When To Contact Your Doula
It's getting close to baby time! Your bag is packed, your belly is huge, and you can't wait for labor to begin! How will you know when labor has officially begun? And when and how will you contact the doulas? Let's take a moment to get on the same page about all these details...
YOU ARE EXPERIENCING SIGNS OF LABOR. If you're extra crampy, seeing bloody show, or starting to feel contractions, it's time to contact us. We like to know about any of these signs so that we can guide you though the process. We've likely talked to you about how to handle early labor in your prenatal meetings with us, but if you need a refresher, check out our early labor post. If you are starting to notice any of these signs, it's a great idea to text us in the group text that we set up with all the doulas who are on call for you. Typically, we set up this group text once you've met all 3 doulas who will be on call for you in the third trimester. If it's 7am-9pm, it's likely that we will see your text and respond quickly. If it's at night and you just want to update us of some signs of labor, feel free to text us at night, BUT know that we may not see this update until the morning. In the early labor stages, it's important to rest and ignore as much as possible. It's not necessary that we know what's happening in the middle of the night unless you need some input from us. If you want to talk through things with us, absolutely call us! But if you think you can manage the early stages on your own, then you can text us a quick update and then try to rest and ignore for as long as possible. We want both you and us to be rested and ready for when the more intense active labor kicks in!
YOUR WATER BREAKS. We want you to have a plan if your water breaks. Your water breaking as the first sign of labor isn't that common. This happens about 15% of the time. Nevertheless, we want you to know what to do if this happens to you in the middle of the night, in the middle of Target, or somewhere in between. Ask your doctor or midwife what they want you to do if your water breaks before labor begins. Some midwives will recommend staying at home for several hours to allow labor to begin. Others doctors will say that you should come to the hospital right away. If you are GBS+ and are planning on getting antibiotics in labor, most care providers recommend coming to the hospital as soon as the water breaks. And then there are some unique circumstances for certain people. The bottom line is that we would like you to know what you should do if your water breaks. If your water breaks, we want you to contact us. If it's during the day, you can text the group text and someone should respond within 10 minutes. If we don't respond within 10 minutes, then call us. If it's at night (9pm-7am), then call us. We want to be able to talk you through the next steps no matter the time of the day or night. Especially if you are going to the hospital, call us first.
YOU THINK IT'S TIME TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL / BIRTH CENTER. If you have been in the early stages of labor during the day, then we are staying in close touch via our group text. It's likely that we will have a few phone conversations through this time of labor. But once you think it is time to go to the hospital or you are ready for doula support at home or the birth center, then call us. We want to make sure it's time for us to join you and we want to discuss logistics of meeting you at your birth location. If it's at night and we haven't been texting and staying updated, you definitely need to call us to tell us about what you plan to do next since we do not hear texts at night.
YOU EXPERIENCE PRETERM LABOR. If you are experiencing contractions or your water breaks before you are full term (before 37 weeks), you should contact your doctor or midwife first. Once you speak with them, then reach out to us too to update us. We want to walk you through this part also. We are on call for you 24/7 from the time you hire us. No one wants to have a preterm baby, but we are available for you no matter when your labor occurs. If you go to the hospital due to signs of preterm labor, you need to contact us. If it's during the day, you can text the group text and someone should respond within 10 minutes. If we don't respond within 10 minutes, then call us. If it's at night (9pm-7am), then call us. We want to be able to talk you through the next steps no matter the time of the day or night.
LET'S CLARIFY WHEN TO TEXT THE DOULAS:
- If you want to give us non-urgent updates (like updates from your prenatal appointments with your care provider)
- If you have non-urgent questions about resources / education / anything we can help you with through your pregnancy / birth
- If you'd like to set up a time to talk on the phone about a non-urgent issue
- If you're having signs of labor during the day (7am-9pm) and want to give us a heads up or you'd like feedback on what you are experiencing (if we do not respond to your text about this within 10 minutes, always call us)
- If it's at night and you are having some signs of early labor and want to let us know but you don't need doula support yet (if you would like feedback or want to know what to do next, then call us at night about this since we don't see texts during the night)
LET'S CLARIFY WHEN TO CALL THE DOULA:
- If your water breaks
- If you are trying to figure out what to do next in managing your labor
- If you are trying to figure out if it is time to go to the hospital or birth center
- If you are experiencing preterm labor and are going to the hospital
- If you just feel like you need to talk to us for any reason
We like to emphasize again that it's so important to CALL at night if you want to speak with us. We don't hear texts at night, so texting from 9pm to 7am is not a way to contact us unless you'd like to send us an update that isn't urgent. We are always happy to answer your phone calls in the day or night!
WHO YOU SHOULD CALL. As you meet the three doulas who are on call for you, we will give you our on call schedule so you will know who to call first. If the doula who is on call doesn't answer, just call another doula. One of us will always answer. It's possible that the on call doula is already at a birth or she's recovering after finishing a birth - but one of us will always answer. We have always picked up on the first call when clients call at night, but if we didn't pick up immediately, just keep calling back. Make sure that you have all our numbers saved in your phone. Here's everyone's number for easy reference:
- Jessica Bower - 336-707-3842
- Sarah Carter - 336-267-5879
- Christina Flaherty - 336-266-8726
- Kristian Jordan - 336-516-3660
- Betsy Shilling - 336-338-9901
*If your labor begins before 37 weeks and you haven't met with 3 doulas yet, call the doula(s) you have met with first. If they do not answer, call the other doula(s) who you have not met with yet. Our hope is that you've met the doula who attends your birth and this is almost always what happens. Nevertheless, if you have a preterm birth and we were not able to meet with you because it's before 37 weeks, a doula will still be available. If it's the middle of the night, just call from the list above and someone will answer.
So there you have it! I know that this is a long list. Every situation is unique. But here's the bottom line - if you need your doula, no matter what time it is, you can CALL and one of us will answer. We love 3am labor calls!