What is a doula and what does a doula do?
The word, doula, is a Greek word that means, “woman’s servant” or “handmaiden.” For longer than we can imagine, women have birthed their babies surrounded by women who were mothers themselves or witnessed birth, and were experienced in pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. They were elders, aunts, cousins, mothers, sisters and the like. In today’s birthing environment, the doula is a women who possesses a large amount of knowledge about labor and birth and supports the laboring woman and her partner as they transition through the final stages of pregnancy and the birth process into parenthood.
A birth doula…
- believes in the birth process and works to impart that same confidence to her clients
- recognizes birth as a key life experience that the mother will remember all her life and strives to preserve that memory in a positive way
- understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
- assists the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plans for the birth
- stays by the side of the laboring woman throughout the entire labor
- provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, and reminds the couple of their options throughout labor
- preserves and complements the partner’s role in the birth, encouraging them to support
the laboring woman as they are most comfortable and supporting them as they do so
- offers an objective viewpoint and assistance to the woman in getting the information she needs to make informed decisions about her care
- advocates for the woman by facilitating communication between the her and her partner, and her clinical care providers
- strives to facilitate labor progress by maintaining a calm labor environment with lighting
and music and minimal distractions
A doula does not…
- perform clinical tasks, such as vaginal exams or fetal heart rate monitoring. However, I WILL provide physical and emotional support to you and your partner.
- make decisions for you. However, I WILL help you get the information you need to make an informed decision about your care. I will also remind you of your wishes as outlined in your birth plan.
- speak to the medical staff on your behalf. However, I WILL listen to your concerns and review options with you that you and your partner can discuss with the clinical staff.
- replace the father during labor. However, I WILL support and encourage the father and enhance his support style rather than replace it.
Birth Services and Fees
- one free initial consultation for a chance to meet in person, get answers to questions you might have, and to see if we are a good fit together
- one prenatal meeting to discuss your pregnancy, your plans for your birth, and any concerns you may have
- help creating a birth plan, if needed
- access to my lending library filled with pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and parenting books, videos and dvds
- community referrals and resources, if needed, to assist you in pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and newborn care
- ongoing telephone and e-mail support from date of hire to the postpartum visit (and beyond!)
- use of a birth ball before and during labor
- 24-hour on-call availability three weeks before your due date until delivery
- continuous labor support in your home, hospital, or birth center (or a combination)
- immediate postpartum support for 60-90 minutes following the birth, including assistance in breastfeeding
- photos during labor and delivery, if desired
- a postpartum visit to discuss the birth, welcome the baby, and help with any issues you may have
- a typed birth story on stationary that details the events of the labor and birth of your baby
- a backup doula, if necessary
Please contact me as soon as you decide you might be interested in a having the support of a doula because I try to maintain no more than four clients a month, with occasional exceptions depending on circumstances. I realize choosing a doula is a personal decision and I do everything within my power to be available for my clients when they request me. With that being said, I do provide a backup doula in the event I cannot make it to a birth. And I encourage my clients to contact or meet with her beforehand to insure they are comfortable with her.
My fee is $1,050, broken down into two separate payments: a $525 retainer and signed agreement due upon hire, and $525 due by 35 weeks or at the prenatal visit, securing my on-call status for you. (Please note there is a $100 travel fee added to the deposit for clients living outside the 20-mile radius of the Town Center area of Virginia Beach in areas like Suffolk, Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg and the like.)
I am happy to offer $100 discount to repeat clients in appreciation for your continued business.
However, please do not let finances determine whether or not you have a doula present at your birth. I believe every women deserves a doula if she wants one. Together, we can work something out. And if I am unable to serve you I will do my best to find a doula who can.
My Upcoming-Travel Plans are the Following: July 22 – 29, 2017.
Any births that occur during these time frames will have a backup doula in attendance. I am happy to provide her contact information upon request in the event you would like to meet her or reach out to her beforehand.