How do you pronounce "Doula"?

Originating from the Greek, doula is pronounced doo-lah.

What is a doula?

A doula is “a woman who serves”.  In our world today, doulas are trained professionals and are easily identified by their non-medical services that they provide to expectant mothers during pregnancy and labor.  These non-medical services include numerous comfort measures for drug-free pain management, evidence based information and constant encouragement.

What about Dad?

As a birth doula, I do NOT  replace your husband or partner.  I ENCOURAGE husband/partner to get involved as much as he is comfortable with.  I can help him use comfort measures to support mom throughout labor.  I can also provide him with informational support. Dad’s experience a huge measure of relief, knowing that they do not have to remember everything, because I am there to help them, too!   My presence as a birth doula enables a dad to enjoy the birth experience, and also brings him an added measure of support while he emotionally supports mom.

How is a Doula beneficial?

She cares about YOUR birth desires ~She comforts you and your partner ~She reduces stress and anxiety  ~She offers suggestions for relief of discomforts during pregnancy and labor ~During labor she suggests appropriate labor/birth positions ~Her presence tends to result in shorter labors and fewer complications ~Her presence tends to reduce unnecessary interventions (forceps/vacuum extraction/cesareans) ~Requests for pain medication/epidurals is reduced ~Mom and partner are empowered ~Mom has more positive feelings of labor/happy memories of birth.

Does a Doula replace Medical Staff?

No.  I do not replace the doctor, midwife or nurses.  As a birth doula I do not perform any medical or clinical tasks.  I am present at a birth to provide mom and the family with emotional support and comfort measures, while also helping to enhance communication between mom and the medical staff.

What does a Doula do during a Birth?

As your doula, I will join you when you feel you need my support or when active labor begins.  If you are having a homebirth, I will come to your home at this time.  If you are having a hospital birth, I will meet you at your home or the hospital, whichever you prefer.  I will stayBirth Doula in the Black Hills with you throughout labor and birth and up to 2 hours after the birth or until you are comfortable with me leaving.  If you have requested that the birthing room be set up a certain way, I will do that right away.  For example dimmed lights, diffusing essential oils, candles, music…..  As a certified birth doula, I am trained to use specific comfort measures relating to the mom’s personal active labor experience.  So if baby is high and not engaged, I will work at opening the pelvic brim or inlet.  If baby is lingering in the mid-pelvis, I will encourage positions that open the mid-pelvis.  If baby is lingering in the outlet, I will encourage positions that open the pelvic outlet.   I will also encourage dad/partner to participate at their level of comfort.  Should questions arise, I will help guide families through a decision making process which allows families to feel fully informed and empowered with the knowledge that they have made the best decision(s) regarding this birth.

How does a Doula hold space for me?

As your doula, I will walk beside you during the tender and vulnerable journey of pregnancy and birth without judging you, or making you feel inadequate, or trying to fix you.  I will not try to impact the outcome.  I will open up my heart and offer unconditional support, while letting go of judgement and control.
This is how I will practically and realistically hold space for you: 
                                                              ~I encourage you to trust your own intuition and instincts.
                                                                ~I give you only as much information as you can handle.
                                                                        ~I do not take your responsibility or power away.
                                                                                              ~I keep my ego out of it.
                                                                                   ~I make you feel safe enough to fail.
                                                        ~I will give guidance and help with humility and thoughtfulness.
                                                            ~I create a safe circle for complex trauma, emotions and fear.
                                         ~I encourage you to make your own decisions and to embrace your own experiences.

What is Informed Consent?

“Informed consent is the process by which a fully informed patient can participate in choices about her health care.  It originates from the legal and ethical right the patient has to direct what happens to her body and from the ethical duty of the physician to involve the patient in her health care.” ~University of Washington School of Medicine~

Does a Doula advocate?

Doulas facilitate communication between families and care providers.  There are times in pregnancy and labor that unplanned circumstances arise, and care providers might call for action or procedures that upset you, scare you or go against your wishes.  You, the parents, can remain in control of these unplanned circumstances by following these simple steps:
 ~Understand the benefits
~Understand the risks
~Consider the alternatives
~Follow your instinct
~Make an informed decision
Following these steps allows time for thoughtful reflection on your part.  It also leaves you feeling apart of the decision making process, and in charge of your pregnancy and labor.  As your doula, I will be right beside you in pregnancy and labor, reminding you of these decision making steps.
Because Heritage Doula carefully follows the principles of holding space, and guides families in the informed consent process, there is no need for advocacy.

For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked him.
– 1 Samuel 1:27 (KJV)