Below are some useful questions and answers for parents who are considering using my birth doula service.
(Note: questions come from Klaus, M. H., Kennell, J. H., Klaus, P. H. The Doula Book, 3rd ed. Cambridge: Perseus Publishing, 2012.)
1. What training and experience with birth do you have? Are you certified as a doula?
I am a DONA-certified birth doulal. I also have a Master of Public Health degree, CAPPA training as a childbirth educator, and am educated in Maternal and Child Health, Anatomy & Physiology. My experience with birth consists of eight clients, seven vaginal births (including one VBAC) and one cesarean section, as well as the birth of my two daughters, both delivered vaginally in a hospital without medical intervention.
2. What is your philosophy about supporting mothers and fathers during labor?
To me, childbirth is a natural process. I provide continuous physical and emotional support, knowledge, and encouragement to empower mothers to discover their innate strength and birthing ability. Research shows that doula support can result in shorter labor; less than half the risk of cesarean section or other medical interventions; and less complications, need for pain medication and time in the hospital (See meta-analysis for more: Scott, K. D., Berkowitz, G., Klaus, M. A comparison of intermittent and continuous support during labor: A meta analysis. Am J Obstet Gynecol, 180:1054-1059, 1999).
3. When can you meet me?
If you would like to interview me, I can meet you in your home or a central location such as a coffee shop; interviews typically last one hour. With regard to the pre-natal visits, I like to meet with the mother and partner twice, in their home or other location of their choosing, in the third trimester after the childbirth education class is complete. Visits typically last two hours each. My goal in the first visit is to learn their wishes and expectations and, in the second visit, to help them prepare for the birth. See a detailed list of services to learn more specifics.
4. Are you available to provide support and reassurance close to the time of birth and during early labor on the phone and/or in person?
Of course! I am available by unlimited calls and emails beginning at the time of hire and on call 24/7 starting at 37 weeks and through delivery.
5. What hospitals do you work at in the community?
I am willing to work as far west as Marlborough, south to Weymouth, and north to North Andover, including but not limited to the following hospitals: Brigham and Women’s, Lowell General, Melrose-Wakefield, Mount Auburn, Newton-Wellesley, South Shore, Tufts, and Winchester.
6. Do you have backup in case you are ill?
There is a wonderful and supportive network of doulas in the Boston area, within which I maintain several professional relationships. A backup would rarely be required; however, on rare occasions it is needed, I do have colleagues who are willing to serve parents in my place.
7. What are your fees?
I am happy to elaborate on my fee during a phone or in-person interview. More information can also be found on my Services & Fees page.
8. At what point during labor do you like to be called?
I liked to be informed as soon as the mother believes she is in labor. I can be of most help if I arrive to the laboring location prior to the start of “5-1-1″ (contractions 5 minutes apart, 1 minute long, for at least 1 hour).
9. What do you consider the most important elements of doula care?
I will serve as a calm, knowledgeable, supportive, encouraging, constant influence during the birth. I will maintain a safe and relaxed environment for the birth of the family.
10. Will you help parents develop a birth plan?
Absolutely! A birth plan helps parents consider and vocalize their hopes for labor, including intentions regarding medical interventions.
11. Can you help parents communicate with hospital personnel?
As part of the mother’s consistent labor support team, I consider it my role to remind mother and partner of the mother’s wishes, which the partner can then communicate with hospital personnel.
12. What comfort measures have you used for relaxation and pain relief?
Every woman has her own preferred soothing methods; I offer comfort techniques such as massage, pressure, position changes (including yoga and rocking hips on a birthing ball among others), music, and hot compress.
13. What kind of help do you offer to husbands and partners of laboring women?
I will offer the labor partner suggestions for how to support the mother best and reassurance of the normal phases of labor.
14. What is your experience and skill in teaching breastfeeding techniques?
I breastfed both of my babies and experienced difficulty with latching, mastitis, and sore nipples. I can offer empathic guidance and skills I learned in the breastfeeding workshop I attended in May 2012.