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  #1  
January 28th, 2009, 05:35 AM
Husher's Avatar B & E complete me.
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: NH
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Recently we've had quite a few new members (YAY!) and I know some of them may be interested in hiring a doula and have questions as to how a doula could be a benefit to them. So this thread is for Q&A for both doulas and those in training and other members who have questions.

If you are a doula and want to share some of the benefits and/or studies on the benefits or anything else along those lines, please do!

Thanks ladies!
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  #2  
January 28th, 2009, 06:02 AM
DoulaMama's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Location: Florida
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I'm here! I'll do a bit of a bio about myself so everyone will know who they're getting advice from.

I'm Cheryl, married to Rob, and I am a birth doula and student midwife. I work for a birth center as a doula (for their clients and also for clients elsewhere) I do about 50% out of hospital births, 50% hospital births, although it veries. I have had recurrent loss and I see a fertility Dr, and I have no living children. I'm very open, non-judgemental and try to support the moms and families I care for unconditionally. In addition to birth doula work I also do some secretarial things at the BC one night a week, and I host our open house, as well as being trained to step in and birth assist once in a while.

I look forward to your questions!
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Cheryl, mama to Noah Paul born 12/26/09, wife to wonderful hubby Rob
I am proudly a homebirthing, excluively breastfeeding from the tap, constantly babywearing, bed sharing, attached mama to a high needs baby. He is a part time diaper-free baby!

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  #3  
January 28th, 2009, 09:58 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Illinois
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Thanks Cindy for starting this thread! I have some questions to ask of moms who have used doulas and for doulas or doulas-in-training themselves...

A little disclaimer: I'm a first timer and don't know anyone IRL who has used a doula, in fact I had to try and explain to my MIL what a doula was because she stopped us in mid-sentence last weekend and said "I don't understand what you are saying" when we told her we were thinking about using one. :-)

So my questions...

I'm getting ready to meet my potential doula in person soon and I'm wondering what kinds of things should I be aware of? Do I look for a personal, almost similiar to a friendship like relationship with a doula? Or is it more of a service provider relationship?

Are there things that I would want to avoid in a doula? Any red-flag types of things?

If the doula is or has been supportive of medicated/assisted births, does that mean that she won't be able to fully support me in a decision to go completely natural?

Is it difficult on a doula to assist with a labor in a hospital and with doctors and nurses that she's never been around before?

Those are all I can think of right now, but I may be back with more. :-)

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  #4  
January 28th, 2009, 10:05 AM
ShaunaB's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Location: San Francisco
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I am just beginning my training as a doula (start my classwork March 2nd) but I have been reading a lot so I'll share some of the statistical information about the benefits of having a doula.

There have been quite a few randomized studies all over the world about the benefits of a doula to mother and baby. Those benefits of having continuous labor support include:

Shorter length of labor (reduces overall length by 25%)
Much higher chances of having a natural vaginal delivery
Less need for oxytocin/Pitocin to augment labor (reduces overall use by 50%)
Reduces need/request for epidural (reduced overall requests by up to 60%)
Less need for other pain medication (reduces overall use by 31%)
Less use of forceps in delivery (reduces overall need 34%)
Lower incidence of c-section (reduces overall rate by 45%)
Lower incidence of mother developing a fever during labor thus babies need to stay in hospital less time

Even post partum the benefits keep coming. Women who had a doula report less anxiety and depression at 6 weeks postpartum, and greater self-esteem. They take much less time to develop a close bond with their baby, an average of 2.9 days compared to 9.8 days for women without a doula. They have a higher success rate with breastfeeding. They typically have a good or better relationship with their partners postpartum. And this is fascinating....their attitudes towards their babies are that they cry less than others, are more special, are easier to manage, and are more clever and beautiful. Women who did not have a doula report these attitudes/feelings less.

I just love this stuff! And this is all statistics and cold facts, which pales in comparison to the real loving care a women feels from her doula. I am so excited to be on the path to becoming a doula and helping women have a wonderful total birth experience.

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  #5  
January 28th, 2009, 10:47 AM
NutMeg76's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I was thinking of getting a doula, especially if i had to have an OB attend this birth. I wanted an advocate, someone who would help me stand up for myself better than I did last time. I still see a value in a doula, but wonder if I still 'need' one?

THe midwives I have provide continuous support. They will stay with me from when we arrive until a few hours after birth. They only take 5-6 patients a month, so one of them can be with the client at all times. I know part of the idea behind a doula is to have someone with you the entire time since the way obstetrics is now usually means a woman is left for hours alone in the room with her pain and fears. having a good attentive midwife that I trust and have a great relationship with is in my mind the same as a doula, right? They normally do home births, of course I can't have one, but I guess I added that to give an idea of their mindset.
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  #6  
January 28th, 2009, 10:54 AM
ShaunaB's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Meghan, if the extra midwife can give continuous support then perhaps you don't need a doula. But most midwives will need to take care of the medical side of things, while a doula is there to hold your hand, apply accupressure, support you in positions to ease labor pain, and be there for your overall mental health. If a midwife can give you that kind of continuous support, then you may be all set.
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  #7  
January 28th, 2009, 11:38 AM
NutMeg76's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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From what my midwife was saying at our initial consultation, they really don't so 'medical' stuff. They don't even check you during labor unless you request it. If a woman thinks it is time to push, then they push, since most of their births are un-medicated they believe the woman when she tells them it is time.

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  #8  
January 28th, 2009, 03:01 PM
moon~maiden's Avatar Cheryl~ birth truster
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Location: south eastern Mass
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^^because I know of your midwives, you may be able to go without a Doula. Or you could find a student who is looking for births for certification if money is an issue. I would just ask them as well.

My friends who had a homebirth with your midwives ended up with My Doula at their birth b/c she is studying under them for her midwife certification. (we met through her as she taught our childbirth classes- we were not in the same class, they were after us, but she always does a dinner at the end of a round of classes and always has the parents from the previous class bring their babies. It was an awesome experience both times!) So something like that could happen for you!

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  #9  
January 28th, 2009, 03:05 PM
NutMeg76's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I really feel so blessed to be able to have Louise or Pam attend my birth.
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  #10  
January 28th, 2009, 05:51 PM
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Hey guys! I'm a doula I'd be glad to pop in here and help occasionally! I have to get off right now to put the kids to bed, but I'll check back in!
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  #11  
January 28th, 2009, 07:06 PM
Radish4ever's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Meghan, with my midwives I feel no need to have a doula - they work together and also have an apprentice around - I always feel well-cared for and I also have my Bradley-trained DH if I need him

Quote:
I'm getting ready to meet my potential doula in person soon and I'm wondering what kinds of things should I be aware of? Do I look for a personal, almost similiar to a friendship like relationship with a doula? Or is it more of a service provider relationship?[/b]
I would certainly make sure you have some chemistry - As a doula, I really become like close close aquantances or friends with all of fmy clients. I'm never just "staff", ykwim? It's very important that this person is able to help you and communicate with you with no barriers - they'll be the ones rubbing your back, saying soothing and calming things in your ear, holding your hand, holding your hair back if you puke, etc You need to feel a connection!

Quote:
Are there things that I would want to avoid in a doula? Any red-flag types of things?[/b]
I would say that if the doula is pushing a birth agenda, go the other way! While my clients realize that I personally prefer natural birth, they are WELL aware that I support ALL births and that I am there for THEM. My job is to educate, inform, support, and assist in whatever ways I can. If she's pushy about natural birth or pushy about drugs or something....go with your gut!

Quote:
If the doula is or has been supportive of medicated/assisted births, does that mean that she won't be able to fully support me in a decision to go completely natural?[/b]
Most doulas that I know actually prefer natural births and feel more useful in that situation. Just because she has supported mothers or has herself had a medicated birth, that doesn't mean that she can't assist in a natural birth. Most doula training programs really emphasize the risks and benefits of every intervention, so many doulas are very turned off by heavy medicalized births, but again they are HIRED to HELP THE MOM no matter what the choices she makes end up being..

Quote:
Is it difficult on a doula to assist with a labor in a hospital and with doctors and nurses that she's never been around before?[/b]
Not really. Imagine her as more of a friend or sister that happened to come along to help. Her job is NOT to talk to the staff for you at all. As a matter of fact, if a doula speaks on your behalf when you are perfectly capable, she's going outside of her scope a bit! It can be uncomfortable at times if the staff perceives the doula as a threat (as in SHE is the reason that the patient isn't going by normal protocol such as IV, Pitocin, Epidural, Episiotomy, etc), but again, she is there hired to HELP YOU. She should provide some good prenatal information that should help empower you to stand up for yourself in your situation.
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  #12  
January 28th, 2009, 09:04 PM
moon~maiden's Avatar Cheryl~ birth truster
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I do think that chemistry is the #1 thing for you to look for with your doula. Vibes are even more important than experience or knowledge. She can always look stuff up later or whatever, but if you guys don't have a connection that is no guarantee to happen. If that make sense, I am tired. lol

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  #13  
January 29th, 2009, 08:40 AM
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I had a doula for my birth with midwives. My doula came to my house and helped me labor at home before heading to the hospital. She was a wonderful support for me during my labor. Most importantly, she gave my dh a break. She would walk around the hall with me endlessly. She and the midwife would bounce ideas off each other to help my labor progress. It was sort of cute actually – I remember my doula saying, “What about getting her in the shower? How about getting the squatting out and letting her take some contractions on that?” The midwife was always agreeable. My midwife was awesome but she did need time to attend to hospital stuff like charting, etc. In addition, my labor was very long so she needed a break now and then to rest. As it turned out, I arrived at the hospital in the middle of the night and my midwife had been up for a birth the previous night so it’s not wonder she needed a break now and then!

I doula-ed for a friend of mind a couple weekends ago with the same midwife. I tried to do for her exactly what my doula did for me. She labored in the hospital for 24 hours so we all needed to take turns taking breaks.

I know doulas are not cheap in my area so I used a doula working on her certification. I totally trusted my midwife so I knew I didn’t need to worry about her pushing unnecessary intervention on me and I didn’t need someone to keep the staff away from me. I just needed someone to be there for me during that time. It was a perfect situation. I’m not a trained doula so I like to think I served a similar function for my friend.


Quote:
I'm getting ready to meet my potential doula in person soon and I'm wondering what kinds of things should I be aware of? Do I look for a personal, almost similiar to a friendship like relationship with a doula? Or is it more of a service provider relationship?[/b]
You really want someone that you click with – someone who makes you feel comfortable, This woman will be with you during one of your most personal experiences! If you interview a couple different doulas, one may stand out. Or ask around for a recommendation. You may find a doula that has worked with your care provider and/or hospital before and knows the ropes there which is a bonus. Ideally a doula can work in any environment but some hospitals are more doula-friendly than others. She may have info on your hospital or birthing center. If you are planning to use a certain method (Lamaze, Bradley Hypnosis, etc), find out her thoughts about them. Don’t forget that she is a resource for questions and concerns. She can help you figure out what’s normal and what you need to call your care provider for.
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  #14  
January 29th, 2009, 02:59 PM
DoulaMama's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
A little disclaimer: I'm a first timer and don't know anyone IRL who has used a doula, in fact I had to try and explain to my MIL what a doula was because she stopped us in mid-sentence last weekend and said "I don't understand what you are saying" when we told her we were thinking about using one. :-)

So my questions...

I'm getting ready to meet my potential doula in person soon and I'm wondering what kinds of things should I be aware of? Do I look for a personal, almost similiar to a friendship like relationship with a doula? Or is it more of a service provider relationship?

somewhere in the middle- don't expect to have her be like a doctor, or to be best friends, but it is a special type of relationship, and a really unique bond.


Are there things that I would want to avoid in a doula? Any red-flag types of things?

trust your gut, also- if a doula is giving medical advice (and is not a medical professional) that is a red flag to me. There is a big difference in educating and directing. Also- just watch her personality- is she gentle, compassionate and a listener? Those are super important traits imo.

If the doula is or has been supportive of medicated/assisted births, does that mean that she won't be able to fully support me in a decision to go completely natural?

Nope! But I would ask, b/c some doulas have a preference. My doula philosophy is "unconditional, judgement free support"

Is it difficult on a doula to assist with a labor in a hospital and with doctors and nurses that she's never been around before?

not really, especially if she has a good network. I do feel it can help (a tiny bit) to be familiar with the doctors, but it doesn't matter if that experience is firsthand or was passed on from another doula or birthworker.

Those are all I can think of right now, but I may be back with more. :-)[/b]
it sounds like your MIL is afraid someone will come and take "her job"

anyhow- my answers are in purple. hope that helps

Quote:
I was thinking of getting a doula, especially if i had to have an OB attend this birth. I wanted an advocate, someone who would help me stand up for myself better than I did last time. I still see a value in a doula, but wonder if I still 'need' one?

THe midwives I have provide continuous support. They will stay with me from when we arrive until a few hours after birth. They only take 5-6 patients a month, so one of them can be with the client at all times. I know part of the idea behind a doula is to have someone with you the entire time since the way obstetrics is now usually means a woman is left for hours alone in the room with her pain and fears. having a good attentive midwife that I trust and have a great relationship with is in my mind the same as a doula, right? They normally do home births, of course I can't have one, but I guess I added that to give an idea of their mindset.[/b]
talk to your midwives for sure, they may able to give you more advice/guidence. As a doula about 50% of my clients are at home or in a birthing center, and I never feel redundant, and I know that the families, and the midwives as well, are really glad to have me there. I have a roll that is unique, as does the midwife- although sometimes we overlap a tiny bit. I feel that there is never too much support.
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Cheryl, mama to Noah Paul born 12/26/09, wife to wonderful hubby Rob
I am proudly a homebirthing, excluively breastfeeding from the tap, constantly babywearing, bed sharing, attached mama to a high needs baby. He is a part time diaper-free baby!

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  #15  
January 29th, 2009, 10:17 PM
*Anna*'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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As a doula, what do you wear during the birth? Just curious. I hired a doula for my birth, and I am looking into training now.
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  #16  
January 29th, 2009, 10:44 PM
Radish4ever's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I wear normal, comfortable clothes! I don't wear scrubs because I don't want flack from the hospital staffff and I am not a medical professional - I am a labor support person trained to assist the mother physically and emotionally!

For my last 2, I wore jeans and a t-shirt... the one before that I wore some yoga pants and a long sleeved shirt.

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  #17  
January 30th, 2009, 08:29 AM
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Location: Illinois
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Thank you so much doulas and BTDT moms for your advice!!

I have an appointment tonight to meet with a doula for the first time in person and your comments gave me a lot of good things to keep in mind and watch for. I don't really have a lot of options as far as interviewing doulas because there aren't any close to me and apparently aren't very many that would like to travel to me (oh the joys of living in rural America), so I'm really crossing my fingers that everything goes well tonight and that everyone gets along great.

Oh yeah, and about my MIL, the fact that she didn't know what the word "doula" meant didn't really surprise me, especially since she didn't know what "La Leche League" meant, I think she told me that she thought it was something to do with latching, until I told her "leche" was actually "milk". She did however birth all of her kids naturally, but I'm not sure if that was because hospitals just didn't give you anything back in the day, or she was scared of needles, or what. I've already warned her about my intent to cloth diaper, and she didn't ask what that meant, so maybe there's hope with that one. But if she ever does watch our little one, she'll definitely be getting the BG 3.0s.
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  #18  
January 30th, 2009, 04:17 PM
DoulaMama's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I wear a birthy/doula-ish shirt over a long sleeved shirt with a jacket and black pants with nice looking sneakers and a bun for hospital births, for homebirths I don't usually need so many layers, and I generallly wear a birth center tee shirt for those, and brown pants, plus the bun. I don't wear jeans, b/c I find it harder to move and also b/c I think the black pants look better. They're a linen pant.



oh, and good luck stef!
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Cheryl, mama to Noah Paul born 12/26/09, wife to wonderful hubby Rob
I am proudly a homebirthing, excluively breastfeeding from the tap, constantly babywearing, bed sharing, attached mama to a high needs baby. He is a part time diaper-free baby!

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  #19  
January 30th, 2009, 04:27 PM
mgm78's Avatar Zoe's mom Meredith
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hypothetically speaking, if someone were on a budget, how would you find a doula or midwife in training to do a reduced cost attendance? There is a midwife school near me, Univ of Pennsylvania. One of my patients is a student midwife, but that seems too personal for me I treat her whole family
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  #20  
January 30th, 2009, 04:44 PM
Radish4ever's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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There are tons of sites you can check out for doulas in training I suggest www.findadoula.com www.doulamatch.net http://www.breastfeeding.com/directory/dou...nnsylvania.html

Most doulas are very flexible with working out payment plans as well (midwives too!)
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