What does “Doula” mean?
The word doula originated in Ancient Greece and is translated as woman's servant and was used to describe the women who supported other women through labor and birth. In today’s society the word is used to describe a trained professional who provides emotional and physical support during pregnancy, labor, birth and the postpartum period. Doulas are sometimes referred to as Childbirth Assistant, Labor Coach/Assistant, Birth Assistant, etc
What is a DONA Doula?
All DONA Doulas complete an in person training and then move forward through a certification process that can take up to two years. This process includes, being overseen by other mentors, additional Doula training, Childbirth education classes, written applications, and more. Additionally, they are bound by a code of ethics and standards of practice that allow families and practitioners to feel assured that when working with a DONA certified Doula, they will receive the highest standard of professionalism. See the full standards and code of ethics HERE.
Will a Doula help me write my birth preferences (birth plan)?
Birth preferences truly are unique. A Doula can help answer questions and most importantly help you find your most important factors. We encourage you to complete your own birth preferences and ask questions and or research where you are unsure of decisions or actions. Your Doula can help you find the best resources. Birth is deeply unpredictable, and using a birth preference or plan can help guide you to review how you may want to respond in the case of change.
Great sites for creating birth preferences are below
or writing your own letter
How early should I hire a Doula?
It is never too early to hire a Doula, and the ideal time to hire one is 5-6 months before your estimated due date. Experienced doulas book early and quickly; repeat birthing families often book their Doula on the day their pregnancy is confirmed! Leila only accepts approximately 3 clients in the same birthing time to be sure I will have access and attention to each birth and every prenatal or postpartum visit.
I have a doctor/midwife and a nurse do I still need a Doula?
Doctors, midwives, and nurses all play pivot-able roles in your birth experience and will each support your birth in their professional way. These people are highly trained medical experts and as such are responsible for monitoring your safety and the safety of your baby during labor and delivery. However, doctors, midwives, and nurses all come and go during your labor and delivery and a Doula serves to complement that team by providing continuous one on one support to the mom from the beginning of labor, through delivery, and during several hours postpartum.
What are the benefits of a Doula?
While a labor and birth Doulas impact can be immeasurably positive to mother, baby, and families, labor Doulas are also statistically proven to improve outcomes: Read HERE for evidence based research
o 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin*
o 28% decrease in the risk of C-section*
o 12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
o 9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
o 14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
o 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience*
Will you replace my partner?
Not at all. The presence of a Doula at your birth complements and strengthens a partner's role. During pre-natal visits, your doula discusses your partner’s comfort level with participation during labor and collaborates with your partner to best support you. Studies show that partners participate more actively during labor when a Doula is present.
Often, when a mother needs support in labor, the partner wants to help but doesn't know how. This is where the Doula can help the partner know what to do when, so the partner also has confidence in his/her role during the birth. And as questions arise during labor, the Doula can reassure the partner when things are normal, or when something needs attention. Doulas can also help partners navigate the confusing options that come up during birth. Doulas can give partners a break if they want one. Your partner and your family bring a loving emotional connection and an intimate knowledge of you that your Doula does not have. In combination with your Doula's professional expertise, the team creates the very best support system.
What do you mean informational advocate?
Mainstream birth usually consists of OB care, a hospital-based birth class and a hospital birth. Other mothers and families may also have chosen a birth center or home birth as well. All birth experiences can be beautiful and empowering, or it might be traumatic. How do you know what you're walking in to? Do you have any control over the outcome? How do you prepare for the unpredictability and unknown? This is where education comes in. A hospital-based birth class will teach you the basic mechanics of birth and the hospital policies, but it will not teach you the hormonal physiology of birth or prepare you for the most emotionally and physically demanding day of your life. Additionally, policy is not the law and many families do not even know they have a choice. Informed consent in gravely important. If you truly want to understand birth, calm your fears and be informed of evidence and options. Prepare yourself fully for a positive birth experience and look beyond the hospital-based birth class. Looking for more education about Spinning Babies, breastfeeding, pain management, Hypnobabies or Hypnobirthing, essential oils, postpartum, baby wearing, and more? Just ask a doula.
What a Doula is not
A Doula is not a medical professional, although doulas usually have a lot of experience with birth. A doula does not give medical advice but will help you ask the right questions. A doula does not perform medical procedures. A Doula does not make any decisions on your behalf but will help you understand your options.
Are Doulas just for home birth and birth centers?
Not at all. Many Doula assisted births occur in the hospital, allowing you to labor and follow the desire birth plan or even assist when things go differently. It is the Doula’s goal to establish good working relationships with the doctors, midwives and medical staff of her expectant families. Communication, respect, professionalism, and trust create a supportive birthing team. Your Doula is there to help you connect with the birth process in the most comfortable and enjoyable way while helping guide you when needed.
How do we get to know each other?
Check our our care package to learn more!
What if I want an epidural?
A Doula is beneficial assisting with planned mediated or un-medicated births. Some expectant mothers prefer no pain medications, others want to begin with no medications, but reserve the right to change that decision. Others choose a planned medicated birth. A Doula offers information on all procedures, including pain medications and potential side effects, and interventions. She will discuss options with you and your partner and facilitate a dialogue between you, your partner, and hospital staff. She will translate medical terms and proposed procedures. Your Doula’s goal is to inform, support, and champion your decisions. She appreciates that birth preferences may change.
What Happens If I Need a C-section?
Even in a surgical setting, a doula is there to explain what is happening and guide you through the procedure. She is also there during recovery to help with the first breastfeeding and bonding.
What if I am religious?
I am happy to pray, meditate, sing, breathe, dance, and flow through any spiritual practice that help motherbaby connection through the birth process.
When will you arrive to support my labor?
Your doula will arrive at your home or laboring location in early labor stages and if you are not birthing at home, will follow you to the birth center or hospital as labor progresses. If your preference is to labor at home until far into your labor, Leila is very confident and comfortable creating this support.
What happens if the baby comes early or late?
Once you retain your Doula, I am committed to serving you between 38 and 42 weeks. In the event that your baby devices to make the grand entrance before 38 weeks and Leila is available, she will attend your birth. In the even she is not available, additional postpartum support care will be given.
What does “on call” mean?
When your Doula is on call it means that after 38 weeks she will be within 1.5 hours of your chosen location at all times, will not drink alcohol, and will be readily available for text or email for discussion at all times. She will have her birth bag in the car and stocked for your birth desires.
Will you work holidays?
It’s your BIRTHDAY no matter what holiday. Yes, your Doula works holidays.
How can I contact you?
For questions about your pregnancy and wondering, email or text is best. For in labor contact, call me after you call the midwife/OB.
What are the costs?
Please see our rates page HERE