Wondering when the best time is to start thinking about hiring a doula? Around the end of the second trimester, you definitely want to think about this step. Hiring a doula can be such a benefit to your entire pregnancy, not just the birth. Some doulas also fill fast so hiring early can help you get options for your birth. Don’t wait too long to make this decision!
What is a doula and how can having one benefit me and my partner?
A doula is a trained labor support professional that is educated and trained about birth and how to support the family during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. They are skilled in comfort measures, relaxation techniques, and counter pressure during birth. They also know about different newborn care techniques and offer breast/chest feeding and formula feeding support.
A birth doula understands birth and its process and can guide & inform you and your partner in-person or virtually into positions that help facilitate comfort and a smoother birth, provide calming techniques, and teach your partner comfort measures to reduce pain. A doula should never take the place of a partner unless they are deployed or unable to attend so don’t worry about a doula stealing the show. A good doula always knows when to leave well enough alone and knows they are not the savior in your birth.
There are also postpartum doulas that may only work in the post-baby time. They come to your home and take care of your mother and baby, help prepare food, wipe up small messes, and help with dishes or folding laundry so that you can get the most rest. This allows you to heal faster and can help you focus on bonding with the baby and securing a good breastfeeding relationship. Be sure to ask friends and family for money towards a doula or sign up for “Be Her Village” which is a support registry people can put money towards doulas, lactation consultants and so much more! Having support, guidance, and plenty of rest to recover helps you to be the best parent and also helps your mental and emotional help on top of physical healing.
Many doulas have other certifications, trainings, and services as well like education, massage therapy, Reiki, placenta encapsulation, know spinning babies techniques or sleep coaching to name a few. They also usually are intertwined in a network of other trusted perinatal professionals so you can get referrals and have more well-rounded care. They help prenatally and in postpartum so make sure you feel connected with them because they become a big part of your life! A doula should also feel like you are reaching out to a trusted friend. Be sure to interview a few doulas to find the right fit.
Here are some ideas for questions to ask during a consultation:
- What are your feelings about birth?
- Do you support all types of birth?
- Do you work with a doula partner or have backup on-call in case something comes up?
- Do you advocate for your clients?
- How do you work with my birth partner?
- What other certifications or continued education have you taken?
- Do you support home birth? What if I have to transfer? Will you follow?
- Will you labor with me at home before the move to the center or hospital?
If a doula isn’t something you are looking for but you still want all the info a doula would give, there are people like me, who no longer attend births but do prenatal education and coaching so there’s always a way to get the support and education you need. Reach out to me or your local doulas to find the best fit for your needs in pregnancy or postpartum!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ailish is a mother of a daughter and stepmom to 3 sons. She is a Certified Holistic Doula, Birth Consultant, & Educator as well as Reiki Master & Gentle Pediatric Sleep Coach. She has always been passionate about helping families in the perinatal time. Her goal is to provide her clients with the best education & support so they feel prepared & confident.