What is a birth/labor doula? What can they do for me?
The role of a birth or labor doula is to support women and their partners during the prenatal, labor and birth of their baby (or babies) to promote a safe and satisfying birth experience. This support varies based on the needs of our clients, and includes physical and emotional support, as well as educational support as requested. In the prenatal period, we seek to build a relationship with you and your birth team so that we may become familiar with your ideal birth vision and attune to your needs. During labor, we provide reassurance for you and your partner, assisting with relaxation, positioning, and other techniques for comfort.
What is a postpartum doula?
As a postpartum doula, our role is to help the mother and her family transition into life with newborn. We are able to provide newborn care advice, such as bathing and soothing, breastfeeding education and assistance, light household help and meal preparations. We can also help integrate your older children into life with their new sibling. We do not take over total care of the newborn, instead being a part of the support system that will enable you to feel confident and secure in your role as mother.
How does a doula differ from a care provider?
A doula is not a medical care provider. Our focus is on the well-being of the mother as she transitions into motherhood. While we assist her with position changes, ensure that she is feeling emotionally and mentally well, and provide the comfort of physical touch, we do not perform any medical tasks, such as blood pressure or fetal heart monitoring, vaginal exams, or prescription of medications. We work alongside your caregivers to support your optimal experience with pregnancy, birth, and motherhood.
How will hiring a doula affect my partner’s role?
A doula works with both the mother and the partner to assist in the best experience by providing the partner with support, helping them to choose their level of involvement, ask questions on how to best support their partner’s needs, and allowing them to rest or step out as needed.
What are some of the benefits of having a doula?
Your doula is a source of prenatal education, a continuous presence of support in the birth room, helps to lower mom’s anxiety and stress levels, and is able to help with positioning/pain management techniques during labor. Statistics have shown that hiring a doula can improve birth outcomes significantly.
- 28% less likely to have a cesarean section.
- 31% less likely to use synthetic oxytocin to speed up labor.
- 9% less likely to use any pain medication.
- 34% less like to rate their childbirth experience negatively.
Statistics from ChildbirthConnection.org.
Do you attend home births? Hospital births?
Short answer, yes! We attend home births AND hospital births.
I’m planning a medicated birth. Can I still benefit from having a doula?
Mothers who choose pain medications in labor can still benefit from having support, whether it be to help position your body to best advance your labor, to fetch snacks and give your partner a rest, or to help keep you focused during the final stages.
My baby will be born by cesarean (c-section), can I still have a doula? Can you tell me some of the ways I will benefit from having you at my birth?
Cesarean birth still requires knowledge, preparation, and support. We can help you and your partner understand the procedures and processes that occur in cesarean births, provide you with mental and emotional support leading up to your cesarean, and assist during postpartum with adjustment and breastfeeding.
How far do you travel?
This is dependent on the comfort of our doulas! We serve both North Central West Virginia (typically a 50 mile radius from Morgantown) and Southwestern West Virginia at this time (Huntington and Charleston, specifically). If you fall outside of those guidelines, please feel free to reach out to us anyway so that we can discuss your options.
When should I hire a doula?
There is no set time when you should hire a doula. However, the earlier you contact us, the more we'll get to know you! It is also beneficial to get your due date on our books so that you can be sure we will still have availability when you need us.
How much does hiring a doula cost?
North Central West Virginia doulas cost in the range of $600-1,500 dependent upon the area’s cost of living and the package contents. Many doulas offer payment plans, so make sure to ask if that’s an option for you!
I’m on a budget, how can I afford a doula?
Mountain State Maternity offers payment plans to help our clients reach their goal to have a doula. Also, consider listing a doula on your baby shower or birth registry!