FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
With Covid-19 restrictions in place at the hospital, how does that impact doula support?
Some birth locations are allowing certified doulas in addition to the primary support person at births! Please inquire with us about if your birth location is allowing doula support. Some hospitals are not allowing doulas in addition to the primary support person. For those birth locations, we have learned how to modify our doula services and still support our clients virtually. When the labor begins, we are in close contact through phone calls, video chats, and text. When the labor intensifies to active labor, the doula can join you in your home before you go to the hospital. This time is beneficial for mom and partner because we can give you hands on help and tools to assist you as you progress in your labor. We can help you know when it's the right time to go to the hospital as well. Once you are at the hospital, we support you and your partner virtually. If you don't have a partner, your doula can be your support person. We have now supported 12 clients virtually since Covid-19 restrictions began in the hospital in late March. While it is very difficult not to be with our clients through the entire birth process, our clients are giving us excellent feedback about the virtual support and we are excited to offer this service. Now, possibly more than ever, it is beneficial to have a doula present in the room (even virtually) to help keep the atmosphere calm, to help you know what positions to use, to help your partner know how to support you, to help you know your options, and to simply be there for you for whatever you need. We do not know when hospital restrictions will be lifted. However, we hope that as North Carolina begins to safety reopen, we will gain access back to all our local hospitals.
With COVID-19 restrictions, can you attend births in birth centers and homebirths?
Yes! We are attending births in birth centers (Magnolia Birth Center, Natural Beginnings Birth and Wellness Center, and Women's Birth and Wellness Center) as well as homebirths if you have a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) at your birth. Doulas are not healthcare providers, so we do not attend births in the home if a midwife is not present.
What are the benefits of having a doula?
Doulas provide physical, emotional, and partner support in addition to evidence-based information and advocacy. We are trained to provide comfort measures like counter pressure, massage, and breathing techniques. The presence of doulas helps families feel emotionally supported whether a birth is completely unmedicated or medically complex. We serve as a bridge of communication between women, partners, and their midwife/doctor so that they can make the best decisions for their families. Studies have shown that moms who have doulas request less pain medication, have shorter labors, and are less likely to birth by a c-section. Doulas help preserve the memory of the birth experience.
What kinds of comfort measures do you use to help moms in labor?
Often times women in labor benefit from physical touch. For some women, this can just be a gentle touch of the hand, but often times it involves massage or counter pressure. We can use these techniques or help the partner know how to use physical touch to help the mom. We encourage moms to get in different positions throughout their labor. Changing positions not only helps give mothers pain relief, but it also helps babies be able to move and get into the optimal position. We use our words to help moms stay calm and keep everyone in the room calm. We can help women remember their own birth affirmations and we can encourage them verbally to stick with their goals even when things become difficult.
What do you bring with you to the birth?
We carry lots of fun things in our doula bag! We love arnica oil to massage moms when they are in labor. Our TENS units can be useful especially when a mom is experiencing back labor. For moms who like essential oils, we offer a diffuser and essential oils. We bring a rice pack to provide heat. We provide candles and lights to help the atmosphere of the labor room be darker and soothing. Often times moms forget to bring snacks for during labor or after birth, so your doula is always willing to share! And then of course we bring an extra bag to carry our birth tub and supplies for those moms desiring a water birth.
What is your fee and what does it include? Are there any time limits or added fees if I have a long labor?
The fee for our doula services is $900. This fee includes one consultation and then two additional prenatal meetings with the two other doulas who are on call for you. We provide unlimited phone/email/text support through the pregnancy and postpartum. The doula who attended your birth also provides a postpartum visit in your home. All Natural Baby Doulas clients are invited to our postpartum support group as well. There are NO additional fees if you have a long labor. Some doulas charge extra for supporting a family for an extended period (possibly more than 12 or 16 hours), but we do not charge extra for a long labor because we would never want a mom in labor, at one of her most vulnerable points in life, to have to decide between figuring out if she can afford more money for a doula or if she would need to send her doula home.
When do you become available for my birth? Can I ask you questions through my pregnancy?
We are on call for you from the moment you hire us through the postpartum period. Even if you have a preterm birth, we will be there to support you. If your pregnancy extends well past your due date, we will be ready to support you when your baby finally arrives. We are there for you to answer all your questions through your pregnancy and will be with you through your labor and birth.
I see that there are 5 doulas in Natural Baby Doulas, so who would be my doula in labor?
When you hire Natural Baby Doulas, you hire all five of us to support you through your pregnancy and postpartum. You will meet one doula at the consultation and then you will meet two more doulas in your two prenatal meetings as you get closer to your due date. The other two doulas are the “backup” doulas and are available for a phone meeting / skype meeting before you have your baby. Our backup doulas are very rarely needed, but it gives you the security of always having a doula ready whenever your baby comes. When your labor begins, one of the 3 doulas you met with will be your doula in labor. Sometimes moms ask if they will like all of us since they only interview one of us. We always ask for feedback from our clients and the feedback we receive is that while we do have different personalities since we are individuals, we all have a very similar approach in the manner that we support our clients. One major benefit of hiring a group of doulas versus an individual is that you know all of us well and all of us are up to date on everything going on in your pregnancy, so no matter when your labor starts, you will have someone with you who knows exactly what your hopes for your birth are. Additionally, if you do have a long labor and the doula who is with you needs relief (after round 12-18 hours typically), you will know who is coming to support you since you have met all of us.
I haven’t asked my midwife/doctor about having a doula yet. How do you interact with them?
We work as a team with your care provider. We have wonderful relationships with many of the doctors and midwives in our area and we collaborate with them to make sure that you have the best birth experience possible. Often times a care provider can tell us what position the baby is in and we can use that knowledge to help moms get into certain positions to get a baby to turn. Other times a doctor will ask the doula advice about observations and possible next steps because we are the ones who have been with the woman in labor for several hours. Your doctor or midwife is one of our biggest assets in your labor for us and our goal is to always have an awesome relationship with them.
My partner is concerned that a doula will take their place. Is this true?
Often times partners are concerned that the doula will take their place. We never take the place of the partner. Our goal is to empower the partner to be exactly who they want to be in labor. With a doula, the partner can focus on just being there for the mother and not needing to know everything that is happening. The doula can be the one to help recommend positions and other comfort measures. The doula can be the one to make sure that mom and partner are eating well and staying hydrated. We are very flexible in our approach with partners. Some partners want to do all the physical and verbal support for the mother – Other partners want to take a more relaxed approach and have the doula be more hands on. We get to know each family individually and we adjust our method accordingly.