Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS A DOULA?
A doula acts as an integral part of your support network before, during and after birth. They are defined as a non-medical support person, who provides important emotional and physical care and encouragement for birthing families. They provide ongoing continuous support throughout your pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum period. A doula will offer you various tools and techniques to ease discomfort, reduce anxiety and advocate for you in your decisions throughout birth. They also can provide you with informational support, to ensure you make informed decisions that suit your baby, your body and your birth. Head to this blog post to read more.
HOW IS A DOULA DIFFERENT TO A MIDWIFE?
Although there are some similarities between a doula and a midwife, the two professions are defined by their medical capabilities. Whilst a midwife has medical and clinical expertise and knowledge, a doula doesn’t. Whilst a midwife has the ability to offer continuous care, that isn’t always the case, especially when they work under a hospital. A doula on the other hand, can offer continuous support, as they are hired directly by the birthing family. Some midwives have the expertise to offer physical and emotional support, but often they are on a time limit and dictated by hospital policy and procedures. A doula on the other hand, only has one job – to support you no matter what. A doula is there purely for your comfort and support, whereas a midwife often is in charge of medical and clinical tasks as well as caring for the mother and baby.
HOW MUCH DOES A DOULA COST?
Each doula will differ in their prices, and have a variety of things they can offer. Each have different experiences and different packages. Some may include other skills, such as Hypnobirthing, massage, pilates, aromatherapy, yoga etc. Some may offer only pregnancy and birth, while others may include postpartum support as well. It is up to you to pick what package suits you. To find out my pricing please head to the services page and see my different package options.
WHAT DOES A DOULA DO POSTPARTUM?
Postpartum support can include such things as breastfeeding advice, birth debriefing, food preparation, housekeeping, and all importantly time and support in caring for your new little bundle. This can be discussed further and customised to suit your family. Head to my services page to find out more.
DO YOU OFFER BIRTH CLASSES?
Not at the moment. Although I will be looking at adding this to my repertoire later on. I would highly recommend you and your birth partner attend classes outside of your hospital as they are often more in depth and detailed. There are a some excellent Hypnobirthing Australia birth education classes that I can recommend though.
HOW LONG WILL YOU STAY FOR THE BIRTH?
Most doulas will stay approximately 15 hours before they need to call their fill in. This is dependent on the birth and the relationship you have with your doula. This can be discussed in the initial meeting and is open for customisation. However, it is important to note that a doula is there to support you. If your doula is tired, then they will not be able to effectively help you through your birth. Again this is all dependant on the doula, the birthing family and the type of birth you end up having.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF DOULAS?
Head over to my blog to read more about doulas.
CAN A DOULA HELP REDUCE PAIN?
One of the main reasons why doulas are used in birth is because they have the ability to reduce pain or discomfort in the birthing woman. How does this happen? A doula can help reduce physical discomfort with the use of massage, Rebozo techniques and acupressure. Emotionally, doulas help by often using essential oils to create a calm atmosphere and affirmations to help encourage and inspire the birthing woman. Research has shown that the fact that doulas have built a strong relationship with their birthing families, that just their general presence helps reduce stress and anxiety. It is important to note, that pain is subjective. Each woman will experience it differently and respond differently to each technique. That is why it is important for the birthing couple and doula to build on their relationship early on in pregnancy, so that the doula knows what the mother needs and wants during birth.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED A DOULA?
Head to my blog to find out the questions you should be asking to see if you need a doula.
HOW MANY APPOINTMENTS WILL WE HAVE?
An average of 3 appointments pre-birth and 2 appointments post-birth. Please head to my services page for more information on this.
WHAT ARE YOUR CREDITIALS?
I have completed my training with Vicki Hobbs and her Doula Training Academy. Head to her page to find out more. I am also a member of the Doula Network Australia.
WHAT DOES CONTINUITY OF CARE MEAN?
Head to my blog to find out more about this.
WHEN SHOULD I USE A DOULA?
In order to give your birth the best chance to be what you want it to be, you should ideally be building a relationship with your doula from early on in your pregnancy. A strong relationship between a birthing family and a doula is paramount for a positive birthing experience. So booking a doula around the end of your 1st trimester, would be ideal. However, you can book a doula at ANY time throughout your pregnancy, depending on your situation.
HOW DO I CONTACT YOU?
WHAT IS THE EVIDENCE BEHIND USING A DOULA?
According to the highly accredited organisation, Evidence Based Birth, a Cochrane Review on doulas found that women who had continuous support were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals, negative feelings about childbirth, assisted delivery, and Caesarean sections. Have a read further about the evidence behind doulas here.
WHERE CAN I BIRTH?
Depending on your situation and where you live you can birth at:
WHAT ARE MY BIRTH OPTIONS?
The main birth options are:
MGP – midwifery led care
CMP – community midwifery program
Family Birth Centre – KEMH
Birth centre – Fiona Stanley
Public hospitals – all care or shared care options
Private hospitals – obstetrician lead options
WHAT HAPPENS IN AN EMERGENCY?
In the event of an emergency the course of action will be slightly different depending on where you are birthing. If for example you are birthing at a hospital, your midwife, doctor or the hospital staff will take charge in a true emergency. If you are birthing at home, then your midwife will most likely call an ambulance and they will take you to the nearest hospital. A doulas job during a true emergency, is to help where they legally can and provide emotional support to the birth partner or family at the birth. It is important to be aware of the type of emergencies that can happen in birth, but also to be aware to know the difference between a true emergency and other common delays in birth such as “failure to progress”. Head to my blog to read more about this.