What You Need to Know
What is a birth doula?
In the context of pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period, a doula refers to a trained support person who provides physical, emotional, and informational support to pregnant people, birth parents, and their families.
A doula offers non-judgmental support, guidance, evidence-based education and practical hands-on support during childbirth including comfort measures. Doulas do not provide medical care, or clinical tasks such a cervical checks, fetal heart tones, and does not speak on behalf of the client.
What is a full spectrum doula?
A full spectrum doula is a support person who recognizes that pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period can have many different outcomes.
Support can look like a number of things, depending on the person and the situation, but some examples of how a full spectrum doula can offer support include:
Miscarriages: Providing comfort measures and support at home or in the hospital.
Stillbirths: Holding space for the family and providing emotional and physical support during labor and delivery.
Abortions: Providing information on options available and emotional support before, during, and after.
There are as many variations in the support provided by full spectrum doulas as there are people in the world, however no matter what type of support is needed we will provide it without judgement and with respect, compassion, and love.
Doulas aren't cheap, what do I get when I make the investment with you?
Doulas are an investment, that's for sure. There are a number of factors that play into my fees, including my pre and postnatal visits, my availability to answer your questions throughout pregnancy, as well as the attendance of your birth, which can vary in length from a few hours, to a few days!
In addition to this, because of the unpredictability of labor, I book a limited number of clients to ensure I will be there at your birth. Upon hiring me as your doula, I will be on-call at 38 weeks and available to you for around the clock support. If there is an emergency, or labor begins, whether it be 38 or 41 weeks, I will drop everything in my schedule to be there for you.
This work also requires me to leave special events with family and friends from time to time, as well as holidays. Doulas love our jobs, and happily make the sacrifices to be there for you, whether it be in the middle of the night, or being away from family for an extended period of time.
The peace of mind and support you get from a doula is a sound investment! As always, I strongly believe everyone deserves a doula. I work on a sliding scale base and take on a few free clients a year, just shoot me a message if you are in need.
What is NOT included in doula support?
Doulas are not medical professionals, and the following tasks are not performed by doulas:
They do not perform clinical tasks such as vaginal exams or fetal heart monitoring
They do not give medical advice or diagnose conditions
They do not make decisions for the client (medical or otherwise)
They do not pressure the birthing person into certain choices just because that’s what they prefer
They do not take over the role of the partner
They do not catch the baby
They do not change shifts (although some doulas may call in their back-up after 12-24 hours)
What is the evidence on birth doulas?
According to the Cochrane Review, birthers who received continuous support were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals, negative feelings about childbirth, vacuum or forceps-assisted births, and Cesareans. In addition, their labors were shorter by about 40 minutes and their babies were less likely to have low Apgar scores at birth. There is a smaller amount of evidence that doula support in labor can lower postpartum depression in mothers. There is no evidence for negative consequences to continuous labor support.
The results of this study mean that if a birthing person has continuous labor support (that is, someone who never leaves their side), both mothers and babies are statistically more likely to have better outcomes!