Every woman in labor can benefit from experienced labor support. CHOICE will provide a Birth Doula for couples who wish to have this extra support, especially if planning a birth center or traditional hospital birth. Birth doulas are also helpful for home births and for those couples planning a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). A birth doula is a woman trained to provide physical and emotional comfort to a woman during childbirth.
A birth doula can help the labor partner be an effective and compassionate labor coach. The birth doula helps the couple work together as a team. Medical studies have shown that women with supportive labor companions have better outcomes, shorter labors, and need less pain medication than women who labor alone. Studies also show that birth doulas reduce the rate of Cesarean Sections.
The birth doula can help you manage discomfort and pain with whatever works for you: massage, position, breathing techniques, visualization and relaxation. She will offer explanations and reassurance regarding the progress of labor. Women who choose to have an epidural or other pain medication will also benefit from the support of a birth doula. A birth doula can help you cope with your discomfort until labor is well-established, as well as suggest positions and techniques for keeping baby in an ideal position for birth.
Birth doulas do not replace expert medical care, so you will still need to hire a care provider (midwife, OB, or nurse-midwife). However, nurses change shifts and doctors have many responsibilities. A birth doula’s first concern is your comfort and reassurance. Your birth doula is there beside you for the entire duration of your labor in the hospital or other desired place of birth. Your birth doula is an informed labor coach and she can answer your questions as well as advocate for you.
The CHOICE Birth Doula program begins with a free one-hour consultation. This gives you and your labor partner the chance to meet your doula and discuss your wants and needs. This also gives you a chance to decide whether your doula is a good fit for you. Once you decide to hire your birth doula, we will schedule a health history. At this history, your birth doula will get to know your family and medical history, birth preferences, desired place of birth, and your postpartum plans. You and your birth doula will also decide whether you will meet at the hospital or if you would like your doula to come to your home during labor. Your next appointment will happen 3 weeks prior to your due date. If you decide to meet at the hospital, this appointment will take place at the CHOICE office. If you decide that you would like your birth doula to labor with you at home, this visit will happen at your home. This gives your birth doula an opportunity to get to know the route to your house before your birth. At 37 weeks’ gestation, your birth doula is officially on-call for you until the birth of your baby. Once your baby is born, your birth doula will help you establish breastfeeding and answer any remaining questions you might have. You will have a postpartum visit with your birth doula at the CHOICE office when your baby is about 3 weeks old.
In addition to the Birth Doula Program fee, there is a one-time mileage charge. This is calculated on the basis of the mileage, one-way, from the office to your home or hospital. This covers all trips the doula will make for your birth.