What is a doula?
A trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support during pregnancy, labor, and shortly after childbirth by reducing stress and anxiety and acting as an advocate to help Moms achieve the most safe, memorable, and empowering birth experience possible.
What a doula is not….
A doula is not a medical professional, though she often has vast experience when it comes to birth. She is not there to make medical decisions for you, but to help you understand the options and follow your birth plan whenever possible. She does not give medical advice or run diagnostic tests, but can help you know what questions to ask. Kelly will work with your midwife or OB by taking care of the non-medical aspects to help you have the empowering birth you imagine, even when things don’t go according to plan. After all, pregnancy and birth are not medical conditions, but a natural life process. A doula takes care of your emotional, physical, and mental well-being, while your OB/midwife looks after your health.
Why do I need a doula?
A doula is especially important for first time moms, but can be incredibly helpful no matter how many babies a woman has delivered. Labor and childbirth are scary because they are a huge unknown, and not just for first time moms. Labor and birth can be very different from pregnancy to pregnancy for the same mom. We tend to envision the worst movie depictions of women sweating and screaming their babies into the world. And while this is sometimes reality, more often than not, birth is a more calm and peaceful experience than Hollywood would lead us to believe. Kelly helps to fill that spot in your brain between Hollywood horror and painless tranquility. She is calm and composed in the most stressful of circumstances. When a mom feels she has reached her breaking point, Kelly is there to comfort and guide with that calm voice of experience. Kelly can provide support in your home during early labor if needed and help you to decide when it is time to go to the hospital or birth center. Kelly will enhance your birth experience by being by your side through labor, delivery, and settling in after baby is here. She makes sure mom is comfortable, fed, and that breastfeeding gets off to a great start.
Having a doula present leads to…
- 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; the type of person providing continuous support did not make a difference.
- Shorter labors by 41 minutes on average; there is no data on if the type of person providing continuous support makes a difference.
- 38% decrease in the baby’s risk of a low five minute Apgar score; there is no data on if the type of person providing continuous support makes a difference.
- 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.
Hodnett et al. (2017) “Continuous support for women during childbirth.” Cochrane database of systematic reviews: CD003766
What if I want my spouse/relative/friend to be my birth support? Does a doula replace that person?
Absolutely not. A doula does not replace anyone, but becomes an integral part of the birth team. While your partner supports you, a doula supports you, your partner, your baby, and your birth. A doula helps to support everyone in their own role. Labor can be intense, and Kelly is the perfect person to offer your partner a break, or suggest different ways they are able to help. Once labor begins, it is common for partners to feel inadequate, and Kelly can help redirect their efforts towards helping mom maintain her goals. A doula serves to complement your birth team by providing continuous support during pregnancy, birth, and post partum.
I’m planning to have an epidural/C section/induction, why do I need a doula?
A doula can be invaluable member of your birth team. She is there for your through the pregnancy to answer questions and provide resources. She helps to prepare you mentally, emotionally, and physically for your birth experience. Kelly offers a variety of classes and education opportunities to help prepare you for the birth of your baby, taking care of a newborn, breastfeeding, and more. She can help you understand your choices and options when it comes to your birth. A doula’s job is not to make decisions for you, but to help you understand the choices you have.
A doula is very helpful in early labor, whether natural or induced, helping mom to breathe through and manage contractions to ensure that labor progresses before the epidural can be placed. She can help with positioning during placement and after to help keep baby in a good position for delivery. Epidurals are statistically associated with interventions like augmentation of labor (Pitocin), need for vacuum or forceps for delivery, or need for Cesarean Section. Having a doula present can help reduce the need for those interventions. Even with an epidural, a doula will work with you to help shorten labor. For C section moms, a doula can provide support through pre-op and into the operating room. She can help facilitate breast feeding in the recovery room.
How early in my pregnancy should I contact a doula?
As soon as you consider a doula as an option for your birth! Kelly offers a complimentary meet and greet to decide if she is the doula for you. She can answer any questions you may have and reassure your partner that she is there to support everyone in the birthing process. Kelly can help to set you up with prenatal classes for labor, breastfeeding, and taking care of a newborn. She only takes about 8 moms a month to help ensure that she is available for your birth.
What happens if 2 moms are in labor at the same time?
Kelly is a professional multitasker, managing multiple pregnant women and laboring moms at a time. If she is unable to be physically present for your labor/birth, she works with another doula who will provide that in-person support.