What is a doula?
What does she do?
Why use a doula?
A doula, or birth companion, is a non-medical person who supports a woman before, during, and after childbirth and her husband/family by providing physical and emotional support. I trained and certified as a doula through CAPPA in 2011, and I have maintained my certification since then.
Before labor begins, a doula helps a woman or couple make informed decisions about their birth place and care provider. She gets to know the couple and gathers information about their goals, expectations, and fears.
During labor, she supports the couple by offering help and advice on comfort measures, position changes, breathing techniques, and movement. A doula can assist in translating medical terminology, asking questions to make informed decisions, and reminding the birth team of her client's goals and birth plan. She stays with the couple during labor, provides encouragement and practical assistance, and assists her husband/partner.
Research shows that women who have doula support in labor:
-Have a 39% reduction in cesarean
-Less pain medication
-Higher satisfaction of birth experience (31% higher than non-doula births)
As a doula, I don't want to take the place of a woman's husband/partner, but to free him up to support her without having to carry all of the burden of her safety, comfort, and care.
Click here for more evidence on doulas, their roles, etc.
Prenatal Consultation to discuss your goals, options locally, etc.
1-2 Prenatal Visits - first one optional to develop a relationship and answer questions, with a required meeting around 36-37 weeks of pregnancy to talk through goals of upcoming labor, fears, concerns, my role, birth plan, etc.
Information and support through my years of experience, lending library, etc. I am available to answer questions throughout your pregnancy.
During Labor, I will provide continuous physical and emotional support. I will provide advice on position changes, comfort measures, relaxation techniques, massage, counter-pressure, hot/cold therapy, hydrotherapy, pushing guidelines, and encouragement and reassurance. I will help with breastfeeding and stay for 1-2 hours after the birth. I offer a follow-up visit to discuss your labor and help with breastfeeding.
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Testimonial from a doula client:
The best way I can describe Rachel is GAME-CHANGER. Giving birth without pain medication has been my goal with all three deliveries. I tend to have long labors and end up needing pitocin, which if you've had it, know that it can make contractions even more intense. I ended up with an epidural for my first and second deliveries, and knew I would need additional help for our third. Rachel was encouraging, calm, professional, and picked up on every possible need that I had. She used her Mary Poppins-sized tool bag to assist me, even with 10 hours of Pitocin, in a labor and delivery without pain medication.
Her husband's perspective:
We hired Rachel for the birth of our third son. She was the only difference in all three births. My wife and I joked before it was time to give birth that Rachel was the name of our anesthesiologist. Truly, that was the difference she made. She was a calming, fun (at appropriate times), presence. She worked hard and gave my wife the confidence she needed to achieve her goal of giving birth without pain medication.