The word doula is someone (usually a woman) who provides emotional, physical, educational and sometimes spiritual support to pregnant, laboring or postpartum mothers. A doula can help a woman have a safe, empowered and amazing birth experience. A doula is not a medical person and does not provide any clinical exams or deliver babies! A doula comes alongside the pregnant couple as a valuable team member.
Emotional support - a doula is usually a mother herself and can understand the complexities of pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. She knows the ins and outs of postpartum depression and the signs to look for. She understands what it is like to be nervous regarding birth and can work with you through your fears and give you the reassurance and tools to address them. She can help you work out a birth plan and give you suggestions on talking with your provider and birth team members. A doula is there from the moment you want her in labor and after you deliver your baby.
Physical support - a doula can use different techniques to help you in your pregnancy and in labor. She knows different exercises to help you stay strong for labor. In labor a doula can dig deep in her knowledge to help alleviate back labor, reduce the need for an epidural or c-section and can come alongside your partner and show them things they can do to help you; from double hip squeezes, using a rebozo or showing you how to "doula hula", a doula is an invaluable team member!
Educational support - I am also trained as a natural childbirth educator. A Maui Doula and Childbirth Education (amauidoula.com) offers Childbirth Preparation classes such as: a 4 week Natural Childbirth Education Series and a Postpartum 101 For Moms Class. I have suggested books to read and am up-to-date on the latest research pertaining to pregnancy, labor, birth and beyond.
Spiritual support - a doula can guide you through relaxation exercises to help you relax and embrace this wonderful journey you are on. They can offer spiritual support by scripture, meditation, affirmations and relaxation exercises. Not only will this help in pregnancy it is a great tool during labor and beyond.
How much does a doula cost? Doulas range in price depending on where you live so just ask what they charge and what does it include? A good place to check for doulas in your area is doula match.net and of course on-line forums and your providers office are also good for recommendations. Usually doula care packages include prenatal visits, labor, delivery and post-partum follow-up. Also, some insurances do cover doula care so check with yours to see if it is covered. If you have a HSA (health savings account) you can use it for doula care. Visit amauidoula.com to see my packages and pricing.
Do I need a doula if my husband will be there? A doula is an invaluable addition to your team! They will not replace your support person but be there to help support them also by sharing different techniques to use for all the things that can happen during labor & delivery of your baby. Comfort measures, encouragement and practical support are what they offer to your birth team.
My mom/sister/friend will be my doula why do I need to pay someone? While a mom, friend or sister is nice to have with you in labor they rarely have the expertise that a doula can bring to you in labor. As a doula I am trained to use different comfort measures, positioning and support that they most likely do not know.
How and when do I hire a doula? I truly believe there is a doula for every woman who desires one! Interview more than one doula, ask questions and also ask to see their contract. It is best to start interviewing doulas around 20-25 weeks pregnant and if you want to secure your due date sign that contract early! However, I have met clients as late as 37-38 weeks! It’s never too late to hire a doula - even in labor!
This blog is owned and operated by Lora Casco, CD, CBE at amauidoula.com. Lora can be reached on her website www.amauidoula.com or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.