Frequently Asked Questions
1. What does a doula do? A doula provides emotional, mental, & physical support to expecting families, in whatever form is best for that particular family. We also work with families before baby's arrival to help them prepare for birth by providing non-biased information. This help comes in many forms and could include: helping formulate a birth plan, talking about care provider options that are available in the area, teaching comfort & pain management techniques, providing resources for practitioners in the area who are key in helping prepare for birth & postpartum. During birth, a doula can provide help in the following ways: join the family at home to labor at home for as long as possible before transferring to their chosen birth place, employ hands-on-techniques to help with pain management, relaxation, comfort, & progression, help clients advocate for themselves & know what questions to ask of the medical staff, help ensure both parents are fed & hydrated, & that they feel respected, heard, and powerful during their birth. Doulas can also help with initial breastfeeding as well as during the immediate postpartum period.
2. What kind of doula am I? I am strictly a birth doula. This means I help my clients prepare for birth, support them during birth as well as the initial postpartum period. My work usually ends around one week following birth. I do not provide postpartum services myself, since my focus is birth, but it is an important service that I urge my clients to seek out along with lactation support. I work closely with lactation counselors and postpartum doulas in the area & can provide many wonderful references! I have found by honing in on birth alone, I better serve my clients, versus me wearing many hats. It takes a village to support a new family & for me, working with multiple caregivers provides amazing outcomes. And this approach also provides more flexibility in having families' needs served at the exact moment they need it.
3. What happens if my birth is long? I am with you for as long as you need me. But this is also why we focus heavily, during the prenatal meetings, on what birth can look like in each stage & techniques to use in those early stages, so hopefully clients can rest, relax, & enjoy their last moments together before baby arrives. I provide phone/text support until I join you physically, to help ensure I arrive at a time that works best for all. Despite all the planning, birth is still very unpredictable, so if I am with a family for a long time & I am tired, I will make arrangements to have a backup join the family either for a short amount of time for me to rest or indefinitely. I have also left to rest for a short of time when things change, like a mom decides to rest & is in a good place where the family feels comfortable enough for me to step away. Having a long birth and/or me needing to use a backup so I can rest does not add any cost on for my clients.
4. How do you handle payment? My payment plan is 50% due upon the signing of the contract & the last 50% due at 35 weeks. Your spot is secured once I receive the first deposit, after I receive it I will send a link to my resources & dates for our first prenatal meeting. I must have full payment by 35 weeks or it could affect my ability to attend your birth.
5. Do you use backup doulas? Yes! Backup doulas are essential to this business, there is no way I could do this work without them! I assign two backup doulas per client; a primary & a secondary. I assign these doulas very close to the time that I am hired. If I plan on being out of town or know it may be more likely that a backup will be used, I can arrange for the primary backup to meet or talk with the family ahead of time. In instances that a family wishes to hire me but my schedule is full, I may offer to employ a co-doula, meaning there is a high likelihood that their services will be needed & they will attend a prenatal meeting with me, so the family is familiar with them. I work with many area doulas for backup work, to ensure there is ample coverage for my clients. The doulas I choose are skilled & reliable. I have had to use backups for many instances, either for part of a birth or the entire birth. These instances include: me or someone in my family is sick, I am at another birth, I am resting from a birth, I have a planned trip, or have a family emergency. Backup doula work is provided at no cost to my clients.
6. What other resources, besides doula care, do I feel is necessary to prepare for birth? My number one recommendation to each client is to employ a Webster certified chiropractor & do Spinning Babies during pregnancy. They both work hand-in-hand to help mom & baby get ready for birth by ensuring baby can be in the most optimal position. I also highly suggest seeing a Women's Health Physical Therapist & to engage in some structured exercise regime that is made for pregnancy & birth. Mental preparation is key as well. I provide my clients many resources that I have created and have an extensive lending library of books that I believe are instrumental in mentally preparing. I also highly recommend taking an extensive childbirth class.
7. Do you provide support to moms who are planning to use an epidural? Have a Ceserean? It is not my job to tell you how to have your baby, it is my job to help you discover what works best for you. It is my job to support you during birth, with no judgment. If you tell me you plan on using pain meds during birth, I will implement this into our prenatal meetings. If you need a planned c-section, I have a program for that as well. Doulas are not just for unmedicated birth, they are for helping families navigate the complexities of welcoming their babies into this world.
8. How many of your clients get epidurals? I will say, most of my clients intend to not get an epidural. In 2020, the majority of my clients were planning a birth using midwives or doctors know to support physiological birth as their providers. These factors do affect the percentage of those who ultimately used an epidural during their birth. With that being said, from Oct. 2019-Oct. 2020, 25% of my clients received an epidural. The national average epidural usage rate is 73%. Most of those women who did choose one, had longer labors in which they needed rest and/or extreme position issues that were affecting progression. Very few, if any, chose them strictly for pain relief.
9. How many births have I attended overall? As of 10/25/22, I have attended 190 births. These births have blessed me with an array of experiences including fast labors, long labors, position issues, medical interventions, planned & unplanned cesareans, homebirths, accidental car births, water births, inductions, medical issues, midwifery care, OB care, family doctor care, residents delivering babies, & unfortunately, even losses. You name it, I have probably seen it!
10. What is my favorite part of being a doula? Helping families is my number one reason for doing this work. Birth is life-changing. It is hard, it demands so much. It is not always pretty. And it very rarely turns out how we planned. I love the part of my job where I meet families where they are at. I help them navigate their current situation & help them find the beauty in their unique stories.
11. Is your fee covered by insurance? No. But you may be able to use your FSA or HSA to pay. I offer payment options straight from my invoice, through Square or Paypal. When you use this Pay Now option, the invoice automatically updates reflecting your payment that you can use to submit through your FSA or HSA.
12. How do I find my referrals? I take great pride in my list of practitioners I provide to my clients. Each person on there is not just someone I know of, but someone I have either met & know well or that my clients have used before with great success, but many times are both! If you choose from my short list of Webster certified chiropractors, more than likely I can call & text them during your labor to see if they can squeeze you in. If you use the herbalist that I recommend, I may carry some of her product on me & you can contact her to see if it is safe to use. I have put my heart & soul into building close relationships with those I trust in the birth community. I want my clients to see the best of the best!
13. If you could offer one piece of advice to expecting families, what would it be? Follow your instincts. That sounds easier said than done. But there are many people who will interject their opinion, you must know how to differentiate between being a "good patient" & truly choosing what is best for your child. Your intuition is a God-given gift, to help you raise your child as only you see fit. No one will ever live with the repercussions of the decisions you make for your child but you. So make sure those decisions are truly your own.