Frequently asked doula questions
Get the answers to some of the most common doula, birthing and bestie questions that you may have!
What is a birth doula?
A birth doula provides emotional and physical support, along with resources and birth preparation to an expecting family prenatally, during birth and shortly after.
How does a postpartum doula work with my family?
Working with your family means that the doula offers encouragement, advice and guidance as everyone navigates the new transition. Support for the family often looks like suggestions for bottle feeding and bath time, help with preparing dinner, and more. Yes, a professionally trained postpartum doula makes you the priority. This includes your mental and emotional health, your physical healing from birth, and your sleep. Those needs are often met when a postpartum doula supports another aspect of the family/home. When you feel your baby is taken care of, the kitchen is organized and your lunch is made, your overall well-being has a chance to feel restful and cared for. A postpartum doula tends to what you need, sometimes even without needing direction (as long as it’s within their scope of practice).
What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?
A doula is a non-medical support person who focuses on caring for you emotionally and physically and helps you to feel informed and empowered. While they often have similar approaches, a midwife differs from a doula in a very large way. A midwife is a *medical* professional, meaning that the primary focus of their care is on the health and safety of you and your baby. Both doulas and midwives work with you prenatally, support you throughout the birth and follow up with you postpartum. Specifically, at birth, doulas are often found doing hip squeezes, refilling your water bottle, providing guidance and reassurance (to you and your partner), and repeating affirmations that empower you. At birth, midwives may be found doing similar things to a doula, but their top priorities include: ensuring that you and your baby’s vital signs are stable, assessing you and your baby, completing cervical exams when needed, administering medication if necessary, and catching the baby you are birthing.
Doulas and midwives go together like peanut butter and jelly!
What kinds of birth do birth doulas support?
Whether you want to give birth at home or by scheduled cesarean, birth doulas support ALL kinds of birth. A lot of people imagine doulas supporting home births or think doulas are only for the “crunchy” families. While that may be a stereotype for doulas, a large majority of doulas can be found in hospitals and birth centers. Some doulas have “specialties” or certain styles that they bring to the table, meaning that they might be a better fit for a certain idea you have for your birth. Experience and additional training do come into play here. Doulas support any and all births, from midwife-supported home births to birth center births to unmedicated hospital births to scheduled cesarean births.
When should I hire a birth doula?
The earlier the better really. Typically, the beginning of your third trimester is a good time to have your doula secured. We often recommend that you start your search in your second trimester, talk to and interview a couple of doulas, and really determine who is the best fit for you. You deserve someone you feel an easy connection with and someone who you feel fits your personality and needs.
*If you consider yourself a planner or someone who experiences anxiety more often, hiring a doula earlier in your pregnancy might be more beneficial. This allows you to really form that trusting relationship and feel unconditionally supported as you navigate the emotional and mental ups and downs.
What is a postpartum doula?
Postpartum doulas work with you during those first moments at home, typically ranging from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. Postpartum doulas provide unbiased, evidence-based information, and create a safe space for you to feel comfortable and cared for. You will receive assistance with newborn care, light household tidying, food preparation, lactation, laundry, and more. Postpartum doulas provide critical support during the often overlooked “fourth trimester.”
Click here to read what is included if you were to hire a doula on our team as your postpartum doula.
How do I find the right postpartum doula for me and my family?
You deserve the best! Each doula is unique and there are a few things that come into play.
Trust your gut. Your postpartum experience may be a mixture of good days and bad. On those up or down days, you deserve to have the exact support you need. Your postpartum doula should meet you where you are at. If you are interviewing and meeting with a postpartum doula, listen to your heart and to your gut. Do you think this person would support you in the way you deserve?
Determine what it is that you’re looking for. Do you have certain preferences or wishes when it comes to your postpartum journey? Are you planning to breastfeed or bottle feed? Are you looking for support during specific hours or days of the week? Finding a doula who can unconditionally support you and who may have experience with the things you are planning for can make all the difference. Be direct in asking if they fit the schedule or experience you are looking for.
Interview more than one doula. As doulas, we know how important it is for a client-doula relationship to feel connected and trusting. That is why we believe that by researching and considering more than one doula, you will open doors to the choices you have. An internet search or searching DoulaMatch may help.
When the connection feels right, go for it. After the logistics like availability and pricing, more forward if you feel ready to add this person to your postpartum team.
Tip: If you connect well with more than one postpartum doula, consider hiring one as primary and asking the other doula to be the back up doula in the event that your primary postpartum doula cannot be with you for the exact schedule you are looking for. Ask if your hired doula works with specific back up doulas or is open to suggestions/guidance from you. Having a second postpartum doula, even just in case, is a great option if you are in a bind and need some last-minute care!
How does a birth doula work with my partner?
A common question we get is, “Will my partner feel left out?” Honestly, this is a very valid question. Many think that a doula takes the role of the partner when, in fact, our role supports them as well. We firmly believe that our role as your doula is to amplify support, and that goes for your partner too. We have worked with many different birthing partners, yet they all have one thing in common: Your partner knows you better than anyone else. Even if they aren’t sure how to support you in labor/birth, they know your fears, preferences and desires. We work with your partner by encouraging them, offering guidance and suggestions when needed, reminding them to also stay hydrated and to take bathroom breaks, and more. If your partner has witnessed birth before, they still deserve support and the comfort in knowing they are supported as well.
Words from a birthing partner: “I love my wife and wanted to be the best support I could be, so for me that meant hiring Chloe. From the first time we met with her, and we met with her a lot prior to birth, there was an instant feeling of ease. Our delivery was a long one, and Chloe was with my wife and I from the start to long after. She helped my wife in ways that I could not have and had prepared me in a way that allowed me to be there for my wife in a way that I couldn’t have dreamed of.”
What kind of families do postpartum doulas support?
Postpartum doulas support ALL types of families. Regardless of gender, marital status, sexual orientation, race, religion, etc. — you deserve a postpartum doula. Twins or more? You are covered. Older siblings? Not a problem.
There is a postpartum doula out there right now that can fit the needs of you and your family. Schedule a consultation with Chloe to see who would be a good match for you!
When should I hire a postpartum doula?
This depends on you and how you are anticipating your postpartum needs will be met. Some families hire a postpartum doula while they are still pregnant. Maybe a previous experience has encouraged them to secure a postpartum doula early on. Other families start their postpartum journey on their own and then recognize that they would benefit from a doula or wanted to wait to see if they would require the support. The timing of when you hire a postpartum doula is completely up to you! Even if you do not hire one ahead of time, researching and knowing your options while pregnant can be helpful for when you end up searching for one after you give birth.