The Extraordinary Bond between Mother’s and Babies
Side-lying Breast Feeding
At what point in my pregnancy should I contact a doula?
The earlier the better! Although the benefits of having a doula for your birth will be the same whether you contact her at 12 weeks or at 35 weeks, the difference in finding your doula early in pregnancy is that you’ll have someone you know that you can call on with those “Is this normal?” or “What does this mean?” sort of phone calls throughout your pregnancy.
As well, the longer you have known your doula, the more of a relationship you will build. Furthermore, I tend to book up very quickly, so it is a good idea to contact me soon so that I can be sure to be available for you. With that said, there is no such thing as “too late” to find a doula. You will benefit from doula support, whether you have known your doula for months, or merely days.
I have a great doctor or midwife and will have a nurse. Do I really need a doula, too?
Doulas, doctors, midwives, and nurses all take on separate and unique roles in supporting birth. Each one is an important part of the birth team, and all work together to help the laboring woman have a healthy and positive experience. The nurse is responsible for charting, monitoring, and reporting to the doctor or midwife, sometimes for several patients at once. Physicians and midwives are highly trained as medical experts and are responsible for monitoring the safety of the mother and baby during labor and delivery. A doula remains a constant presence throughout labor, focusing entirely on providing comfort for the laboring mom and her partner. A doula’s job is not to replace any part of the medical team, but to complement their roles by providing constant support and information to the mom and her partner.
I am already taking childbirth classes. Why would I need a doula?
Doulas are intended to enhance – not replace – the services of your childbirth instructor. Your doula will be with you to remind you at appropriate times during labor of the things you have already learned in childbirth class.
Do I need a doula if I already have someone (my mom, my partner, my friend) to be with me during my labor and birth?
It is certainly wonderful for a laboring woman to have the presence of others who love her. A doula will enhance the support that others will provide, without being intrusive. Often, your doula has a level of knowledge and experience that your partner may not. Additionally, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, and dear friends each have their own emotional response to seeing the woman they love experience labor, and to welcome this new child into their lives. A doula will respect that this is a special moment for each person, and will gently provide encouragement, information, and reassurance that will help a woman’s loved ones offer their support in a way that also respects the laboring woman’s needs.
I’m not sure that I want a “stranger” in the delivery room with me. Isn’t birth supposed to be private?
Birth is an intimate experience, and the doula is a professional who will respect your wishes regarding privacy and modesty. Many women and their partners report feeling more secure due to the presence of a doula.
I’m not sure yet what choices I’ll make in labor. Do I need a doula if I might have an epidural? What if I have to have a Cesarean birth?
A doula’s goal is to help you have the best birth experience possible, however, you define it. If using pain medication is an option you are considering during labor, your doula will help you make an informed choice about what’s best for you and your baby at the moment. Your doula will support you and your partner in the early stages of labor before an epidural can be considered, continue to provide support in whatever way is needed throughout labor and help you avoid further intervention. If your caregiver suggests a cesarean, your doula will help you be as informed as possible about the surgery and the post-partum recovery. your doula will guide you in asking questions that will help you gather necessary information about the reasons your caregiver recommends a cesarean, the risks and benefits relative to your particular situation, and any alternatives you may have. In this case, you will likely make an informed decision and will, therefore, be more satisfied with a surgical outcome. She will also help to reinforce that even though a cesarean may not have been your goal, you are still giving birth. She will celebrate with you, and facilitate closeness between the new family.
Are the costs of your services covered by insurance?
As more woman are choosing doulas as part of the birth team, and more research is being done proving the benefits of doula care, more insurance companies are covering the cost of doula service. Many insurance providers also cover the cost of childbirth classes, whether those classes are private or in-hospital. All receipts and information you need for filing for insurance reimbursement will gladly be provided.
Classes or Resources
Birthways – birthways.org
BABE – Bay Area Birth Education – bayareabirtheducation.com
Group B Strep
Breastfeeding information & support sites & organizations:
New Mom Resources:
Active Birth ~ Janet Balaskas – Purchase Here
A clearly illustrated guide to labor and birthing positions, for maximum comfort and efficiency of pregnancy and birthing.
The Baby Book ~ William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N. – Purchase Here
This book effectively answers any parenting question that might occur in the first two years, while considering the latest medical research and advocating gentle parenting.
The Birth Book ~ William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N. – Purchase Here
Bill and Martha Sears are uniquely qualified to answer every question you might have about the birth process, including childbirth preparation, choosing your birthplace and your birth team.
Birthing From Within ~ Pam England and Rob Horowitz – Purchase Here
Different than other informative childbirth preparation guidebooks, Pam England offers creative ways for birthing women to discover their own strengths and needs for birth and afterward.
Breastfeeding Mother, Working Mother ~ Gale Pryor – Purchase Here
A wonderful, supportive guide for working mothers who want to continue breastfeeding after returning to work. Covers the information that a working mother needs to know about the basics of breastfeeding and much more.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth ~ Ina May Gaskin – Purchase Here
Midwife Ina May’s experience and insights that she brought to Spiritual Midwifery are updated for a new generation in Ina May’s Guide. This is a great source of positive birth stories and contains all you need to know to create the best birth experience for you.
The Natural Pregnancy Book ~ Aviva Jill Romm – Purchase Here
Romm thoughtfully details the complete journey from conception to postpartum care, with an emphasis on natural foods and holistic remedies, and is an ideal resource for women who envision a pregnancy and birth that is both as natural and as safe as possible.
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth* ~ Henci Goer – Purchase Here
Birth activist Henci Goer gives clear, concise information based on the latest medical studies. This book helps parents compare and contrast options and to avoid unnecessary procedures.
Womanly Art of Breastfeeding ~ La Leche League International – Purchase Here
Includes the latest information and research on breastfeeding. An excellent guidebook with an abundance of parenting information. While a great resource, not recommended for cover-to-cover reading.