I always ask parents to think back to a life changing event in their lives such as their wedding day or the day they purchased their first home. You will no doubt remember these events forever. The birth of your baby will be an even bigger event in your life many times over.
If you are married or planning a wedding would you be comfortable paying a wedding coordinator or even your best friend to organize your wedding for you - with absolutely no input from you ? Would they really know what your personal preferences are or...what your likes and dislikes are?
If you are planning on buying your first home. Would you just hand over your hard earned money to the real estate agent if he told you he would take care of everything - no need to tell him what kind of house you want, or even the area you want to live in because he has been doing this a long time. When it comes to buying a house or planning a big event many of us will spend months researching and planning and you would work in partnership with the realtor you have hired or wedding planner and at the end of the day all final decisions would be yours.
So why should it be any different when planning for the birth of your baby?
Your baby only gets one chance to be born into this world - your doula can help make it a positive experience for you, your baby and partner.
A doula can help you in the following ways:
help you make informed decisions before during and after your baby's birth.
provide you with the latest research on your options
help you decide on your birth preferences and create an effective birth plan
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 lots of encouragement
explain any medical terminology or ask the medical staff to
help you get breastfeeding established
visit you at home after the birth
Doulas do not :
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
make medical judgments or diagnoses
do not perform any clinical procedures
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 the birth. Think of your doula as a good friend who'll be with you during the birth. Most of my clients have also been to my HypnoBirthing class so before labour starts we'll have spend around 20 hours together over your pregnancy.
What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?
Although some 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. In some recent studies of over 7000 women - half of the women had doula care from the hospital midwives and half had independent outside doula care. The women with the hospital employed doulas cesarean rates remained the same. Women with independent - non hospital doulas benefited more.
Doulas do not perform any clinical tasks - not even taking a temperature. Hospital midwives are employed by the hospital and are bound by hospital policies - your doula is employed by you so your satisfaction is paramount to us. Your midwife is responsible for your clinical care as well as physical and emotional support but your doula is 100% focused on your emotional and physical comfort.
Will my partner feel left out?
Some partners are concerned the doula will 'take over' during labour. Certainly this is not the case with DoulaIreland. 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 the birth partner so they feel very capable and confident at the hospital.
What hospitals do you work at?
Doulas are admitted to all hospitals on a case by case basis. Some hospitals still prefer that the birth partner and doula swap in and out during the labour. Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda is very supportive and have had several doula supported births with both the birth partner and doula in attendance with very positive feedback from the couples, midwives and consultants.
What are the benefits of having a doula?
Over 20 years of research shows that the presence of a doula has a significant impact on the outcomes of births. Overall there is up to a 50% reduction in the caesarean rate and 25% shorter labours. Epidural requests drop by 60% and 40% fewer women experience forceps deliveries. (Klaus, Kennell, and Klaus , Mothering the Mother, 1993 )
How much does a doula cost ?
Fees vary depending on the doula, in Ireland fees vary from €700 - 1200. If you are a VIVAS customer you can employ a doula for only €400. If you are a BUPA / VHI customer please contact them directly.
When I make a commitment to be available to support a birth. I must limit the number of clients on my calendar so as to avoid birth conflicts and to ensure that I can support you in labour When I accept a client and add her due date to my support calendar, I commit to being available two weeks beforehand and two weeks after that date. Being on call for up to a month takes considerable dedication and requires a very high level of personal sacrifice such as missing Christmas, anniversaries and birthdays as I 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.
What's the next step?
I f you would like to meet with us to discuss having a doula at your birth or tips on writing your birth plan, please email me.