Do You Doula?

COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Are you still exploring how a doula might support you? Are you wondering what doula support could mean for you and your family? Find answers to these commonly asked questions and how doula Gabrielle works with her clients below.

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How are you different from a midwife?
What services do you provide as a doula?

I think the easiest way to understand the difference between midwives and doulas is to understand what constitutes medical or clinical care and what constitutes non-medical or clinical care.

Nurse midwives (NMs), who most often practice in hospitals in Alabama, and Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs), who practice in home birth or birth center settings, provide medical and clinical care to expecting families. Midwives are able to provide routine prenatal medical care and perform any clinical or medical tasks, such as checking blood pressure, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams, etc. If you work with a midwife, your midwife will be the one to "catch your baby" when it is time to give birth.

As a doula, I am skilled in providing educational, planning, emotional, and physical support during pregnancy, birth, and your postpartum transition in ways that are considered non-medical (i.e., I can explain to families what they need to know about cervical checks, but I will not perform a vaginal exam.). As such, in my services, I provide childbirth and postpartum planning education classes; in-person (and at times, virtual) continuous labor support; and postpartum care sessions to help families as they transition into their postpartum experiences.

Many of my clients have appreciated the midwifery model of care. Are you currently thinking through your care provider options? Feel free to reach out if you want to discuss your options.

Do you only support "natural birth" plans as a doula?

As a doula, it's my pleasure to work with clients who have a variety of birth plans

"Natural birth" plans often refer to unmedicated vaginal births, either in the home setting or in a hospital setting. While several of my clients have been interested in having unmedicated vaginal births, I have also been happy to support clients who anticipate they will want to use some level of pain medication during labor. I have also supported families through medically necessary inductions and cesareans.

As a doula, my goal is to help prepare my clients for their birth plan of choice. This preparation includes providing my clients with:

  • Childbirth and postpartum planning education

  • Support to develop a birth and postpartum plan

  • Planning for what a client will desire as far as their support community and birth team is concerned

  • Problem solving and sharing options with my clients so they can work through any unexpected circumstances or changes that might impact their birth vision and postpartum transition.

Are you finding it hard to envision what your birth might look like, or if you know your birth vision, are you considering how best to pursue it? Feel free to reach out with any questions, and I'll be happy to offer some preliminary feedback.

How do you work with dads?
Does your role "replace" the dad's role in labor?

One of my core pillars as a doula is that dads matter, and I am there to support couples in working together during pregnancy, birth, and their postpartum transition. As such, I encourage couples to take my "Ready for Baby" Childbirth and Postpartum Planning Class together, either as a stand alone class or as the prenatal sessions in my full doula support package. As couples work together in those sessions, they have the opportunity to learn from each other's questions and concerns, develop a shared vision, and be better prepared to support each other in labor.

Here are my clients' thoughts on how my support enhanced the dad's role in birth:

"And I think the importance of us getting a doula was, it's not that my wife didn't feel like I couldn't speak up for her. But having someone else there to advocate for my wife gave me an opportunity to be more focused on the birth experience, myself, and to be more focused on my wife and the baby, while I know someone else is there to advocate for what my wife is desiring." -- Andy, with his wife Abbie

"You change the atmosphere, basically, when you bring your services. And that's important to feel loved during that experience, and to help bring the husband and wife closer together during that experience, too, is just as important. Like I think the biggest thing of you helping us to understand that the husband does play a significant role in the birthing experience was so empowering for us because in our case, the hospital made us feel like, you know, 'Who's this guy?,' basically....Having that sense of advocacy for unity in the husband and wife during the birthing experience was so -- was so vital. It was vital. It literally made a huge difference in us going in there saying like, Okay, we are a team. We're a team through this whole thing." -- Selena

Are you and your partner unsure how a doula could help you work together in labor? Feel free to reach out for a free consult, and I'll be happy to answer any questions.

My partner and I think we'll be fine, but someone said we
should look into having a doula. Why might we consider this?

Yay for friends or family members who are looking out for you! As a doula, I appreciate it when someone shares that they did not know much about doula support until someone suggested they learn more.

Often when families learn that they are pregnant, they recognize that life over the next 40 or so weeks will look incredibly different on many levels. Families often launch into the sea of decisions about care providers, healthy choices, preparing the home, learning their options, how they will document their journey, where they'll give birth, what postpartum season will look like, and more. Sometimes families find that the patchwork of information available on the internet or the variance in other people's stories about birth leave them with more questions than answers, which can increase stress, lower decision making confidence, or leave someone unequipped to advocate for their desires simply because they did not have the information or support they needed to make an informed choice. If you've ever heard someone say, "I just didn't know," when recounting a past experience they wished had happened differently, then you know what I mean.

 

Deciding to work with a doula is a personal choice for every family. I believe women and families benefit from considering whether there's a good "fit" between their desires and a doula's support opportunities, and from still reaching out for more information, even if they are not sure about whether a doula is right for them.

My services are a good fit for women and families who:

  • Want to be educated about their options for birth and postpartum care

  • Want to problem solve and take ownership of their birth journey

  • Prefer not to be stressed at the last minute with postpartum planning

  • Want to have an additional advocate on their team to help support their birth vision

  • Believe that having doula support is worth the investment and time to pursue their goals and vision

Do those qualities sound like they match your interests? If so, I would love to have a free consultation with you!

I'm not sure about doula support, 
but do you offer childbirth education?

I'm so glad you asked!

Women and couples are more than welcome to take the Your Doula Cares "Ready for Baby" Childbirth and Postpartum Planning Class as a stand alone option without committing to full doula support. The class option also provides the opportunity to have three built-in virtual doula support calls that can be used between classes, during labor, or up to three weeks postpartum. These calls will enable you to ask any personalized questions you may have, especially if a change to your birth plan emerges during labor or something unexpected takes place in your early postpartum transition. 

The "Ready for Baby" Class is taught over a series of sessions based on what works well with your schedule, and can take place in person, virtually, or a combination of the two. The class is designed to help you prepare your birth and postpartum plan, understand the labor process, and have tools to pursue your birth vision and to ease your postpartum transition.

Families who decide to take the "Ready for Baby" Class by itself can still add in-person doula support if they decide to later, provided that I have availability for their estimated due date. Payment plan options are also available.

Want to learn more about the class and how to get started? Simply fill out the Pre-Registration Form on my Doula Services page under Childbirth Education.

My care provider does not seem supportive of doula care.
Do I need to change my mind about hiring a doula?

I believe it is very important for families to have a better understanding of their relationship to the healthcare system, which is in place to serve them based on their consent and healthcare goals and needs. When families understand that they are a consumer who is working with their healthcare provider as a service provider, it is sometimes easier to step back and reimagine how they can choose to relate to and work with their healthcare provider.

Ultimately, it is every woman and family's decision about whether they would like to have a doula on their birth team. As consumers, women and families can decide what support they want to have and advocate for the quality of service they should receive that is both effective and dignified. As a service provider, healthcare providers have a responsibility to provide quality service, which includes respecting a consumer's right to choose who they want on their birth team. As such, families should not feel pressured or intimidated about their decision to work with a doula. Families can share the evidence on the benefits of doula support with their healthcare provider if there are ever any questions about this.

Knowing your rights as a patient and a consumer makes a big difference in the birthing space. Are you feeling inspired to learn more about whether having a doula is right for you? Feel free to reach out for a free consultation to discuss your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum desires.

I saw you offer birth photography options.
Can you be our doula and our birth photographer?

The answer is, it depends on what you need!

For clients who hire me for full doula support services, I consider my primary role to be their doula. When I am serving in my primary role as a doula during labor, my focus is on making sure my clients are receiving the support they need, that mom is coping well with labor, that my clients are receiving the information they need to make informed decisions, and that their birth plan is being honored and respected. Due to that focus, I am not able to commit to documenting the full birth experience, especially the most anticipated moments such as the baby's arrival and a parents' first few moments with baby. Those are very moving and important moments, during which my hands will likely not be free to work with my camera. If a family would like to include a Limited Gallery Package, I am happy to provide that! A Fresh 48 Session can also be a good photography option to add to doula services, even alongside a Limited Gallery Package.

On the other hand, if a family would like a merger of doula planning support, childbirth and postpartum education, and full gallery birth photography services, they can consider combining my "Ready for Baby" Childbirth and Postpartum Planning Class and a Full Gallery Birth Photography Package. In that scenario, my primary role would be as your birth photographer during birth. I would be able to offer encouragement and make recommendations for comfort while I am at your birth, but it would mainly be you and your birth partner working together to support your labor progress.

 

Learn more about my current updates for Your Doula Cares Birth Photography, and feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.

When should we consider hiring you?
How do we start the process?

Families are welcome to reach out to me at any time concerning their pregnancy and desired birth plans. Based on my availability, I will be able to let you know whether I can cover your estimated due date or what time frame considerations you might have to consider for my services.

I have found that beginning prenatal sessions by the second trimester is very helpful in making sure my clients have time to gain the information they need, work with their healthcare provider to discuss their birth vision, develop a birth and postpartum plan, and put in place some of those early postpartum transition plans. Potential clients who reach out in their third trimester can still benefit from doula support if they are willing to dedicate the time and intention to prepare for their desired birth plan.

I am happy to interview with potential clients so I can learn more about their birth vision, postpartum goals, and present concerns and questions, and so that they can learn more about my approach, experience, and services. If a potential client is interested in discussing next steps, I will be happy to provide them with more information on how they can secure their estimated due date on my calendar.

Would you like to know my current availability? Feel free to reach out via email, request a free consultation, or subscribe for my latest availability and updates.

I would like to invest in having doula support!
What are my next steps?

That is wonderful news! I would love to connect with you.

Please visit Your Doula Cares Doula Services to learn more about my "Ready for Baby" Childbirth and Postpartum Planning Class, my Full Doula "Good Start" package, or options for postpartum support. From there, you can request a free consultation for Doula Support or pre-register for the "Ready for Baby" Childbirth and Postpartum Planning Class. If you are also desiring documentation of your birth, I welcome you to consider my Birth Photography options, as well.

Are you considering how to cover the investment for your preferred doula support? Take a look at my options for Gift Certificates, which can be added to Baby Shower or Gender Reveal gift lists. I also discuss options for payment plans and options for families experiencing financial hardship.

For women who identify as Black/African American, Dove's "Baby Dove Project" has launched The Black Birth Equity Fund, which provides up to $1,300 for doula support and care services. To learn more about this grant, please visit the Black Birth Equity Fund Grant Application.

Do you have other questions?

I would love to hear them! 

Please reach out for a free consultation at your earliest convenience. You are welcome to share your questions in advance of our conversation.

Below are also some helpful resources that can benefit you or other families during their pregnancy and birth journeys:

  • Evidence Based Birth® - This is a fantastic resource to get evidence-based information about all kinds of birth related topics, everything from understanding the evidence on prenatal tests, "big babies," what to consider if your water breaks early, newborn procedures, and much, much more!

  • Spinning Babies® -  Have you ever wondered if there was a way to help your baby get into a better position before labor? Have you considered ways to prepare your body for labor that makes the laboring process smoother? Spinning Babies® is a great resource for women to prepare their bodies to work with their baby before and during labor. They share helpful daily exercises, balancing exercises through pregnancy, and what to do if your baby ends up in the breech position and needs to flip! Want to know where baby is? Learn from their Belly Mapping® techniques.

Looking for additional resources in the community? I would be happy to try to point you in the right direction.