What is a Doula?


What a Doula Is

From EvidenceBasedBirth.com: 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 and her partner
~ 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

What a Doula Is NOT

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 on a regular basis
 
*Sometimes people think that they don’t need a Doula because their partner will be with them continuously throughout labor. Your partner is an essential support person for you to have by your side. However, your partner will need to eat and use the bathroom at times, maybe even sleep. Also, most partners have limited knowledge about birth, medical procedures, or what goes on in a hospital. Your partner knows you well. I know birth well. Together, we make the perfect team!

Jon (Dad) says: “Nothing can replace having an expert and advocate at your wife’s bedside during the birth and that’s exactly what Rose was.”

 

Read what my clients are saying!

Okay, but why do I need one?

Numerous studies (and our own personal experience!) have shown that
having a Doula present at birth:
~ tends to result in shorter labors
~ increases positive feelings about the childbirth experience
~ results in more births free of complications and interventions
~ increases parents ability to work with their care providers on following their birth plan
~ allows birth partner to feel confident that they can focus on Mom
and don’t have to “remember everything” or “do it all”
Research shows parents who receive support:
~ Feel more secure and cared for
~ Are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
~ Have greater success with breastfeeding
~ Have greater self-confidence
~ Report fewer instances of postpartum depression

Find out more!


Doula in DC
Doula in DC

What do the fees cover?

Many people ask about the breakdown of professional labor support fees. I offer this information so that you’ll have a better idea of what your money is paying for.
HOURS
While some births can be short, some can last much longer! The average time I spend with a woman for her birth is about 12 hours. I spend at least another 4 hours in prenatal and post partum meetings. Phone calls, individual research and responding to e-mails often adds another 2-3 hours per client.
BOOKING
When I make a commitment to be available to attend you during birth, I limit the number of clients I put on my calendar to avoid conflicts and to ensure that I am reasonably rested when you need me. I try to schedule only two to four clients per month. When I put your due date on my calendar, I commit to being available two weeks beforehand and two to three weeks after that date. This means that when I schedule a week-long vacation, I have to add four weeks during which I cannot accept clients.
SELF-EMPLOYMENT
The rule of thumb is that a self-employed professional’s income is only half of what they earn, after deductions for vacation and sick time, self employment taxes, health insurance, and business expenses. Communication expenses are high for a Doula, cell phone, a web site, and a computer with a high-speed Internet connection are necessary. I also have routine professional and office expenses and unusual transportation and supplies expenses. In addition, there are supplies I bring with me to your birth and make available at appointments and interviews.
Doula in DC
TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE
It’s important to me to keep up with all of the most current information. In order to attend conferences and training opportunities, I often have to limit the number of clients I can accept around the time I will be unavailable, thereby reducing the number of clients I can work with each year. In addition, these trainings cost money. Some are quite expensive, but I see them at necessary to maintain good professional standing.
INTANGIBLES
Being on-call requires a very high level of personal sacrifice, including a willingness to be awakened after half an hour of sleep to go attend a labor for the next 40 hours. Personal family events are frequently
missed or interrupted for births. I am constantly aware that I might need my family to rearrange their plans and miss their own activities if I go to a birth. Trips away from home have to be planned carefully, and even local appointments have to be planned around traffic conditions so that I’m never too far away when a client calls in labor. Being a doula in DC is challenging, rewarding work!

Areas I Serve

Washington DC doulaSilver Spring; Doula in Rockville; NOVA Doula; Bethesda Doula; Potomac; Gaithersburg Doula; Montgomery Village; Kentlands; Germantown Doula; Alexandria; Arlington; McLean; Reston; Montgomery County; Fairfax County