FAQs and Answers
What is a birth doula?
The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman servant", and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period. The main goal of a birth doula is to meet the needs of the family by offering non-judgmental support, guidance, and education, as well as utilizing comfort measures to help the mother through labor. By giving the family reliable and continuous support throughout the pregnancy, a birth doula can help lessen the fears and pain of childbirth through evidence-based education and hands-on emotional care
How do doulas help with better birth outcomes?
Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily. Evidence shows that when you have continuous support from a doula- someone who is not a family member, close friend, or member of hospital staff- your overall birth outcome skyrockets. In fact, when a birthing person has the continuous support of a doula there is:
25% decrease in the risk of Cesarean; the largest effect was seen with a doula (39% decrease)
10% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
31% decrease in the use of pitocin
8% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth; the largest effect was seen with a doula (15% increase)*
Shorter labors by 41 minutes on average
14% decrease in infants being transferred to a specialized infant care nursery
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), but not hospital staff
What is the difference between a doula and a midwife/ obstetrician?
Doulas provide non-medical support throughout pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum. Midwives, obstetricians, and nurses hold a medical degree and are there to keep you and your baby safe. They likely will not be in the room with you consistently during labor and may have other patients and responsibilities that don't include continuous support. They perform things like monitoring, checking vitals, administering medications, interpreting labs, etc. A doula only performs emotional, informational, and physical support.
How do partners and doulas work together?
Doulas and partners are both so important in the birth space. Together, we can provide a birth team dedicated to the birthing person and their needs. A doula is skilled in comfort measures, birth support, and understanding the labor process. Partners have a bond that helps boost oxytocin (the love and labor hormone) and serve in that very important and irreplaceable role. Your baby’s birthday is a big day for birth partners too, and they deserve to be supported as well. Guidance from a doula, having a familiar face in the room, as well as love and support from those closest to you can provide an incredibly positive environment for birth.
Do you support hospital births, home births or birthing centers?
I support all birth locations and all types of births. I support unmedicated births, inductions, epidurals/pain managed births, water births, C-sections, etc.
When in my pregnancy should I hire a doula?
The earlier the better! The more time we have to establish a relationship, discuss your birth preferences, and schedule our prenatal visits, the more time I have to support thoughout pregnancy. It also allows more time to spread out payments if you'd like to opt for a payment plan. Phone support is included in my doula services, and includes anything from asking local recommendations, referrals, pregnancy and birth questions, and emotional support.
What are prenatal visits?
Birth Doula Services include 2 prenatal home visits. During these appointments, the doula will review the mothers’ wishes for the birth, as well as educate families on the childbirth process. By establishing this connection throughout the pregnancy, as well as offering encouragement and emotionally supporting the mother’s birthing choices, new mothers feel a sense of safety and know that their wishes will be supported, both before and during labor.
Do you offer payment plans?
Yes! I am a huge believer that all families deserve doula support, and any way I can make that easier financially, I am happy to. I offer a wide variety of payment plans, from weekly, monthly, and multiple payments. I work with each family individually to create the best plan for them. At the time of signing, I require a deposit, with the remaining amount due by 37 weeks when I go on call for you.
How do postpartum doulas help?
Postpartum doula support is priceless in supporting the transition to parenthood. The first few weeks and months adjusting to this new normal can be challenging, and you're not meant to do this alone! Having a postpartum doula to help you navigate the postpartum period, along with close family and friends, can provide a team for help, even after birth.
Postpartum doula services can include day and/or night shifts.
During the day, I work directly in your home and assist with breastfeeding/bottle feeding, education, infant care, mother's recovery care, meal prep, light house cleaning, sibling care, baby wearing, baby massage tutorials, running errands, bringing you coffee, and more! I spend a lot of time listening to new moms (and partners!) who need a nonjudgmental and non-medical ear. Having a professional to process birth, hormone and body changes, fears, and postpartum transition can make a big difference in those first months.
I am not currently offering overnight support but can gladly refer you to other wonderful overnight doulas in the area upon request!
What if COVID policies don’t allow doulas at my birth?
With so many changes during this time, it can be hard to predict hospital regulations. Most hospitals and birthing centers regulate support people to 2 persons- often 1 partner and 1 doula. Some local hospitals allow up to 3 people, but it is important to discuss regulations with your care provider. In cases where I am unable to attend (you have 2 other important people present, or things ever change), I support you over Zoom, Facetime, phone, and/or text, usually with help from your present birth team. If you are laboring at home before moving to your birth location, I come to your home and provide in person comfort measures there, then continue virtual support from there.
What areas do you commute to?
I travel within the Greater Sacramento area, within a 45 minute commute time. In cases with a longer commute time, I charge a travel fee starting at $15.
What if you can’t make it to the birth?
In the case of an emergency, I have backup doulas who I work closely with who will attend your birth until I can arrive. In normal cases, at the time of labor, I will arrive within a maximum 2 hours of your call. In the rare case of delivery before I arrive within those 2 hours, fees will be retained as these services are nonrefundable.