A doula is a person who supports you in your pregnancy and will be with you during labor to help in any way she can. Doulas are not trained to do medical procedures, but whether you are at home or a hospital they can help explain things to you and your partner when questions arise, help make decisions if you are unsure what to do, be a sounding board, and advocate for you with hospital staff.
My husband’s first reaction when I said that I wanted to look into getting a doula was, “Why? I’ll be there!” This is a very normal reaction for partners. It seems that we are employing someone to take away their role in the labor room. In fact, the doula is there to support both your experiences. She will give your partner a chance to just be there without having to figure out what to do.
My husband said after we had our first baby that he was so glad our doula, Barbara Essman, of Sacred Birthing, was there and he couldn’t imagine doing labor again without her.
Some doulas offer massage therapy before you have your baby and can even help with after-labor care (postpartum doula).
When you are looking for a doula, treat it like an interview – you have to like and trust the person you are choosing. Initially call or meet a couple of different doulas on your own. When you find one you like set up a separate meeting for the doula to meet your partner. It is important that your partner supports you in getting a doula. They may feel threatened by the idea but once you are in labor they’ll be happy there is an extra support person there to help you both cope with labor.
Typical questions to ask a doula are:
– How long have you been doing this and what kind of training have you had?
– How many births do you attend a year?
– Can I call or meet you before I go into labor? Is there any charge for these visits?
– Do you offer pregnancy massage? If not, can you recommend someone?
– How do you support women (and partners) during labor?
– If I am having my baby at a hospital can you meet us at home or at the hospital?
– If for some reason you aren’t available do you have a back-up person who can help?
– How much do you charge? What does your fee include? (Fees range $300–$1,000)
Jenna Esposito (doula in training) (808) 381-3092, email@example.com
Kari Wheeling (808) 330-2005, firstname.lastname@example.org
Leanna Andrade (808) 780-3381, email@example.com
Piper S. Lovemore (808) 861-7168, firstname.lastname@example.org
Postpartum Doula list:
Kaela Kajiyama (808) 393-5967, email@example.com
doula list updated May 30, 2012