©2019 Sacred Beginning, Sharon Gourlay

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Doula Question and Answers?
 

What is a Birth Doula?

  • The word doula in Greek means female helper, maidservant, from Greek doulē female slave. More commonly known today as a birth companion she is non-medical and assists pregnant people through providing continuous support with physical assistance and emotional support. The key is that a doula provides continuous support and this improves maternal and fetal health with other benefits including fewer interventions such as inductions, cesarean sections and less need for pain medication. This support person is not a family or friend. The evidence says that they cannot be medical staff either to achieve the benefits (fewer interventions etc).

  • So a birth doula provides continuous support which includes physical assistance and emotional support. I also believe that birth doulas offer informational, social networking, and spiritual support to many couples.

 

What is an Independent Birth Doula?

  • An Independent Birth Doula works for herself. She may be referred to by a Care Providers office however, she is in business on her own. A Professional Birth Doula is someone who supports families during the birth year and charges a fee to do so. In my book, she is also certified and is a vibrant part of her community. She takes continuing education and other training's to stay on top of her chosen profession.

 

What is a Hospital Birth Doula?

  • A Hospital based Birth Doula may work for herself but is hired by the hospital system to support their patients during labor. Locally they do not offer to labor with families in their home so they do not provide continuous labor support. They are attached to the hospital which can be seen as a hospital employee to the birth couple. The evidence supports that doulas should be Independent and unattached to the medical field to reap the benefits established in the doula studies.

 

Why should I hire an Independent Certified Birth Doula?

An Independent Certified Doula offers you advantages over the other options:

  • She is absolutely Independent without any strings. She works for your family and helps you with your needs. There are no blurred lines.

  • She is certified with continued training so she offers you the most recent techniques to help you through your labor.

  • She meets with you prenatally several times. She does her own intake session allowing her to gain the knowledge and formulate a plan of how to best support you in advance of labor happening.

  • She helps guide you through putting your birth wishes on paper. She is in tune with the birth community and knows the policies and protocols of many hospitals/Care Providers.

  • She offers continued support. She comes to you and labors with you at home through when the baby is born and into the postpartum for a few hours.

  • She is socially connected and can get you the referrals you may need through pregnancy and the postpartum period.

  • She does a postpartum visit during those first few weeks after birth. You review the birth and get any assistance that might be needed.

  • She often offers telephone support to her clients throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period.

  • Because she is Independent she is able to meet your needs without having her hands tied with bureaucratic red tape. She can create a custom package that includes childbirth education, birth, and even postpartum doula services.

 

Are doulas only for "natural" births?

Professional Birth Doulas support all choices in birth regardless of if you plan to labor unmedicated, medicated, have an epidural, or schedule a cesarean birth.  Birth Doulas are trained to support all kinds of birth scenarios.

 

Are Professional Birth Doulas trained professionals?

Yes.  Professional Birth Doulas have received training normally from an in-person training which is about 2 to 4 days in length.  They have to read certain books, audit childbirth and breastfeeding classes, attend a certain amount of births, and take a test to become certified (depending on their certification organization).  I trained with DONA International and chose to certify with them.

 

Which families are hiring Professional Independent Doulas?

  • A First Time Parent

  • A Single Parent

  • An Adoption - Birth Mother, Intended Mother

  • A Multi-Time Mother

  • A HypnoBirthing Mother

  • An LBGTQ Family

  • A Hospital Birth Family

  • A Birth Center Birthing Family

  • An OBGYN Patient

  • A Midwife Patient

  • A VBAC Family

  • A Cesarean Birth Family

  • Any family seeking a calm and gentle experience.

 

 

How much does a doula cost?

In Central Ohio, the cost of a doula ranges from $300 (hospital doula program) to $1500 doula packages.  On the East and West coasts, fees can be as high as $5,000.  It depends on your local market.  Most Certified Birth Doulas will consider bartering, payment plans, and other options when working with clients.

 

How does a doula fit into the birth team?

She compliments whatever type of birth you might desire.  Independent Professional Birth Doulas do their best to help families have the type of birth they envision without any judgment, ever.   Types of births that we support:  Hospital, Home, Medicated, Unmedicated, High Risk/Special Circumstances, Vaginal, Cesarean, VBAC, Perinatal losses, and Rainbow baby births.

 

 

How many births have you attended?

2017- 110 and counting

 


Do you generally work with home births or hospital births?

I attend hospital and birth center births.  The majority of HypnoBirthing clients birth in a hospital.  The national average in the US is 1% of families birth at home however HypnoBirthing families actually chose 9% of the time to birth at home. 

 

I do support families choice to birth at home but in the Central Ohio market, most of those births are well attended by Midwives/Monitrices.  My services as an Independent Professional Birth Doula really are needed with those birthing in the hospital setting.  

 

 

Which hospitals are you most comfortable with?

I believe I serve families best at the following facilities:

OSU 

St. Ann's Mt Carmel

Mt Carmel East

Mt Carmel West

Doctors Hospital - Ohio Health

Riverside

Dublin Methodist

Licking Valley

Fairfield Medical

Zanesville

Athens

 

 

Are you part of a collective? Who is your back-up?

I am one of the founders of the group - Central Ohio Doulas.  My back up is Ami Shaffer.  You can learn more about her here.  In our group of 18 doulas, we sometimes back each other up too.

 

How many clients do you take per month?

I take 1 to 2 doula clients per month.  I enjoy building personal connections with my doula clients, therefore, I limit the number of births I take a month.

 

What kind of specialized services do you offer?

As a Birth Professional, I am located in the Central Ohio area. I have helped HypnoBirthing® families since 2006 and have taught over 500 couples this amazing childbirth education program. I also am certified by the HypnoBirthing® Institute to offer Fertility Sessions and Infant Massage Classes. In addition to HypnoBirthing®, I also am a Certified Birth Doula through DONA International, Certified Hypnotherapist, Reiki Master, and Yoga Nidra Facilitator focused on maternal services. I also took the Advanced Childbirth Education classes through ICEA and offer traditional Childbirth Classes.
 

Are there types of pain relief or interventions you do not support? Why?

No.  I support your choices.

 

Will you support me in any decision?

Absolutely.  That is my job.

 

Are you a mother?

Yes, I have one angel son and two daughters turning 11 and 12 this year.  Keep in mind one does not need to be a mother to be a birth doula.

 

What is your philosophy about birth and supporting women and their partners through labor?

My philosophy is that all parents deserve respect through the birth experience.  These decisions made for labor should be done with up to date information and navigation is completed through your own family's values and ethics.  I am here to support your family through those decisions.

 

May we meet to discuss our birth plans and the role you will play in supporting me through birth?

Yes.  I offer standardly 2 prenatals and one postpartum visit.  During prenatals, we will devise preferences for birth.

 

May we call you with questions or concerns before and after the birth?

Yes, please contact me whenever you have questions or concerns.

 

When do you try to join families in labor?

The short answer is when they need me to come.  We discuss when is the right time to contact me to come to your labor during prenatals.  I prefer to join you at home in labor.  Each family is different so for quick moving births and high-risk situations its often easier to meet you at the hospital.

 

Do you meet with us after the birth to review the labor and answer questions?

Yes, absolutely.