831.234.1302 olivia@doulaolivia.com

Why would I hire a doula?

There are so many reasons! Maybe you’re a first time parent looking for some guidance through a new experience. Maybe a friend told you that her doula helped her feel empowered and heard. Maybe you know that you want a different kind of support than your partner can offer you. Maybe your partner needs support. Maybe you want to reduce your risk of caesarean section by 30% (true fact!).

Any reason to want a doula beside you is a good reason. It’s your childbirth experience, you should have the support you want.

How did you become a doula?

There are a lot of different ways to become a doula. I am a certified labor doula, which means that I took a workshop and learned primarily though reading, classroom discussion, videos, and homework assignments. Then I had to complete my practicum, which involved serving five families as a labor doula for free, in order to get feedback from clients and their caregivers. Then I sat for a written test.

I certified through Birthingway College of Midwifery in SE Portland. I chose this route because reading, classroom time, and hands-on experience are how I learn best.

What do doulas do, exactly?

Doulas are nonmedical support professionals. A doula’s role is to help you through a certain aspect of your childbearing year – whether it’s labor support or postpartum support. We are trained to provide both physical and emotional comfort measures. We are also intended to be a non-biased, fact-based resource at a time of your life when everything is changing.

Here’s an example of some things I do in the delivery room: arranging pillows, suggesting position changes, making sure the person in labor is drinking enough water, applying chapstick, fetching snacks, breathing through contractions, tapping partner out so they can eat or nap or pee, corresponding with excited, expectant family members, applying cold or warm compresses, running a bath, dimming the lights, DJing, adjusting the hospital bed,  and/or sitting still and letting the parents work together on their own.

Are there different kinds of doulas?

All kinds! Labor doulas and postpartum doulas are the most common, but you could also find sibling doulas, loss doulas, abortion doulas, or a doula who specializes in helping your pets adjust to your new baby.

When should I hire a doula?

You can hire a doula at any point in your pregnancy. Most families begin interviewing doulas when they reach 20 – 30 weeks. Your doula will go on call for you at 38 weeks and will need to be under contract before then.

What kind of doula are you?

I am a labor doula. I currently work with Providence Women’s Clinic, serving their patients. I can meet patients ahead of time through group or I can meet them on their birthing day.

When working privately, I offer my clients two prenatal visits in their home, continuous labor support, and two postpartum visits. The prenatal visits are for us to get to know one another, talk about your birth preferences, and for me to learn how I can best help you on the day of your baby’s birth. The postpartum visits are intended to help you adjust to life with a new baby!

What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?

A midwife is a medical practitioner. A doula is not. Your midwife can check your cervix, listen to baby’s heart tones, determine the positioning of your baby, and ensure that your baby is delivered safely. Your doula can help you breathe through a contraction, teach you effective laboring positions, wipe your face, or perform a hip squeeze to release the tension in your back. Doulas and midwives are both birth professionals, but the scopes of practice are vastly different.

What should I look for when choosing my doula?

We are lucky enough to live in a city with an abundance of choices. When you begin researching and interviewing doulas, the most important factor you should consider is how you feel when you’re with them. Do you feel comfortable and safe? Do you like their sense of humor? Do you feel like you’d like to spend more time with them? Do you vibe? Your gut reaction to a doula candidate will be your best barometer. This is someone you’re going to have a baby in front of! You should feel comfortable with them from the very start.