FAQ for Parents
Simple answers for parents who want to know what a doula or postpartum doula is, and what they can do for them.
What is a Doula?
A doula is an experienced, non-medical assistant who provides physical, emotional and informed choice support in prenatal care and support, during childbirth and during the postpartum period. A birth doula offers continuous care provider for labor in many settings, to include homebirth, birth center and hospital birth.
What is a Postpartum Doula?
The postpartum doula offers care in the home (nutritious cooking for the mother, breastfeeding support, newborn care assistance, maternal-child bonding support, errands, light housekeeping) the day after the birth, providing services through the first six weeks postpartum.
Why is a Doula a benefit at a birth?
According to Mothering the Mother, How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier and Healthier Birth, by Kennell, Klaus, and Kennell (1993), having a doula can give you a:
- 50% reduction in cesarean rates
- 25% shorter labor
- 60% reduction in epidural requests
- 40% reduction in oxytocin (pitocin) use
- 30% reduction in analgesia use
- 40% reduction in forceps delivery
Questions to ask a prospective doula.
What kind of training did she have?
Does she provide prenatal and/or postpartum visits?
What can you expect during these visits, if offered?
How many births has she attended?
Can she provide references?
What form of training has she had?
What types of births has she witnessed (Cesarean, epidural, intervention free, VBAC, teen birth, etc.)?
Her fee? And does she have a sliding scale or other arrangements available?
Has she ever worked with your care provider or at your place of birth?
Does she has back-up arrangements available?
What will her role be in early labor?
Will she provide labor support at your home prior to going to the place of birth?
Is she familiar with many methods of childbirth?
How does she define her role during labor and birth?