Frequently Asked Questions
What does a doula do?
The simple answer is–whatever you need me to do. I bring with me in-depth knowledge of the birth process and hospital procedures and policies as well as years of experience in supporting families in birth, but I do as much (or as little) as is needed in the moment. At one birth I might spend hours rubbing a client’s back and at another I might sit quietly in the corner and read while the couple navigate labor on their own, knowing I am right there if they need me. I do coffee runs, I explain medical procedures, I communicate with staff, I fetch extra blankets, I remind you to breathe, I help your partner support you, and more. I do not replace your partner; I am just part of your birth team.
What doesn’t a doula do?
I am not a medical professional, though I do know a lot about birth and I keep up with the latest evidence regarding labor and birth. I don’t do vaginal exams, I don’t monitor fetal heart rate, I don’t prescribe medication, and I don’t give medical advice. I can help you ask your doctor the right questions, though, and I can send you the best resources available so you can fully understand your options. I can tell you what is normal and what isn’t, though I will always ask you to talk to your doctor about any symptoms that you may be worried about. I don’t make decisions on your behalf and I don’t speak for you, but I can help facilitate communication between you and the medical team.
Does a doula replace my partner?
Absolutely not. I very much want your labor and birth to be your journey–both yours and your partner’s. While I may know birth, your partner knows you. I am there to support your partner in supporting you. Remember that this experience is likely new for your partner as well and they may not know what is normal and what is not and they may be unsure of how best to support you. A doula removes the fear of the unknown so your partner can be there for you without worrying about whether or not what’s happening is normal. I can also make sure that your partner is taking care of themselves during labor and are able to eat, use the toilet, and take a break if they need, so they can support you more effectively.
Is a doula only for a natural (unmedicated) birth?
No. Doula support does not guarantee an unmedicated birth, though studies have shown that doula support reduces the use of epidural (if the birthing woman is planning a natural birth). A doula supports whatever birth you choose and however your birth unfolds. Whether you are planning an unmedicated birth or you know you want an epidural or you are scheduling a Cesarean section, doula support can make each experience better for you and your partner. I want you to have a positive birth experience, where you feel loved and respected and listened to. I want you to be able to look back on your birth experience with pride and with joy. I am not here to tell you how to birth, but I will help you, to the best of my ability, achieve your ideal birth.