Support for families through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum has been around for pretty much forever.
Modern Doulas are quite a bit different than what you may have loosely learned in history class, seen on Call the Midwife, or even heard from your best friend just a few years ago.
So…what exactly is a doula?
Well, let’s start with what we’re not.
We’re not a doctor, and we’re definitely not a midwife.
We don’t catch babies (and we really don’t want to, EVER).
We don’t replace your partner, your mother, your sister or your best friend.
We’re your sounding board for pregnancy and postpartum.
We’re there to help you feel calm and confident as you build a relationship with your care provider. We help you gather information if that’s what you need. During birth, we’re there to help you with comfort measures and positions. When you’re home with your new baby we’re there to help you as you get comfortable in your new roles as parents.
Do you go to school to be a doula? What kind of training do you have for this?
In our experience, most people who choose to pursue a career in doula work have been caring for other people in some way for much of their lives. They have an innate ability to connect with people, listen and be supportive.
While there aren’t schools where you can major in becoming a doula, there are several doula certification organizations across the country. In general, a doula training consists of a weekend workshop. You then complete required reading, collect evaluations from clients, and take an exam to complete your certification.
As co-founders of Doulas of Cincinnati, we originally trained and certified with a few different organizations before finding our home with ProDoula. We choose ProDoula because they are at the forefront in working with doulas to provide clients with truly non-judgemental support, no matter what their birth and parenting choices may be.
ProDoula also provides clear standards of professionalism, teaches sustainable business practices, and provides ongoing mentorship to doulas. All DOC doulas are trained and either certified or in the process of completing certification with ProDoula. Certification is important because it ensures that doulas are up-to-date on current practices.
Would you still assist in a birth even if an epidural was used?
Absolutely YES! This is what non-judgemental support is all about. We meet our clients where they are. We are invested in them, not their birth and not their birth outcome. We trust that our clients know what is best for them and help them feel confident in their choices.
If you plan on having a natural birth what can you do to prepare?
Birth is natural.
A human being exiting your body is a natural event…no matter how it happens.
The best thing parents can do to prepare for their birth is to take a childbirth education class. Understanding what to expect during pregnancy, the process of labor, pain management, and comfort measures are all valuable tools.
Our clients find that taking a comprehensive class, with a modern approach, helps them to feel prepared. Learning about unmedicated and medicated pain relief, the process of an induction, and even a cesarean helps them feel confident.
No one knows how your labor and birth will unfold. No matter how much you plan, wish, dream or demand.
(And we really hope you’re not demanding…because that doesn’t help you build a good relationship your doctor – but we’ll get to that).
Having an unmedicated birth is an awesome goal…if that’s what you want.
Use the tools from one of our classes to build your own perfect birth plan and share your goals with your partner and your birth team. Often our best advice is to just be open to the experience of your birth.
Is there a chance that my OB won’t like that I have a doula?
In short, maybe – but that hasn’t been our experience at Doulas of Cincinnati.
We know that medical professionals have their patients’ best interests at heart. We spend time talking with nurses, OBs, Midwives, and even anesthesiologists because we are all part of a person’s birth team and we want to work seamlessly together. We visit practices throughout the city to find out how we can best work with providers to help their patients have positive experiences.
Chances are, your OB or Midwife has worked with a doula before. When they have a poor experience it impacts everyone’s ability to feel confident in doula support. Sometimes they’ve met a rogue doula practicing outside of scope. Other times they’ve met a family friend who isn’t professionally trained but says “I’m their doula”…either way, this singular experience impacts the doula profession as a whole.
We want to change that, and help providers see that we take their job (and our job) seriously.
What is the benefit of a postpartum doula after a cesarean? I have a lot of family that comes and wants to help but usually I’m so miserable I don’t know what’s coming or going. I feel like I struggle postpartum with the pain, nursing, and lack of sleep and am curious how a doula can help?
People spend the vast majority of their pregnancy planning for the labor and birth. But they often overlook planning their recovery afterward from a cesarean or vaginal birth. Postpartum & Infant Care Doulas work with you to create a customized care plan for your family.
We are postpartum and newborn experts. We recognize when you’re struggling and help you find tools that could best benefit your family. Perhaps that’s enlisting the support of our International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) if you’re having difficulty breastfeeding, finding the perfect baby products, or even rearranging your diaper changing area to make it easier for you to move through the house.
Sleep is often at the top of everyone’s list when they’re at home with a newborn. For some families, we’re there to provide overnight care to ensure that everyone sleeps well. Daytime support also allows for families to catch up on rest and have extra hands and help to keep the house going. We handle light housekeeping, offer sibling and newborn care, and also customized meal preparation. Having support from your family and friends is wonderful, and we never want to replace that. We’re there to help everyone have a positive experience and to not feel overwhelmed.
Chances are your mother and your mother-in-law did pretty well raising you. But their ideas may not be what’s best for you or your family. We give the same unbiased and non-judgemental support as we did during your pregnancy to nurture your personal lifestyle.
We’re kinda like Fairy-Godmothers.
Are you interested in birth and postpartum support, or do you need a bit more information? Let’s set up a time to chat!