What the heck is a doula?
A doula is a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and educational support to a birthing person before, during, and after childbirth to help them achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible. They are basically highly skilled birth-nerds that will be your guide to meeting your new baby or babies!
What experience should I expect from my doula?
As DONA doulas, we adhere to the highest standards set forth in the doula community. DONA International’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics are guides for our team as we serve families, connect with colleagues. and interact with the medical and holistic community.
As hypnosis is a tool in birth we at Happy Waves, highly recommend and have used in our own births, we are also Certified Hypnobabies® Childbirth Hypnosis Doulas.
Outside of traditional training, you can expect your doula has attended an abundance of unique birthing experiences, is in a leadership role in the local Central Florida ICAN community, is a VBAC specialist, is the founder of the renewed Volusia County Birth Network, and a placenta specialist trained under professional midwives.
You can also expect your doula to have a passion for postpartum care including experience in baby wearing education, breastfeeding and lactation support, belly binding techniques for advanced healing, fourth trimester nutrition, and personal experience with birth trauma and postpartum mood disorders.
Who should hire a doula?
Any birthing person that would like be to supported through their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period should hire a doula! Every birthing person (and their birth partners too) who wants a doula should have access to one. We believe that doulas are for everyone!
When should I hire a doula?
The ideal time to hire a doula is as early in your pregnancy as possible. However, it is never too late to hire a doula! We take birthing people who have just found out they are pregnant, all the way to people that have passed the 40 week mark. We do recommend hiring earlier in the pregnancy as this ensures that you, your doula, and your birth team get to know one another and to discuss your preferences for your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. It also gives you added support for pregnancy related questions and concerns that are non-medical. We recommend hiring your doula early in the second trimester to ensure your spot and to get the most bang for your buck.
What benefits can I expect from having a doula?
According to accredited studies, a birthing person accompanied by a trained and professional doula throughout the birthing time is likely to have a more positive outcome. Here are some of the statistics from these studies:
- 50% or more decrease in the risk of Cesarean
- 12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
- 10% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
- 60% decrease in epidural requests
- 40% decrease in use Oxytocin (Pitocin)
- 25% shorter labor on average
- 38% decrease in the baby’s risk of a low five minute Apgar score
- 31% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth or experiencing birth related trauma
Where do doulas serve?
Doulas work in all locations people birth. We can be seen at home births, hospital births, and birth center births! We will even join you in the middle of the woods next to a baby deer if you so choose. We just ask that your provider also tags along for the safety of you and your baby.
Aren’t doulas only for natural, unmedicated births?
This is one of the biggest myths about doulas. Doulas are for ALL BIRTHS! Natural births, cesarean births, VBACs, epidural births, inductions, spontaneous vaginal birth, all the meds, none of the meds, at home, in the hospital, at an awesome birth center, or however else YOU want to birth. We are there!
As doulas our role is to be sure our clients are educated, supported, safe, and empowered during their births. This means that their choices are heard, respected, and followed through with in all ways possible. Doulas support the rights and wishes of the birthing person continuously through the entire journey of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.
Does a doula replace my partner?
We always say, "A doula has an intimate knowledge of birth, but your partner has an intimate knowledge of you!" We can never, and would never replace a partner in your birth. A doula is a teammate and a part of your birth team. Doulas teach partners how to be more involved in the birthing process when and where they are comfortable doing so. Doulas know when to step back and allow families to bond to better the birth and when to step in and help you rock your birth. Partners and doulas are the dream team of a successful birth.
When do doulas support me?
Doulas go on call for a birthing person at the 38 week marker unless otherwise stated in the contractual agreement. On-call means that the doula will be within an agreed upon radius from the birthing person's home and/or birth location, they will remain sober, and will answer all calls, texts, emails, and smoke signals during this period.
If a birthing person happens to go into their birthing time before the 38 week mark, no worries! Doulas remain available to you and are just a phone call away. If for some reason your doula is unavailable you will be assigned a backup doula at no cost to you. This doula is trained in the same techniques and will be able to provide you exceptional service, will have reviewed your birth preferences, and will have access to any previously provided information before meeting you at your home or birth location. The backup doula will remain with you through your birthing time and your hired doula will come as soon as possible, or see you at your first postpartum visit.
You will NEVER be left without a doula. Due to the way Happy Waves Doula Services strict scheduling guidelines with birthing client it is exceptionally rare to have a backup doula or any conflicts of overlapping births. We take a very limited number of clients every month and take great pride in not missing out on births and cute little babies.
Is there anything a doula cannot do?
Doulas are not medical professionals. We do not catch babies! That is for midwives, OBGYNs and parents of these sweet little ones. The following is also a list of tasks doulas do not do:
- We don't perform clinical tasks such as vaginal exams or fetal heart monitoring
- We don't give medical advice or diagnose conditions
- We for sure don't make decisions for the client (medical or otherwise)
- We do not pressure birthing people into certain choices just because that’s what we would do or it is a personal preference
- We don't take over the role of your partner or other birth team
- We never, ever, everrrrr catch the baby.... but you can
- We don't change shifts or bail on births even if they are long (we may call in backup if it is extensive to be sure your care if top notch)