FAQ

Click on the titles below for answers to some of my frequently asked questions.

When should I hire a doula?

Generally the earlier you start looking for a doula the better. If you contact doulas between 5-7 months, this will give you plenty of time to interview them, choose your doula, and have time to establish a relationship before the birth. Depending on how many births a doula takes each month, they can book up early, which means less choice.

How do I choose the right doula?

I believe you should interview more than one doula and find the one you feel most comfortable with – both their personality and philosophy of birth. This person will be with you during one of your most vulnerable and personal times and you should choose the doula who will be a calming and comforting presence.

How many births do you take a month?

I accept up to two births per month. I homeschool my two kids, so this ensures that I am able to take care of their school needs and to provide adequate time and attention to all my clients.

What if you are unable to attend my birth?

I have an experienced doula - also certified through DONA - who backs up all my births. However, because I only take 2 births per month, I have never missed a birth due to overlap of clients.

What is your training?

I am certified through DONA (Doulas of North America) – the largest, oldest, most respected doula organization in the world. I attended an intensive training session, read several books on childbirth and breastfeeding, attended three certification births with positive feedback from the doctors and clients, and wrote an essay on labor support. I am also a member of DASC (Doula Association of Southern California) where I am part of an online discussion board to keep abreast of new developments in the doula community and get tips from other doulas. I also attend workshops and meetings throughout the year to hone my skills. I have also been trained by Spinning Babies in techniques to get your baby in the optimal position for birth, the use of essential oils for birth, and supporting Hypnobabies clients during childbirth.

Were your births natural?

I studied the Bradley Method with my husband during my first pregnancy and wanted to have an unmedicated birth. We hired a doula and labored well, but things did not go as planned. I ended up with a labor that wouldn’t progress past 9 cm and after approximately 18 hours agreed to an epidural to help me complete dilation. It worked and my baby girl was born vaginally, for which I was very grateful. My second child was born at home with midwives. I received no medication during this birth. My birth experiences were completely different from each other and will be different from yours. I know that births do not always go as planned and you do not always get the exact birth you dreamed of – so I can help you process the feelings that go along with this.

What are your views on birth?

I believe that you know your body better than anyone and deserve to have a say in your birth experience. Women tend to have strong intuition and know what they need. I believe first and foremost it is my job to listen to you – about the type of birth you want and your fears and hopes surrounding your birth. I will follow your lead in the dance of labor and support you physically and emotionally in the way you need at each step. I understand that there are times when medical interventions are needed and I will discuss these choices with you and your partner and stand by you in the decisions you make.

When will you join me during labor?

I ask my clients to call me when labor starts or your water breaks so we can discuss how you’re feeling, I can answer questions, and we can discuss ideas for relaxing and laboring at home. This also gives me a chance to make arrangements for childcare so I can come to you when you need me. I generally join clients at the beginning of active labor, when the contractions get a little harder and you feel like you need help coping with the intensity. If you are close to the hospital and would like to labor at home as long as possible, I can meet you there and assist you with the move to your birthplace or I can join you at the hospital if you feel more comfortable laboring there or must go to the hospital early.

Will my partner feel left out if you attend my birth?

Today, fathers generally want to share in the experience of birth and parenting with the woman they love, including easing labor pains, providing encouragement during birth, and helping to care for the baby. Yet fathers are also often expected to be full labor coaches, to understand medical procedures and hospital protocols, and to advocate for their partner in an unfamiliar place. As a doula, I have been professionally trained to support the laboring woman and understand the hospital environment, allowing the father to be as involved in supporting his partner as he wants and giving him the confidence and freedom to fully focus on her and the birth. The love and support the father provides during birth is irreplaceable. With a doula, the laboring woman gets the best of both worlds—her partner’s loving care and attention and her doula’s expertise and guidance in childbirth.

If I have an epidural, why do I need a doula?

Yes, my role as a doula is to support you in your desires for your birth and to help you to manage your pain. I am not there to keep you from using pain medication if you are suffering and want an epidural. I will provide you with comfort and support throughout the birth regardless. Studies have shown that a doula can help you manage your labor longer, reducing the amount of drugs you and your baby are exposed to. In addition, once you decide to get the epidural you often have to manage some pain while receiving IV fluids, waiting for the anesthesiologist to arrive, and getting the epidural. This whole process can take 1-2 hours. As you complete dilation, you may experience breakthrough pain or the staff may let the epidural wear off for more effective pushing. In addition, in a few cases the epidural will not provide complete pain relief. You may also experience side effects such as itching, nausea, and shaking. Once the epidural is given, hospital staff and even loved ones often pay more attention to the monitors than to the laboring woman. There is sometimes an assumption that once the pain is gone, all other worries and needs go away. This just isn’t true and your body is still experiencing a very strenuous event,even if you can’t feel it. I will stay with you through this whole process, helping you to manage the pain and providing encouragement and emotional support. I will hold your hand, rub your shoulders, explain what is happening, help you make decisions, get you ice chips, and advocate for you.