Simply Intuitive Birth Support

Providing Birth Doula Services to
Alexandria, Wadena,
Long Prairie, Staples
& Surrounding Central Minnesota Areas

FAQ

About Birth Doulas

  1. What is a birth doula?

    A doula is a woman who "mothers" the mother and her partner.  The word "doula" is Greek in origin and means "female servant."  A birth doula specialize in assisting at births.  She has been through special training that has taught her:

    • What to expect in labor, birth and the immediate postpartum time
    • Techniques to help deal with pain
    • Positions to help mother and baby's bodies work together during labor
    • How to emotionally support mother, partner and any other support people during that time
    • Knowledge of options that the mother may have, and how to help her get the information she needs in order to make informed decisions.
    • How to be present for the mother and her family and have no agenda of her own

    Doula's are often mothers themselves so they can empathize with where a mother is in her labor.  She keeps in mind things like:

    • When mother ate and drank last
    • When mother urinated last
    • When mother changed positions last
    • How well mother physically and emotionally seems to be handling contractions and if anything needs to change
    • If the mother's birth wishes are happening as close to her plan as possible and what else can be done to help her get the things she hopes for
    • Protect the birth space so that she feels free to do whatever she needs (low lighting, privacy, minimal conversation)

    All of these things can affect how well a woman in labor is coping and progressing.  Your doula will be with you through your whole labor to keep track of these things and observe and anticipate what your needs are next.

  2. Why would I need a doula if my partner or other support people will be at the birth?

    As stated above, a doula is there to "mother" you both.  She is watching the mother and there to support her, but also there to "mother" the partner and other support people.  Your partner and support people will benefit from a doula's presence with her ability to:

    • Comfort their fears and anxiety
    • Offer information to questions they may have
    • Show them how they can participate and help the mother
    • Make sure their physical and emotional needs are being met (relieve them if they need to step out for fresh air, get food or take a nap)

    Many times the mother is the one who is insistent about having a doula present at the birth, but after birth it is the partner that raves about how wonderful the doula was.  Check out I Challenge You To A Doula for a dad's perspective.

  3. What's the difference between a midwife and a doula?

    • A midwife is medically trained.  She catches babies, checks blood pressure, fetal heart tones, cervical dilation and is over all responsible for the health and wellbeing of mother and baby.
    • A doula is not medically trained.  She's there more for your emotional wellbeing.

    Depending on where you are birthing your midwife may or may not be able to spend time with you in labor.  Many home birth midwives will spend more time supporting you in labor but may not be there the whole time.  Hospital midwives may only be able to come in and check on you from time to time until you are ready to deliver.

    Doula's are there for you through the whole labor (be that 15 minutes or 36 hours).  During long labors they may take shifts with your support people (and sometimes other doulas) to make sure you are not alone and to make sure they themselves are taken care of (doula's need to eat too) but they don't have anywhere else to be or anyone else to care for except you and your family.

  4. Is there any research supporting the use of a birth doula?

    Yes!  Studies show that having a doula's support during labor can reduce;

    • The length of labor
    • The chances of birth by cesarean
    • The need for an epidural
    • Pitocin administration
    • Forceps or vacuum delivery

    These studies also found that women who were supported by a doula viewed their birth more positively and were happier with the outcome.

    For more information go to Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth.


  5. Will a birth doula attend hospital births?

    Yes!  In fact many birth doulas work only in hospitals.  If you are wanting a natural birth, having a doula at your hospital birth can greatly reduce your chance of interventions.  If you are unsure of what you want, a doula can help to educate you on your options and what the pros and cons are.  She can help you communicate with hospital staff and will support you in your decisions.  I personally attend hospital, birth center and home births.

  6. Will a birth doula support me if I want pain medication?

    The choice to have pain medication is yours and a birth doula respects and supports your choices.  Birth doulas are trained in non-medicated pain coping techniques such as changing positions, guided breathing, visualization, massage, & rebozo sling support.  So whether you want medication or not she is ready to assist you in whatever way is best to help you cope.

  7. Will a doula support me if I have a c-section?

    The hospitals locally only allow one support person to attend a mother having a cesarean.  Most often the mother's partner will be present for that, but in some cases the partner may not wish to attend or the mother may be alone, in which case she absolutely will be there to support the mother emotionally through the proceedure.  Doula's can be great help prenatally for those who are having a c-section.  They can offer:

    • Information on how you can make your cesarean exactly what you like (i.e. asking for delayed cord clamping or skin-to-skin in the OR)
    • If the cesarean is because of malposition a doula often has resources and information about how a breech baby can be turned (though doula's don't do this personally they can point you in the direction of professionals and information to help you try)
    • She can give you local and online resources for for any questions you might have
    • She can be at the hospital waiting for you in recovery to help you immediately after the surgery with breastfeeding and go over your experience with you
  8. What don't doulas do?

    Doula's do not:

    • Deliver babies
    • Check blood pressure,
    • Palpate the mother's belly (to determine the babies position)
    • Listen to the babies heart beat
    • Do cervical checks
    • Use medical instruments (like running fetal heat monitors or dopplers)
    • Administer medication
    • Offer medical advice (we can give information, but can not recommend what to do)
    • Talk to medical professionals on you behalf

    We will help you get what you need as best we can, but ultimately your care is up to you and your partner.  Making sure you have a healthcare professional and birth location that you are comfortable with and that you have communicated with about your wishes is the best way to ensure that your birth experience is a good one.

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