What exactly is a birth doula?
A doula is a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous emotional, physical and educational support to you and your partner during childbirth.
So, what does that really mean?
It means we are your labor best friends! Our only focus is you. Your nurses and care providers are often very busy with the medical aspects of your labor. They also change shifts and come and go, but we are able to stay right with you. We’ve worked together prenatally, and we know what type of birth you would like, we know that head massages do wonders for relaxing you, you don’t like your feet touched because you are ticklish, and that having a mantra that you repeat while having a contraction helps you focus. We help you find different positions throughout your labor, assist you on the birth ball, and reassure you that you are doing just great. When your partner is hungry or tired or really needs that big cup of coffee at 3 am, they know you are supported and taken care of while they get some food and caffeine.
Do doulas really help?
We love research and statistics! Here are some key points from a recent study: Birth doulas:
- Reduce the need for cesarean by 26%
- Reduce the use of pain medication by 28%
- Reduce the need for forceps by 41%
- Reduce dissatisfaction with birth by 33%
6 Weeks after birth, mothers who had doulas were:
- Less anxious and depressed
- More confident with their baby
- More satisfied with their partner (71% vs. 30%)
- More likely to be breastfeeding (52% vs. 29%)
Find out more about the evidence for doulas at Evidence Based Birth.
I want an epidural. Can I still have a doula?
Absolutely! At Piedmont Doulas, we believe the right way to give birth is the way you want to give birth. We have experience working with all types of births in multiple settings. We are here to support you so that you have the birth you want. Research shows that those who have used a doula have a greater satisfaction with their birth, no matter what type of birth they had. In addition, epidurals don’t take away the emotional aspects of labor. Sometimes, there’s still some discomfort and pressure and exhaustion to deal with. Doulas are still a tremendous help, even after an epidural.
Can my mom or best friend be my doula?
Studies actually show that positive effects of continuous labor support are present when provided by a trained labor companion or doula, and not a family member or friend. Read more research about this at childbirthconnection.org
What if my birth plan changes?
Birth is like life: amazing, wonderful and something that can’t always be controlled. If your plans change during labor, we can help you gather new information, so you can feel confident in your decisions, and we will be there to support you through the twists and turns of the day.
Are you like a midwife?
We hear this frequently! Although we embrace the midwifery model of care, we aren’t like midwives. Midwives listen to baby’s heart, check your vitals and perform other medical care. Doulas don’t do anything medical, at all. We are free to give you all the physical and emotional support you need.
What if the universe falls apart and neither of you are available? Do you have emergency back up?
In the rare instance that neither Phyllis nor Becky are available, we are able to send a wonderful and experienced back up doula to you. We would only use a back up doula that we know well and feel is in line with the standards of Piedmont Doulas.
How is a Postpartum Doula different than a Birth Doula?
A Birth Doula supports you before and during your birth and a postpartum doula supports you in the weeks following your birth while you get settled into your new routine. At Piedmont Doulas we can provide you with continuity of care by serving as both your birth doula and you postpartum doula.
Will a Doula take the place of my partner?
Not at all! We help your partner help you. We learn beforehand how they envision us helping, and also learn how your partner best helps you. Having a doula also means that partners can take a break, eat, visit family members in the waiting room, or even take a nap during long labors, and feel secure in knowing the laboring mom is not alone, but being confidently supported by her Piedmont Doula!
Will a Doula talk to my care providers for me?
No. We don’t speak to your medical providers for you. While we offer informational and emotional support, doulas cannot provide medical advice or make medical decisions for you, and we are also respectful of your chosen care provider and other nursing staff. We can help prepare you with what questions to ask and how to communicate with your care provider. We want to help you find your voice!
Can you take pictures for us?
There is nothing quite so breathtaking as seeing pictures of you and your baby’s first moment together. We are happy to take pictures during your labor and birth – as much as you are comfortable with and as much as the hospital staff will allow. Please keep in mind, our doula work with you and your partner comes first, but generally we are able to capture many sweet memories for you. You can see some of our photos at births throughout our site. (All client photos are used with written permission) Also, please note we are not professional birth photographers. If you’d like a referral to a professional, please let us know or you can check out the incredible work of a Greensboro based professional birth photographer here, at Heather McGinnis Photography.
So, are we getting two doulas when we hire you?
Yes, how awesome is that! You get the experience of having two different doulas with a vast array of knowledge, as well as a built in back up system. Only one of us will attend your birth. You get to know both of us equally through our prenatal visits and phone calls, and we share an on-call schedule. Our clients receive the schedule and how to get in touch with us. Because there are two of us, you are almost guaranteed that you will be with one of us during your labor and birth, and not a backup doula that you do not know. Read more about our unique partnership here.