What is a Doula? - Today's Mama

What is a Doula?

What is a Doula and exactly what do they do?
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Well, I took a little time to interview one of my dear doula friends, Karen. I met Karen when I first opened Honey Bump Maternity in 2010. She comes to my shop to talk to expecting mothers in a discussion group we call “Exploring your options”. In this class we talk mostly about the birthing process  and what to expect as well as what some options are so that mothers can make informed decisions about procedures and care. I asked her a few questions and she was very happy to drop some knowledge so here we go!

Tell us a little bit about your backgroundAfter the birth of my first child in 2002, I  felt something was missing from the experience. I began researching and studying everything about pregnancy and birth. Over the next several years and births of my four children, I learned about doulas and the benefits of having one.  In early 2010 I began the certification process and have been attending births since.**What is a doula?The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.What does a doula actually do?  (fromwww.dona.org)**· Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life· Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor· Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth· Stays with the woman throughout the labor· Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decisions· Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers· Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman’s memory of the birth experience· Allows the woman’s partner to participate at his/her comfort levelStudies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.Training and CertificationTo certify, a doula has to attend a minimum number of births, spend a considerable amount of time studying and writing, and attend trainings for birth and postpartum (including lactation) support.What does it cost to have a Doula?

A doula in Utah will cost anywhere from  $300-$700.00 depending on experience and services offered. Some insurance companies will cover the cost, but often doula clients will use their Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) to pay for the service. Most doulas also offer payment plans.Thanks Karen!If you are considering using a Doula, please view the links above for more info! I personally have not used one because I didn’t know that they existed at the time that I had my babies. After my husband sat through our first “Exploring your options” group, he told me that we are definitely going to have one for our next delivery. I think I may have freaked him out a little during the first two deliveries.