What is a doula?
A doula is a woman who is especially trained with information about labor and birth. The doula knows a lot about birth, but she is not a doctor or a midwife. She doesn’t have the decision-making responsibilities of the medical professional; the doula cannot diagnose or prescribe treatments, and she absolutely never practices medicine. No, you might say that the doula doesn’t deal so much with the woman’s body, but with her spirit.
The doula uses her knowledge of birth to offer support to the whole family, assisting in any way that she can. She might bring a cold cloth for the woman’s forehead, or blankets, a massage, or a calming word; she might educate the woman’s partner about the stages of labor, so that no one is surprised or confused by what is happening. And in moments of stress, the doula can be the one who maintains a calm atmosphere, and can help focus the laboring woman’s energy on the important job she is doing. If a medical decision must be made, the doula will help the couple gather information, so that they can make the best, most informed decision possible.
When I am in the birthing room, acting as a doula, I try to make sure that everyone is doing what they can, and what they want to do. The woman herself is my primary responsibility. I serve her before others; but at the same time, I respect the role of her assistant, whether that is a partner, husband, family member, or good friend. If this person wants to take on an active role in the birth, I will assist them in their support of the laboring woman. I might demonstrate good massage techniques, or walk with the woman and her partner, in the hopes that the partner and family will receive the recognition. They are the heroes, and if I am doing my job well, then I am scarcely visible! But for my being there, everything moves a little more smoothly. I've also helped several couples with Spanish translation, if they need help communicating with the medical staff. This is the role of the doula.
I am currently serving the area of northern Virginia. At this point, I have had the joy and honor of attending thirty-one labors, and I feel very confident assisting in natural and medicated births. My current rate, negotiable for needy families, is $900. Ask about discount for military families and Bradley Method® students. Feel free to contact me for more information!
20 Questions about Wise Path
I've had some quite lengthy inquiries from women who want to learn about doulas, and about my services in particular! Following are some of the questions I have fielded from inquisitive women and their supportive partners. Browse around until you have learned enough that you want to know more!
THIS SEGMENT IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION- SORRY. WATCH OUT FOR THE ANSWERS, UPCOMING VERY SOON!
1. What is your birth philosophy?
2. Are you familiar with my medical practice and birth site? If so, what was your experience working with the health care providers there?
3. Do you have any religious beliefs or other concerns that would keep you from fully supporting our family?
4. What services, exactly, do you offer?
5. When would you join me during labor?
6. What happens if my labor is VERY long? Will you stay the whole time?
7. Which labor-coping techniques do you think tend to be the most helpful?
8. How would you work with and involve my partner?
9. What services are covered in your fee?
10. Will you still support me if I get an epidural?
11. What's your favorite technique to use in labor?
12. Do some doctors have a problem with doulas? How do you handle that?
13. What if I get a c-section?
14. What's your refund policy?
15. Do you have anyone else due near the time I'm due?
16. Do you have a backup arrangement with another doula or group of doulas in case you're not free when I go into labor? Can I meet them?
17. Can I talk to a few of your recent clients?
18. Do you offer an opportunity to get you know you in person (or via Skype) before we commit to using your services?
19. Why do doulas charge as much as they do?
20. Tell me your favorite birth story.