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Frequently asked questions

What is a doula?


A doula professional birth worker who serves as is part of the a support care team of a pregnant woman. Doulas fill an important role in providing emotional, physical, and evidence-based, informational support to the birthing woman and her family before, during, and after birth. There are also different kinds of doulas, which include: Birth or Labor Doula, Post-Partum Doula, and even Full Spectrum Doulas who provide care and support to women and families experiencing pregnancy loss and still births. A doula can specialize in one, several, or all of these services.




What does the word "doula" mean?


The word "doula" originates from the Greek language, and means "a woman who serves." The term “doula” was developed in the 1960s to describe the comforting presence of a friend during labor. Historically, this type of labor support personnel has been used since the Greeks in ancient times, although they were servants and not professionals. In modern times, doulas have seen widespread usage not only in the U.S., but throughout the world. This recent popularity was brought on by clinical studies which showed that the presence of a doula reduced the need for medical intervention during labor as well as a higher success rate for breastfeeding during the first few days after birth.




What does a doula actually do?


The most prominent role doulas usually play are in providing various kinds of comfort measures during the labor process, which can include: verbal encouragement, massage, counter pressure, positioning, intonation, and rhythm, in addition to many other techniques and tools. The Labor Doula works with families during pregnancy, during labor and in the birth process, and in the immediate postpartum time, offering support, encouragement, information, comfort, and referrals as needed. Labor Doulas can be found working in the community in private practice, in cooperatives, as part of groups or agencies, as well as serving in various community programs.




Is a doula the same as a midwife?


A doula is NOT a midwife. Doulas do not provide clinical support or medical advice. It is advised that you work with a doula in conjunction with being under the care of a trusted licensed Midwife or Medical Doctor. Labor Doulas are skilled support persons who act as consultants and resources, not clinicians. They therefore work with the healthcare system by encouraging and promoting excellent communication between the birthing woman and the health care team, encouraging informed decision making and self-advocacy, supporting the choices of the birthing woman, providing non-clinical comfort techniques, and offering appropriate referrals when their observance or counseling uncovers situations that require healthcare attention or support. Labor Doulas do not diagnose medical conditions, perform clinical procedures, prescribe or administer treatment for medical conditions, make medical decisions for the birthing woman, or direct families to act against medical advice.




If I am a single mom without a partner, is a doula for me?


Absolutely! A doula can be especially helpful to a single mother who may not have support by another parent. Particularly if you are a single mama, we can discuss several options, such as being available to you a little earlier than typically would to assist you during early labor. I will also provide continuous support throughout the labor and birth process, to ensure you are not alone at any time (unless you want to be!) If necessary, I may recommend bringing in a second doula or backup doula to support with the extra time that may be necessary to support a single mama.




What about same sex couples and trans couples?


Of course! I support mamas of all kinds with many different kinds of family structures and backgrounds. I have over 10 years of experience working with LGBTQ communities and have knowledge of terminology and social/cultural issues that individuals in these communities face. I have worked to educate myself to be a committed ally, and this learning is ongoing. I am intentional in bringing this knowledge of LGBTQ issues into my work as a doula, and would love to meet with you to determine if I may be a good fit for you and your family. I can also provide LGBTQ-safe resources and referrals as needed.




If I have a doctor, why would I need a doula?


Especially in the case of a hospital birth, more often than not, doctors, are not available to provide continuous support to a birthing mother. They are usually tending to many birthing women at one time, and may only come in to check on you every couple of hours, or after you are fully dilated and are close to delivering the baby. This is not because they do not care; this is simply the nature of birthing in a hospital environment. A doula on the other hand, is knowledgeable about the birth process and can provide CONTINUOUS support from the onset of active labor till you deliver, and for 1-2 hours post-partum to support with breastfeeding, baby bonding, if needed/desired. A doula works for YOU, not your doctor or hospital.




What are the benefits of a doula?


Labor doulas are statistically proven to improve outcomes: 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin* 28% decrease in the risk of C-section* 12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth* 9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief 14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience* Read more Evidence For Doulas here.




Are doulas only for home births?


Not at all! A doula can support you in any birthing location, whether it be home, birth center, or hospital. If you are thinking about having a home birth, you should make sure you bring in a licensed midwife to attend the birth.




What if I decide to get an epidural or a C-section? Does a doula still benefit me?


Definitely! A doula can support a mother in any circumstance. We can discuss what your birth plans are and what options may be available to you, and how I can best support you. If your plans change during your pregnancy because of personal preferences or medical necessity, we can be in constant communication about how I can complement your changing needs.





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© 2018 by Nine Moons Doula Care, LLC.