Doulas Of North America defines a Doula as; “A trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.”
Doulas accompany the birthing parent and their family through pregnancy, childbirth and their postpartum (the first 3 months after delivery), providing resources, knowledge, helpful tips, compassionate support and an understanding, non-judgmental ear.
Yes. While the epidural does provide pain relief, it may not take away the anxiety that a mother feels. It may also not prevent all the pain or remove all sensation; this can cause some mothers to be concerned. Having a doula is a great way to help stay relaxed and focused on having a positive, safe birth.
Birth doulas are statistically proven to improve outcomes:
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
To learn more about these stats, please follow this link to Evidence Based Births’ website; https://evidencebasedbirth.com/the-evidence-for-doulas/
There is no right or wrong answer to this. You can contract with your Doula at any time during your pregnancy (yes, even on your estimated due date if you decide you want one at the last minute and haven’t delivered yet!). We recommend finding your Doula around the beginning of your second trimester. This way you all have a substantial amount of time to develop a relationship and you get the most support from your Birth Doula package.
Prenatal appointments going over; pregnancy and childbirth, addressing questions and concerns, labor and birth options, birth plan guidance, baby registry assistance, high-risk pregnancy information, creating your birth environment, induction options, realistic expectations for what a cesarean section birth could look like, nursery staging advice and more.
Most providers, whether it is your Doctor, Midwife or Nurse, have many things to do during your labor and are busy making sure you and your baby are safe and healthy. They will come and go as needed until the actual delivery of your baby(ies), whether you’re at a hospital, birthing center, or in your home. Your Birth Doula is the only one who is there solely for you and your family, walking with you from the first few contractions to the delivery itself. A Birth Doula offers continuous support regardless of your chosen environment, healthcare provider, or birth desires.
Yes. Many hospitals in the Portland Oregon area try to make space for your Doula to be in the operating room with you if a cesarean birth becomes necessary. If they are unable to come back to the OR with you, they will wait in the lobby until your baby has delivered and they are permitted to meet you in the recovery room. They will help with the initial bonding, breastfeeding (if this is something you are hoping to do), and picture taking of those first few moments. If you are expecting to have a planned cesarean birth, a Birth Doula can assist in guiding you with setting up your birth plan, sharing what a cesarean may look like to help you have realistic expectations, and help plan for what postpartum recovery and bringing baby home may look like for you.
Most partners who experience having a Doula on their team through the birth of their baby say that they wouldn’t do it again without a Doula’s help! Prior to meeting a Doula, some partners may worry that they will feel they’re being replaced by having this added person to their team. But the birth advocate is a team player, doing the little things in the background to help make the birth as smooth and peaceful as possible, and often their support amplifies the partners’ role, giving them and the birthing parent the opportunity to bond and create some beautiful memories through this life changing experience!
Our Doulas are careful to not overbook themselves in an attempt to reduce the likelihood of this happening. In the rare case that it does, your Doula will have a back-up Doula they can call to come assist you who will provide knowledgeable, compassionate care.
Your Doula will provide you with a lot of information and guidance, and while all of it will be super helpful, you won’t have enough time in your prenatal visits to go over everything. Having taken classes and childbirth education courses with your partner/birth supporter/friend/other family member prior to your birth, will help you and that person feel more prepared with the understanding you share as you walk into labor.
Doula services are usually not covered by insurance. However, some insurance companies will reimburse for Doula services as ‘out of network’ care services. Additionally, FSA or HSA may reimburse for Doula services.
A Postpartum Doula provides informational, physical, mental and emotional support to the whole new family. While their focus of care is for the birthing parent and newborn(s), the Postpartum Doula may provide assistance in guiding the older children in play, giving resources and help to the non-birthing parent, making a meal for the whole family, and so much more. Postpartum Doulas primarily work in two different shifts; daytime shifts and overnight shifts. Day shifts are intended to help give the parent(s) some relief, time for a shower and maybe a nap, an info session where the Doula can help teach them how to care for their newborn, etc. Overnights are primarily meant for sleep. Having a newborn (little lone multiples!) is hard work and having an extra set of hands to support new parents through the night hours can change their entire perception of their postpartum time!
Our Postpartum Doulas reserve your estimated due date time in the schedules so that they are sure to be ready when you need them. In the event that they have a birth client delivering a family emergency or become ill before, during, or towards the end of their services with you, they will have a back up Doula who is knowledgeable and supportive, just like themselves, available to cover the shifts that they can’t make it to. When they are able, your original Doula will return to support you and your family.
Yes! If you would feel more comfortable meeting the back up Doula before they work a shift, let your Doula know and they will connect you both.
While it is rare, this does happen sometimes. Everyone has a different personality and sometimes we just don’t jive with certain people. If you feel you would maybe have a better fit with someone else, please let your original Doula know that you would like to meet another backup Doula if one is available. However, please know that availability fluctuates and there may not be another Postpartum Doula available for that/those particular shift(s).
You can definitely just reschedule with your original Postpartum Doula if you would prefer that. We offer back up Doula support for those who can’t go without care for the shifts that would be missed. But working with a back up or rescheduling with your Doula is completely up to you!
Some families just need the first week postpartum, while others want 3-4 months of care. Every situation is unique and it all depends on what you and your family need.
You can definitely have both day and night shifts. Depending on the care you need, you may have multiple Doulas helping out as it can be challenging for a fulltime night Doula to work long day shifts, and vice versa. For more information on scheduling and the support you may need, please reach out through the contact page.
Most Placentas are processed in the kitchen of the birthing persons’ home. Occasionally they are in a preparers’ home, depending on the needs of the family delivering.
No. Our Placenta Preparers are also Birth Doulas, but you do not have to have them as your Doula in order to get your Placenta prepared for consumption.
They will come to your place of birth and pick up the Placenta. You will be in contact with your Placenta Preparer, sending them a text letting them know that you have gone into labor, and then again once you have delivered. They will pick up the Placenta and then take it to your home to start the preparation process.
It depends on which option you choose; Raw Consumption or Encapsulation. If you are wanting raw consumption, they will make one visit to your home for about 3 hours maximum. If you are wanting encapsulation, they will make two visits to your home, each visit a day apart, for about 3 hours maximum. With encapsulation, there will be a dehydrator left in your home between the two visits. It will run for about 13 hours and then turn itself off when finished.
Not a thing. Your Placenta Preparer will sanitize the area before and after they are finished and will leave things as tidy or tidier then when they arrived.