Monday, July 30, 2012

Hiring a Doula for your labor

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What is a doula?  It is from the Ancient Greek word δούλη meaning female servant or slave.  In practice, it is a non medical person that assists the mother and partner during the labor process through supporting them with assistance, encouragement and suggestions for comfort.   

There are also studies that show that having a doula also has other studied benefits for the health of the mother and baby. With the support of a doula, women were less likely to have pain relief medications administered, less likely to have a cesarean birth, and reported having a more positive childbirth experience1. According to Mary Sommers (CBE, IBCLC, CPM) doulas are like weatherman, they read the signs and patterns of labor and can give guidance according to what is happening... [to help the mother through the labor] without the cascade of side effects from getting intervention.  

There is factual evidence of this in studies have shown that having a doula as a member of the birth team decreases the overall cesarean rate by 50%, the length of labor by 25%, the use of oxytocin by 40% and requests for an epidural by 60%2.

Plus you can ask your dula to do ANYTHING! Need some water? Want a massage or compress? Needs some to change to music?  That is what they are there for, to support in any role possible.  She is also there just as importantly for the partner to help them through the experience and give them some rest if they need to sit and relax during the labor process and ensure that there is someone with the mother at all times (if she needs).  They will also give you space if the mother feels that she needs quiet time or sleep. 

{from Left} Our Doula , Me (with Baby Bear Inside), Mr BBH walking around Evanston Hospital

For Baby Bear we had a lay doula that was a close friend.  Now for #2 we have to go a interview to find someone that we feel comfortable with to help both Mr. BBH and I through the birthing process.  

Just in case you didn't know..the doula is in addition to attending a birthing class. If you have not had a baby yet, be sure to take a class so you know what you are going to expect as your baby descends though the birth canal. 

Baby Bear during her first day

Possible Questions to Ask your Doula

What is your certification?

How many births have you attended? 

What was your own birth experience?

What is your birthing philosophy and how it involved the husband.  

What is your feeling on pain medication? What methods do you use that I can become familiar with before labor. 

How many times will we meet before the birth? (so you can talk about your birth plan)

What does your fee cover?  What is your refund policy if we don't use your services.

Make sure to get the contact information of a past client so you can see how they describe their interaction

What was your impressions after you met them?  Were they someone that you could picture taking you and your partner through the trying times of labor?

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