BIRTH DOULA FAQ's:
No. As your birth doula, I support both you and your partner. I help him/her be as involved in the birth to the extent he/she feels comfortable. By role~modeling, I demonstrate effective techniques that your partner can do to keep you comfortable during each stage of labor. I reassure your partner about the normal progress of labor and allow him/her the freedom to simply be with you and love you, without any pressure to "coach" you or "fix" something.
No. My support is non-medical. I do not perform any medical or clinical tasks (i.e. taking blood pressure or temperature, monitoring fetal heart rate). Unlike the nursing staff, I am there solely to comfort and support the birthing family, staying by their side from active labor until the birth of their baby.
No. I do not make decisions for you, speak to the medical staff on your behalf, or intervene in your clinical care. My role is to help you obtain (and understand) the information necessary to make good decisions about your care, so that your birthing experience will be both memorable and empowering.
No, absolutely not! I am there to support your decisions every step of the way throughout your labor, whether you choose to labor with or without pain medications. It is always your choice ~ your birth. My ultimate goal is to make sure you will have good memories of your birth. If your goal is to have a natural birth, I can be especially helpful in providing suggestions for a variety of coping techniques and comfort measures to help relax you and encourage labor progress.
Although I may no longer be needed quite as much to help you cope with your physical discomfort/pain after you get an epidural, I can certainly help minimize many undesired side effects (Epidurals do not always eliminate all sensations of pain). I continue to provide reassurance and emotional support to help you stay as calm and relaxed as possible. I offer suggestions for favorable positions to help your labor progress.
If a surgical birth is anticipated, I can be a great source of informational and especially emotional support. If permitted by your doctor, I can join your partner at your side during the surgical birth. I can remain with you in the operating room if your partner accompanies your baby to the nursery after the birth so that you are not left alone in the OR. Once settled back in your room, I can help with initial breastfeeding and family bonding.
POSTPARTUM DOULA FAQ's:
My role is very fluid, and can change from day to day, as the needs of your family changes. Some families need more educational support: breastfeeding and/or bottle feeding, infant care and infant soothing skills, how to care for the new mother etc. Other families rely more on my non-judgmental emotional support. Still others have more practical needs like laundry, meal prep, sibling support and running errands. Most families find that I provide all of these things depending on the day and the need.
During the overnight hours I can help you get restorative sleep so that you wake up more rested and refreshed to enjoy your baby. Many newborns initially have their nights and days mixed up which can be extremely challenging for new parents. Newborns also need to be fed about every 2-3 hours around the clock in the first couple of weeks. If you are breastfeeding, I will wake you when your baby needs to nurse and provide breastfeeding support as needed. As soon as you are done breastfeeding you can go right back to sleep. I will then care for all your baby's needs and comfort him/her back to sleep until you need to be wakened again. If you are pumping your breast milk, you will just need to wake during the night to pump as I will care for your baby and bottle feed your breast milk. If you are bottle~feeding formula, you will be able to get a very good night's sleep. For a mother experiencing postpartum emotional challenges, restorative sleep during the more natural time day (night time) is of utmost importance in helping her regain a sense of balance and normalcy. During the overnight hours I can also help with baby laundry, light meal prep, cleaning dishes etc.
My support can last anywhere from one or two visits to more than three months.
A Baby Nurse's role is specifically geared toward infant care. A Postpartum Doula provides excellent infant care, but her primary focus is educating and supporting parents in their new roles as well as providing breastfeeding support, emotional support, resources and referrals.
Unlike therapists or psychiatrists, I do not diagnose or treat postpartum mood disorders. However, I can help a mother navigate this challenging postpartum time by creating a safe place for her emotionally. I can relieve some of the pressures on the new mother by helping her move into her new responsibilities gradually and at her own pace. By "mothering the mother", I help make sure the mother feels nurtured and cared for, eating well and getting as much rest/sleep as possible.
No. I support the parenting approach that the family chooses. If desired, I can offer suggestions to improve the family's over-all well being, but I will always encourage parents to develop their own unique parenting philosophies.