Hiring a Doula

The next agenda item for me is to get recommendations for a doula. I plan to use a doula's services for the birth of our baby and postpartum. I've done some preliminary research and hope to make a decision within the next four weeks. 

labor doula or birth doula is someone, often trained but not required, who provides non-medical and non-midwifery support (physical and emotional) to a woman leading up to and during her labor and delivery. A labor doula may attend a woman having a home birth or a woman laboring at home before transporting to a hospital or a birth center, where she will continue her support. They do not perform clinical duties such as heart rate checks or vaginal exams, or give medical advice. Labor doulas rely on techniques like massage and position changes to help women through labor. -Wikipedia


Birth Doula

What does a birth doula do?

A birth doula is a NON-MEDICAL assistant who can help you with:

  • childbirth education and local resources
  • labor coping skills
  • reassurance
  • encouragement
  • comfort measures for labor
  • initial breastfeeding support
  • relaxation
  • visualization
  • massage
  • natural ways to work with long or difficult labors
  • vaginal birth after cesarean (V-BAC) support

What other things does a doula actually provide once hired?

  • prenatal meeting(s)
  • Being on call 24/7 until your labor begins
  • Continuous labor support at your home and/or your birth site, during active labor & birth and immediately after birth
  • A backup doula is arranged for you 24/7
  • A postpartum meeting
  • On-call phone support pre/post birth

What effect does the presence of a doula have on the mother?
When a doula is present during a birth, women report greater satisfaction with their birth experience, make more positive assessments of their babies, have fewer cesareans and medical interventions and suffer less postpartum depression.

Numerous clinical studies have found that the presence of a birth doula:

  • tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
  • reduces negative feelings about one's childbirth experience
  • reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction
  • reduces requests for pain medication & epidurals, as well as the incidence of cesareans

What effect does the presence of a doula have on the baby?
Studies show that babies born with doulas present have shorter hospital stays, fewer admissions to special care nurseries, breastfeed more easily, and have mothers that are more affectionate in the postpartum period.

Postpartum Doula 

What exactly does a postpartum doula do?
Listing exactly what a doula does is difficult because every family has its own needs that become clear after the baby arrives. Here are just some of the ways a doula might help your family:

  • Help you master breastfeeding.
  • Catch up on laundry.
  • Prepare nourishing meals.
  • Show you how to bathe and dress your baby.
  • Educate you about baby's normal sleep patterns.
  • Reassure you about your newborn's  noises, behavior or appearance.
  • Care for older siblings.
  • Run errands.
  • Pick up groceries or supplies.
  • Handle phone calls and visitors.
  • Share a list of local parenting resources.
  • Provide referrals.
  • Loan books, DVDs, and instructional materials.

What do families gain by hiring a postpartum doula?
First-time parents find that working with a doula quickly builds confidence in their parenting skills. Second-time- and-beyond parents find that a postpartum doula offers a set of capable, helpful hands, so they have time to focus on bonding with the new baby while maintaining the all-important connection to his/her older siblings.

What are the benefits of postpartum doula care?
A postpartum doula's job is to impart knowledge to you in a non-judgmental way. A postpartum doula can:

  • Increase breastfeeding understanding and success.
  • Build your confidence in your parenting skills.
  • Answer questions and listen to your concerns about your baby.
  • Provide referrals, when and if necessary.
  • Offer emotional support.
  • Reduce feelings of isolation thereby cutting down on the potential for postpartum depression.

Won't we be uncomfortable having a stranger in our home?
Clients who work with a postpartum doula report feeling cared for, nurtured in their new role, reassured and grateful for the calm, professional and unobtrusive support of a postpartum doula.


All information from Doulas of New Jersey here