- How can a doula help me?
- We help you make informed decisions before during and after your baby's birth.
- We provide you with the latest research on your options.
- We help you decide on your birth preferences and create an effective birth plan.
- e come to your home in early labour and stay with you until you decide to go to the hospital and make the journey to hospital as smooth as possible.
- Your doula is a familiar face at the hospital, offering suggestions for labour positions and comfort measures for physiological birth.
- We assist in facilitating communication with staff.
- We help you get breastfeeding established
- We support you at home after the birth as you adjust to motherhood.
- There's very little we don't do! You can ask your doula to do anything you can think of to help you. Whether it’s a massage, getting your partner a snack from the shop , changing the CD, or advocating on your behalf to get the anesthesiologist in the room this minute with your epidural, your doula is there for you.
- But we do have a couple of things that we don't do.
- We don't speak for you - we provide the information so you can make the best decision for you and your baby. Having a doula will give you and your partner the confidence to ask key questions about your care
- We don't make medical judgements or diagnoses
- We do not perform any clinical procedures
- Is there anything a doula doesn't do?
- I'm a very private person - isn't the doula a stranger ?
- Usually we will have spent quite a bit of time getting to know each other during our meetings long before your baby's birth. Think of your doula as a good friend who'll be with you during the birth and after.
- What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?
- Doulas do not perform any clinical tasks. Your midwife is responsible for your clinical care as well as physical and emotional support but your doula is 100% focused on only your emotional and physical comfort. This is the part of the job that midwives enjoy the most but with current staffing levels, policies and procedures it can be impossible to provide that extra support a Mum needs. Although all hospitals promise one to one support throughout your labour this isn't always the case and you do not know the midwife and the midwife does not know you. Evidence clearly shows that women with independent - non hospital doulas have better outcomes. Doula care was also associated with better outcomes than women providing support from Mum's circle of friends/family. Your doula does not replace your midwife but works along side her as she completes clinical tasks and documentation. Your doula fills that gap when your midwife is busy with other tasks/breaks or goes home at the end of her shift.
- My partner will be there and he has been to all the antenatal classes with me – why would I need a doula?
- A good antenatal class is essential for positive birth preparation but the intensity of emotion surrounding the birth of his baby....while providing support to you AND remembering everything he learned in the class is a big responsibility.
Having a doula with you means Dad can participate in a way that is comfortable for him. Your doula can remind birth partners about what they learned in the antenatal classes if necessary.
Here’s one of my favorite analogies: if your partner is a football fan he's probably seen plenty of matches on TV....maybe he plays in a league on Tuesday nights...but tomorrow he's going to be asked to coach in the World Cup. How confident would he feel?
- Will my partner feel left out if I have a doula?
- Having a doula helps Dads to provide meaningful support to their partners. Some partners are concerned the doula will 'take over' during labour. Sometimes Mums feel they don’t need a doula because their partner will be with them on the day. Your doula supports you both. Most partners have never supported someone in labour before, have limited knowledge about what really happens in birth or the workings of the hospital and will need to leave you for bathroom breaks or sometimes during medical procedures. Some partners are apprehensive about having a doula before meeting us but this is seldom a concern after the initial meeting. Partners report that after the birth they felt reassured having a doula present and found having the doula helped them be as involved as they wanted to. Dads feel much more confident when they are given the tools to advocate for mum. We spend a significant amount of time working with you and your partner so they feel very capable and confident at the hospital.
- Will my hospital allow me to have a doula?
- Doulas are admitted to all hospitals on a case by case basis. You and your partner will need to have your doula approved by the Director of Midwifery in your maternity unit. This is usually very straightforward and the feedback from hospital midwives and consultants of DONA trained doulas is very positive.
- I'm planning on having an epidural why would I need a doula?
- Your doula can still provide you with support during pregnancy and come to your home in early labour to support you with other comfort strategies until you are at a point when an epidural will be available to you. Going to hospital with the first contraction does not guarantee you will be immediately suitable for an epidural. Delaying the epidural until you are in active labour can help to minimize some of the epidural risks, such as fetal malpositioning or slowing of labour progress. The physical and emotional comfort measures that a doula offers can help you to cope with the sensations until you do want an epidural. Your doula can also help facilitate position changes on the bed when you have your epidural to reduce the likelihood of having an instrumental birth. In the event your epidural doesn't work 100% your doula can help you stay focused and calm.
- What are the benefits of having a doula?
- Over 20 years of research shows that the presence of a birth doula has a significant impact on the outcomes of births.
31% decrease in the use of Pitocin (drip to speed up labour)
- 28% decrease in the risk of having a caesarean birth
- 12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
- 9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
- 14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
- 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience
- How much does a doula cost?
- Fees vary depending on the doula, in Ireland fees vary from €700 - €1600. Some private health insurance companies cover additional fees if the doula is also a Midwife.
When your doula makes a commitment to be available to support a birth we must limit the number of clients on our calendar so as to avoid birth conflicts and to ensure that we can support you in labour When we accept a client and add your due date to our support calendar, we commit to being available 3 weeks beforehand and two weeks after that date. Being on call for up to 5 weeks takes considerable dedication and requires a very high level of personal sacrifice such as missing Christmas, anniversaries and birthdays as we can be called to a birth at any time night or day and may spend the next 3 hours or even 3 days with a couple in labour.
- Can I meet with you first before I decide?
- Absolutely - it's a good idea to have a phone call or initial meeting with at least two doulas so you can find someone who is a good fit for you.
- To find a doula in your community visit http://www.Doula.ie for a full listing of Doula Association of Ireland members or contact DoulaCare Ireland.