What Is a Birth Doula?

(c/o DONA)

Like travel guides in a foreign country, birth and postpartum doulas help support new families through the life changing experience of having a baby! Whether it’s a family’s first baby or their tenth, a doula can help make the birth and postpartum experience better. Today, a doula is defined as follows:

Doula: 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.

Countless scientific trials examining doula care demonstrate remarkably improved physical and psychological outcomes for both mother and baby. Doulas have a positive impact on the well-being of the entire family.

What Does a Doula Do or Not Do?

Doulas “mother the mother.” While performing her role, a doula:

  • Provides emotional support
  • Uses comfort measures: breathing, relaxation, movement, positioning
  • Gives information
  • Continuously reassures and comforts the mother (the key word is continuous—a doula never leaves the mother’s side)
  • Helps a mother become informed about various birth choices
  • Advocates for the mother and helps facilitate communication between the mother and care provider
  • Looks after your partner as well (gives them bathroom breaks!), but their primary responsibility is to the mother

It’s also important for you to understand what doulas do NOT do:

  • Doulas are NOT medical professionals
  • They do not perform clinical tasks such as vaginal exams or fetal heart monitoring
  • They do not give medical advice or diagnose conditions
  • They do not judge you for decisions that you make
  • They do not let their personal values or biases get in the way of caring for you (for example, they should not pressure you into making any decisions just because that’s what they prefer)
  • They do not take over the role of your husband or partner
  • They do not deliver the baby
  • They do not change shifts

Why Do I Need a Doula?

Families choose to include continuous professional labor support such as a doula for many different reasons. In addition to being such a strong source of support during an important life event, one of the most compelling reasons to hire a doula is because of the fantastic outcomes:

31%

decrease in the use of Pitocin

28%

decrease in the risk of cesarean

12%

increase in likelihood of spontaneous vaginal birth

9%

decrease in use of any medications for pain relief

14%

decrease in risk of newborn admitted to NICU

34%

decrease in risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience

“A woman, as long as she lives, will remember how she was made to feel at her birth”

 

– Ana Verwaal

Nicolle’s Birth Doula Services

My experience teaching HypnoBirthing classes has given me wonderful insight as to how to best support each unique family. I find myself especially fortunate that many of my own students become doula clients, and we enjoy an even deeper level of connection throughout the course series in addition to our private prenatal meetings. My ultimate goal is to ensure that every family has a positive and empowering birth experience; whatever that looks like to them. I am passionate about making birth a joyous occasion for EVERYONE involved! Birth companions are often so overlooked when their partner is pregnant, but I always prioritize their wellbeing and vital role – whether that’s being with mom so the partner can eat or nap, getting them more involved in comfort measures, or snapping photos so they can enjoy witnessing their baby’s birth!

 

In addition to HypnoBirthing, I have worked with families who have prepared with other childbirth education methods such as Bradley, Hypnobabies, and hospital based classes. I’ve also attended an official Spinning Babies workshop and feel even more confident supporting parents to have more gentle birthing experiences through mother and baby positioning techniques. I have been attending births since 2014, trained with CAPPA in 2015, and have been certified through CAPPA since 2016.

Service Inclusions:

Prenatal Support:

  • One 45-60 minute complimentary prenatal consultation to see if we are a good fit for each other
  • Two 90 minute prenatal meetings to get to know each other, go over your birth goals, practice comfort techniques, answer any questions about the birth or postpartum period, etc.
  •  Assistance in writing a birth and postpartum plan
  • Suggestions for valuable local prenatal resources

Labor/Delivery Support:

  • 24/7 “on call” availability beginning at 38 weeks until your baby arrives (if baby arrives prior to 38 weeks I will do my absolute best to attend you still)
  • Continuous care during labor and birth
  • Helping to create and maintain a calm, peaceful and supportive birth environment for mom, partner and baby
  • Use of HypnoBirthing® techniques, even if you didn’t attend classes, if desired
  • Assistance with position changes
  • Some photography during labor and delivery if desired

Postpartum Support:

  • Immediate postpartum assistance, including breastfeeding support if needed
  • One in-home post birth meeting to discuss your birth experience and assistance with babywearing, breastfeeding, newborn care advice, and referrals.
  • Suggestions for valuable local postpartum and parenting resources
  • Receipt for services to submit to your insurance company to attempt partial or full reimbursement
  • Ongoing indefinite support via phone or email

Investment starts at $900

Ready for the support of a Doula?