A Birth Doula is someone who is trained to provide physical and emotional support to the birthing couple. The word “Doula” is Greek for helper; servant. A Doula is an experienced and informed labor coach who meets with you prenatally to help you understand the birthing process. A Doula can help you understand not only hospital procedures but also the local hospital climate. They can help with planning a home birth and provide support prior to the Midwives’ arrival. A Doula will use their knowledge and experience to explain what is happening during each stage of childbirth. They may use their voice to coach you during labor, or their hands to provide physical support. A Birth Doula reminds you to ask questions and advocate for yourself. CHOICE also offers Postpartum Doula services.
Medical studies have shown that women who have continuous labor companions have better outcomes, shorter labors and need less pain medication than women who labor unsupported.(2012, Hodnett et al.) Every woman in labor can benefit from experienced labor support. Studies also show that birth doulas reduce the rate of Cesarean Section and increase good feelings about the birth. Birth doulas provide continuous support throughout labor, birth and the postpartum period, and can provide community referrals for additional care, if needed. A doula’s job is not to take over the role of the partner, but to help the birthing couple work together. The doula reassures and encourages the partner, as well as the laboring person.
CHOICE doulas are toLabor trained, participate in continuing education and peer review. Many of our doulas are also apprentice midwives, and have additional training in childbirth. CHOICE doulas attend hospital, birth center, and home births. Our doulas are independent doulas; they work directly for your family, not the hospital or doctor. They support families no matter what their birthing goals are, and want families to have all of the necessary information to make informed decisions about their birth experience.
The CHOICE Birth Doula program includes:
- A free, 1-hour consultation including information about birthing with a doula, as well as an opportunity to assess compatibility with the doula
- Comprehensive health history taken at the initial appointment
- One appointment at 37 weeks in your home or at CHOICE
- Continuous care during labor, birth and the postpartum period
- On-staff back-up you can meet during a prenatal appointment
- On-call starting at 37 weeks
- Extensive lending library of books and videos
- Reduced fee for families choosing a homebirth with CHOICE