone and feeling unprepared or uncertain of a situation; this is when a doula would be ideal to comfort and support the mother.
Do you attend home births?
Yes! We will attend hospital, birth center and home births as long as they are accompanied by a licensed midwife or physician.
When will you join me during my labor?
Your primary doula will be available via phone or email from the beginning of labor for any questions you or your partner may have. Once you feel that you need more support and the comfort measures we have discussed, your primary doula will join you at your home or chosen birthplace. This will vary from woman to woman. Some women may not need their doula until intense active labor, while others may need the emotional support earlier in labor.
Does a doula actually help?
According to Evidence Based Birth, researchers found that overall, people who have continuous support during childbirth experience a:
25% decrease in the risk of Cesarean; the largest effect was seen with a doula (39% decrease)*
8% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth; the largest effect was seen with a doula (15% increase)*
10% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
Shorter labors by 41 minutes on average
38% decrease in the baby’s risk of a low five minute Apgar score
31% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience; mothers’ risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience was reduced with continuous support provided by a doula or someone in their social network (family or friend)
What is a doula?
According to DONA International, a doula is "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."