What is a doula and what do they do? 

A doula is a trained labor and delivery support person specifically present to offer unconditionally, non-judgmental encouragement and support to their client throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery.  Doulas offer a variety of services that can span pre-conception through postpartum and are tailored to the desires and needs of the client.  Study after study after study confirms that employing a doula reduces interventions, reduces infant mortality, and increases positive outcomes.  Ordinary Miracle Doula can assist a family through the journey to pregnancy, throughout adoption or surrogacy, in preparation for labor, throughout delivery, and once baby has been welcomed into your home.

A doula works to support the birthing person, as well as their support system. A doula does not replace your partner, only compliments them and their work.

A Doula is not a healthcare provider, she is a mother figure of the most ancient kind. Her life experience and loving encouragement empowers you. She is a reassuring presence who will always listen to you and support you in your chosen path. She will remind you of your choices, and the reasons you made them. When you are in doubt, anxious, or afraid, she sees all parts of you;  the strengths and weaknesses that make you beautifully whole. The Doula’s understanding of your journey supports self-confidence. She works to create a special relationship, that dances the duality of dependency and self reliance.

Her goal is to ease your pain with a touch, a word, a look. She encourages the husband or birth partner to be involved while also providing a back-up for when they need a break. The doula’s goal is to enhance the birth and birth team.

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FAQs

(FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS)

Wondering how to find the right kind of help when you don't even know what questions to ask?

  • What does a doula do?
    • In very simple terms, a doula is someone that provides emotional, physical and educational support. The most common type of doula is one providing support for pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. Doulas utilize a variety of tools and techniques for support in addition to their vast knowledge and experience. A doula provides encouragement and assistance in accordance to the birth choices and plan of the clients. How is a doula trained?
       
  • How is a doula trained?
    • Doulas are trained through one of the certifying agencies. Training includes a variety of topics and methods, and is usually a lengthy process for achieving certification. 
       
  • Is a doula a nurse?
    • A doula is not a nurse. There are some nurses that have taken doula trainings, but the roles of each are different, and will act per their scope of practice at the given time. One of the major differences is that a nurse can perform medical procedures while a doula cannot. 
       
  • Do doulas deliver babies?
    • A doula does not deliver babies, nor do they perform any medical procedures. 
       
  • I have a midwife - do I need a doula?
    • A doula has a different role than a midwife. Doulas are there to provide emotional, physical and educational support. While a midwife can offer support in those ways, it is the doula’s main role and purpose. 
       
  • Will my doctor be okay with me having a doula?
    • Most providers have no problem with you hiring a doula. It’s your choice and doulas are hired by you, the client. It is still a great idea to mention it to your provider that you are hiring a doula. Doulas are trained professionals that work alongside care providers and should not interfere with any medical concern.
       
  • Will a doula get in the way of me and my partner's experience?
    • Doulas should not get in the way of your experience as they understand the intimacy of the experience and discuss preferences a head of time with their clients. It is important to spend time discussing what the experience can look like, and what the clients’ desire is for support, including the level of privacy. The doulas is there to support you and your partner. 
       
  • I don't want a natural birth - so why would I need a doula?
    • Doulas can be a great asset for all types of birth, including medicated and cesarean births. The emotional and education support are still important, as there are often more questions and things to review. Additionally, a doula’s guidance and assistance is helpful with positioning, decision making, physical wellbeing (water, food, rest), taking pictures, emotional support, and much more. In a cesarean birth, a doula can stay alongside the new mother providing support, while the baby and father generally go to recovery right away.  

Why should I consider having a doula? 

We often set up the other parent, partner, or close family member or friend to serve as the birth coach.  Although extremely important and valued, they are really more trained and prepared to be the cheerleader.  A doula is experienced and has specialized education to help their client and support team navigate the process, address the pain, and process anything that may deviate from the plan.  A doula is not emotionally invested in the same way that a partner or family member is.  Because of that, the doula is able to stay neutral, objective, and be aware of the whole picture.

Women supported by a doula during labor have been shown to have:

  • 50% reduction in Cesarean rate
  • 25% shorter labor
  • 60% reduction in epidural requests
  • 40% reduction in Pitocin use
  • 30% reduction in analgesic use
  • 30% reduction in forceps delivery

Six weeks after birth, mothers who had doulas experienced:

  • Less anxiety and depression
  • More confidence with the baby
  • More satisfaction with their partner

Long-term benefits of using a doula:

  • Improved breastfeeding
  • Increased time spent with baby
  • More positive maternal assessments of baby’s personality and health, and maternal competence
  • Decreased postpartum depression

“Mothering the Mother”, by M.H. Klaus, J.H. Kennell, and P.H. Klaus; Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, New York (1993).

I’m giving birth in a hospital. Should I have a doula? 

Absolutely; people who birth in the hospital are in even greater need of personalized support during labor and delivery!  Regardless of where you give birth, it is important to remember that the baby is the medical provider’s patient, not the mother’s specifically.  A doula will come in early labor before arrival at the hospital and be great support in your home, if desired.  Additionally, a doula is 100% focused on one client, one family whereas nurses have several patients to attend and delivery doctors only arrive for the birth.  For many reasons, a hospital is not set up to honor the time it takes to birth your baby.  This sets a mother up to be pushed towards interventions she may not have wanted or that weren’t medically necessary.  A doula is a priceless advantage to the mother in navigating the hospital process- a support for best interest of both the client and child.

What is in a prenatal appointment? 

Prenatal appointments generally last 1-2 hours. We will discuss your preferences and goals for birth, go over what to expect in labor, at the hospital and in the postpartum period. I'll answer any questions you have about birth, breastfeeding and newborn care. We'll discuss my role and how your partner and I will work together. We will practice comfort measures and relieve any fear or anxiety. By the end of our prenatal sessions you should feel confident and excited to give birth! 

And the postpartum appointment? 

At the postpartum appointment, we'll make sure you're healing well, answer any questions you have about feeding your baby or other baby care (too nervous to give the first bath? I can help with that!), and discuss how the birth went. 

What is your training? 

I'm proud to have trained and certified with toLabor, a well-respected, in-depth, established program that emphasizes a deep breadth of knowledge of normal pregnancy, birth and recovery, as well as open and nonjudgmental communication. 

My doctor/midwife hasn't worked with you before, and she's had bad experiences with doulas in the past who overstepped their bounds. I want everyone working together. 

It's true that some doulas try to "advocate" for their clients, speak for them, or come in with a negative attitude toward hospital staff.  That's not me, I have nothing but respect for your care provider, their education, and the important work they do to keep you and your baby safe. I work to maintain positive relationships with them, and endeavor to work seamlessly with nursing staff. We will all work cohesively together to support you in the birth you want. I'm more than happy to meet with your care providers at one of your prenatal appointments to set any concerns to rest. 

Aren't doulas just for natural birth? 

No!  I love happy moms, happy partners, and healthy babies. I support all kinds of births: un-medicated, natural, Cesarean, inductions, water birth, twin birth, VBACs, hospital births, home births, OB-assisted, midwife-assisted... you name it. My goal is just for you to have a great experience. Period.

Can't my husband/partner/mother/best friend just be my doula? 

Yes. Sort of. Not really. It's just a different kind of support. If your husband/sister/best friend has spent several years studying normal birth, rotational positioning, comfort measures, and counterpressure, knows how to find evidence based information, and has attended dozens of births for experience before attending yours, then he/she will make a great doula.

But really, it's just a different kind of support. I know birth. Your partner knows you. Together, we make an amazing team. 

I know sometimes they're skeptical. They're worried that I'll take over, or push them out of the way. But that's not how it works.  I want you to remember how amazing your husband was and how he gave you what you needed when you needed it. I support him, so he can support you.