Client’s Corner

Postpartum Doulas

Welcome, Clients, to Beautiful Beginnings Doula Organization.  Whether you are looking for long term or a short term postpartum doula, this section will help you understand what a postpartum doula can do for you and your family.

What your Doula does…

  • Your doula’s role is come to your home to teach and support you and the family during the postpartum period, (12-14 weeks).
  • Your doula provides information on comfort measures for the postpartum mom.
  • Your doula will listen to you and your partner.
  • Your doula supports Partner involvement.
  • Your doula will alert you to anything that is not normal with you or your baby.
  • Your doula follows the “Back to Sleep” and “Prone to Play” campaign.
  • Your doula will provide baby care while you take a shower, nap or eat.
  • Your doula would be happy to prepare a meal and/or drink for you.
  • Your doula supports your choice and provides up-to-date information and on breastfeeding, pumping, and bottle feeding.
  • Your doula has experience in preemie care.
  • Your doula has experience working with multiples.
  • Your doula models basic baby care and gives evidence based information.
  • Your doula is happy to work with second-time parents.
  • Your doula helps with baby related household tasks.
  • Your doula screens for mood disorders and provides appropriate referrals.
  • Your doula provides local community resources and appropriate websites.
  • Your doula is available for consultations.
  • Your doula is available for overnight support.
  • Your doula will give you a receipt each week (day to be determined) payment is expected at that time.  She will then will go over any questions you may have, changes to next week’s schedule or to end her service.
  • When your doula completes her service, you will be ready to take on the responsibilities of your baby.

Your Doula does not…

  • Administer medications or give any medical diagnosis or treatments.
  • Evaluate mother’s or baby’s medical condition.
  • Take over the care of the baby.
  • Go against your Doctor’s orders.
  • Heavy housecleaning.

Questions to ask yourself…

  • What are my expectations in hiring a doula?
  • What times and what days do I think I want support?
  • What do I want to learn while she is here?
  •  How do I learn best, i.e. watching, listening, or reading?
  • What do I, as her partner want to learn?
  • What is our budget?
  • Other questions__________________________________________________________

Questions to ask in the interview…

  • How long have you been a doula?
  • Are you certified? If so, with what organization?
  • What other credentials have you received?
  • When do your services begin postpartum?
  • This is our first baby and don’t really know anything, can you teach us what we need to know?
  • I plan on breastfeeding, is that something you have experience with?
  • I plan on bottle-feeding, what kind of formula do you recommend?
  • Are you up-to-date with your vaccinations?
  • How long do you normally stay with a family?
  • We need 24 hour care, do you do that all yourself?
  • We just need a few days is that something you do?
  • What are the three things you like to teach a family?
  • Do you like animals?
  • Can you explain a typical day with us?
  • Can you explain a typical night with us?
  • Do you sleep at night, if so, do you need additional space?
  • Is there a “back-up” doula we can meet?
  • What is your fee, and what does it include?
  • If we need to cancel our services, how much notice do you need and is there a refund policy?
  • Do you work holidays, if so, is there a rate increase and when does that time start and end?
  • Do we need to provide you with food or drinks?
  • How much notice do you need to start working with us?
  • Do you have a Contract or Letter of Agreement?
  • Do you help with siblings?
  • I just need some counseling, do you provide that?
  • We are interviewing other doulas, would you like to be notified of our decision?
  • How would you like to communicate with us?
  • What different types of services do you offer?

It is a good idea for both you and your partner to meet doula candidates to decide if they are compatible with your family. Are they kind, warm and enthusiastic? Are they knowledgeable? Do they communicate well? Are they good listeners? Are they comfortable with your choices or do they seem to have their own agenda? Do you feel at ease with them?

The way that you feel with a postpartum doula is more important than how many new families they have nurtured. You may want to interview more than one doula and make comparisons before choosing your doula.

Birth Doulas

What is labor support?

Labor is an intense physical and emotional experience. It’s comforting to be reassured that what’s happening is normal and healthy and to get feedback about your progress in labor. Some women also want comforting touch or gentle assistance moving and changing positions in labor. They may also appreciate encouragement and help communicating their wishes to their clinical caregivers. Partners or spouses may welcome guidance in supporting the woman at this time.Throughout the ages, in nearly all societies for which we have records, women have been helped and comforted in labor by other women. These women stayed throughout labor providing physical comfort, emotional reassurance, and information. Today, labor support professionals called doulas (DOO-lah; Greek for “woman who serves”) are trained to provide the comfort and care women need during labor.

Why is support in labor important to consider?

Every woman hopes for her birth experience to be as positive as possible. But women may feel that asking for support and kind treatment in labor shows they are less concerned about safety than a mother should be. In fact, planning for excellent support in labor is an effective way to make birth safer and healthier for you and your baby. Research shows that the availability of support in labor can affect your chances of having a cesarean, vacuum extraction, or forceps delivery; the likelihood that you will need pain medications; and your baby’s condition at birth. Labor support can help you avoid or reduce risks associated with these interventions. Research also shows that having good support can affect how you feel about your birth, and that memories of childbirth experiences often stay with women throughout their lives.

Would I still benefit from having a labor support companion if I think I will want an epidural or other pain medication?

Women who plan to use pain medications could also appreciate having a labor support companion for many reasons:

  • women and their partners need information and emotional support, whether they use pain medication or not; although pain may be removed with an epidural, other questions and concerns remain
  • many women do not experience pain-free labor with pain medications and will still welcome comfort measures and mental strategies to help with pain
  • when a woman labors without an epidural, the sensations in her pelvic area are a powerful guide to help her know when and how to push; epidurals reduce or sometimes remove these sensations, making it harder to push effectively; an experienced labor support companion can be a helpful guide during the pushing phase of labor in that situation
  • epidurals involve or increase the likelihood of using many other interventions to monitor, prevent, or treat adverse effects – this has been described as a cascade of intervention; a labor support companion can help you cope with those experiences
  • depending on your wishes, a trained or experienced labor companion can also help you avoid or delay medication, or use a smaller amount; this may help you avoid or limit some potential adverse effects.

How can I choose the right labor support specialist or doula for me?

If you decide that you would like to have doula care during your labor and birth, we encourage you to meet with several doulas to help you find the right person. Then, you and your partner, if you have one, can meet with those who sound like good possibilities. These inquiries will help you select a doula. They’re also a great way to learn about maternity care options in your community and to help clarify your own maternity needs and preferences.

What should I ask myself about the experience of meeting with a doula?

When you speak and meet with a doula, ask yourself how you feel about the experience:

  • Does she seem knowledgeable?
  • Is she a good listener?
  • Does she respect my vision for my maternity care and birth?
  • Is her personality a good match for me, and for my partner?

This person will be working intimately with you and your family through one of the most important times of your life. It is worth the effort to take the time to choose carefully.

Background, Education, Philosophy

What is your education for providing labor support?
Are you certified by a labor support training program?
How long have you been in practice?
How many births have you attended?
Do you have education and experience providing any other type of care for childbearing women, such as childbirth education, midwifery care, nursing care, breastfeeding support, or postpartum doula support?
How do you view your role at the birth?
If you were looking for a doula to be with you at your birth, what would you look for?

Practice Organization

What arrangements do you have for back-up if you are not available to attend my birth?
Can I meet the individual who may be backing you up and providing doula services for me in labor?
Do you know of anything now that may cause you to be unavailable around the time of my birth?
Do you have any other clients who are due around that time?

Cost

What are your fees?
Are there any possible extra costs I should know about?
Do you have any experience with reimbursement from health insurance plans?
Do you accept alternate payment arrangements, such as sliding scale, time payments, or barter?

Services

Would you meet with me/us before the birth to discuss our preferences and concerns?
What services do you provide during labor and birth?
What do you bring with you?
How do you help women cope with labor pain?
How do you feel about ———–? (Ask here about any concerns or preferences that may be on your mind, such as pain/comfort issues, or the role of your partner.)
When would you come to be with me in labor? How long would you stay after the birth?
Do you provide any services in the postpartum period? What about reviewing my labor and birth experiences or helping me with breastfeeding?
Are you available by phone? In person? Note: some labor doulas also work as postpartum doulas and offer care after the birth. This may include breastfeeding support, light housekeeping, errands, and help caring for older children as well as the new baby.
How would my partner/husband fit in?
What do you see as your greatest strengths?
Have you provided doula services for other women who have given birth at (the place where I plan to give birth)? (If yes:) What was that experience like?

Referrals

May I please have the names of some women who have recently worked with you as their doula, for reference purposes?