What are your Expecting Parent Circles. What is the Centering Model?
Our Expecting Parent Circles are inspired by the Centering Model. Centering is facilitated, group/peer to peer learning with a focus on empowerment and community being used in many midwifery and obstetric practices.
We meet as a group, twice a month, to discuss everything pregnancy- the joys, the concerns, the planning, the choices, and the evidence. Parents get to learn from each other as well as our knowledgeable doulas and guest speakers.
For more information about Centering visit the Centering Pregnancy website.
WHAT IS A BIRTH DOULA? WHAT DO YOU DO?
Here’s the short answer: A birth doula is a person trained and experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth. (1)
Here’s a better answer: We’re your birth concierge- we’ve been through many births and understand the path. We can stand by your side for your entire birth, guide your partner and support you as you make decisions. We give our heart and soul to YOUR birth and supporting your preferences as much as possible. If your path changes we roll with it and offer suggestions to keep you as close to your preferences as possible.
We make sure you’re eating, your partner is resting & eating and participating as much as s/he and you desire. We build a team with your care providers, offer cool wash clothes, position changes for comfort, anticipate all of your needs and ENCOURAGE you!
Read this if you want insight to our hearts and souls :http://childbirthcollective.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/the-doula-as-witness/
I want an epidural/elective cesarean. Do I still need a doula? What can you do for me?
YES! Good for you, you’ve given thought to what your preferences are. Doulas support your decisions, walk through your process and motivation for your decisions so we understand and make sure you have all of the current information. Then, we help make that happen.
Even with pain medication and cesarean births doulas have much that we can provide. You still will need comfort measures, information and emotional support. Your partner will still need all of these things.
If you’re planning a cesarean birth we can guide you through gentle cesarean choices to make sure you get elements like immediate skin to skin and breastfeeding, music, aromatherapy etc.
Will a doula make my partner feel unnecessary?
No, a doula is supportive to both the mother and her partner, and plays a crucial role in helping her partner become involved in the birth to the extent he/she feels comfortable. Having a doula helps take pressure off the partner and gives that person a break if needed.
Where does the word “doula” come from?
The word “doula” comes from ancient Greek, meaning “Woman’s servant.” Throughout history and in much of the world today, a cadre of women support a woman through labor and birth, giving back rubs and providing continuous emotional support. Like their historical counterparts, DONA International birth doulas know how to help a woman in labor feel better. However, today’s doulas are much more diverse than their predecessors. DONA International membership includes men and women from a wide range of ages and cultural backgrounds. (1)
What effects does the presence of a doula have on birth outcomes?
The above link is the most recent meta-analysis of the research concerning doula support.
Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth:
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 the requests for pain medication and epidurals, as well as the incidence of cesareans (1)
What effects does the presence of a doula have on the mother?
When a doula is present during and after childbirth, women report greater satisfaction with their birth experience, make more positive assessments of their babies, have fewer cesareans and requests for medical intervention, and less postpartum depression.(1)
What does that really mean? Women who have doulas tend to be happier with their births. Not necessarily because the birth itself went as “planned”, but because she and her partner were supported by someone they trusted during the entire process.
What effects do the presence of doulas have on babies?
Studies have shown that babies born with doulas present tend to have shorter hospital stays with fewer admissions to special care nurseries, breastfeed more easily and have more affectionate mothers in the postpartum period.
Also, as doulas we help encourage quiet environments and calmness in the moments after birth so you, partner and baby can enjoy each other and start life off as stress free as possible
Does a doula replace nursing staff?
No. Doulas do not replace nurses or other medical staff. Doulas do not perform clinical or medical tasks such as taking blood pressure or temperature, monitoring fetal heart rate, doing vaginal examinations or providing postpartum clinical care. They are there to comfort and support the mother and to enhance communication between the mother and medical professionals.(1)
Does a doula make decisions on my behalf?
A doula does not make decisions for clients or intervene in their clinical care. She provides informational and emotional support, while respecting a woman’s decisions.(1)
What do postpartum doulas do?
What a postpartum doula does changes from day to day, as the needs of the family change. Postpartum doulas do whatever a mother needs to best enjoy and care for her new baby. A large part of their role is education. They share information about baby care with parents, as well as teach siblings and partners to “mother the mother.” They assist with breastfeeding education. Postpartum doulas also make sure the mother is fed, well hydrated and comfortable. (1)
We can help you with feeding, understanding your baby. “How do I swaddle anyway?” Some days we may make you dinner, do light cleaning and laundry while you and baby get some rest. Or we may spend the day guiding you through baby care.
We also listen. We hear your joys, listen to your birth story, your partner and his or her needs. We support those feelings and help you put elements into place that nurture you.
How long does a postpartum doula spend with a family?
Doula support can last anywhere from one or two visits to more than three months. After three months we encourage you to look for long term solutions. Doulas are often looked to for nanny support. Unfortunately we have so many other families that need our support to. You’ll be in a good spot when we’re done working with you and we’ll help you transition with your new helper.
What hours can I expect a doula to work with my family?
Our hours can vary. We offer day time hours with a minimum of 3 hour shifts or overnight support (10pm-6am).
What is the difference between a postpartum doula and a baby nurse?
The role of a postpartum doula is to help a woman through her postpartum period and to nurture the family. Unlike a baby nurse, a doula’s focus is not solely on the baby, but on fostering independence for the entire family. The doula is as available to the father and older children as to the mother and the baby. Treating the family as a unit that is connected and always changing enables doulas to do their job: nurture the family.
What is a postpartum doula’s goal?
The goal of a doula is to nurture the parents into their new roles. As they experience success and their knowledge and self-confidence grow, their needs for professional support should diminish.
How does a doula nurture the parents into their roles?
Self-confidence has a tremendous impact on a person’s ability to approach any task, and parenting is no different. DONA International doulas are taught to always consider parents’ feelings and always build confidence whenever possible. Doulas accomplish this through praise, acceptance and a non-judgmental approach. In addition, the doula will teach parents strategies and skills that will improve their ability to bond with their babies. A calm baby who is growing well will help parents to feel more confident in their skills.
Do doulas help mothers to deal with postpartum depression?
Unlike therapists or psychiatrists, doulas do not treat postpartum depression. However, they will help by creating a safe place for the mother emotionally. The doula will provide a cushioning effect by accepting the mother within each stage that she passes through. They relieve some of the pressure on the new mother by helping her move into her new responsibilities gradually. By mothering the mother, doulas make sure that the mother feels nurtured and cared for, as well as making sure she is eating well and getting enough sleep.
Do doulas teach a particular parenting approach?
No. We are educated to support a mothers’ parenting approach. Doulas are good listeners and encourage mothers to develop their own philosophies.
How do postpartum doulas work with a mother’s partner?
A doula respects the partner’s role and input, and teaches concrete skills that will help the partner nurture the baby and mother. The doula will share evidence-based information with the partner that shows how his or her role in the early weeks will have a dramatic positive effect on the family.
Adapted from: Nurturing the Family: The Guide for Postpartum Doulas by Jacqueline Kelleher (Xlibris Corporation, 2002)