There are few plans more important than the plans you have for your child’s birth. Every birth plan is unique just like each birth. In recent years, more women are including doulas as part of their birth plans.
St. Luke’s recently announced the addition of a new volunteer birth doula program, funded by St. Luke's Children's Miracle Network. Birth doulas are available to help moms through the labor and delivery process.
What is a birth doula?
The word “doula” is an ancient Greek word meaning a woman who serves. Doulas provide emotional, physical and informational support to moms and their partners during the birth process. Recent studies have shown a reduction in the number of cesarean sections, shorter labors and less need for pain medication during births in which a doula is present.
It’s important to know doulas are non-medical and do not take the place of midwives or doctors. They do not give medical advice or care. However, doulas can help facilitate good communication between mom and the medical team.
How can a doula help during labor?
Doulas provide a wide variety of comfort techniques during labor including massage, counter pressure, comfort techniques, aromatherapy, music, assistance with position changes and movements to help facilitate the labor process. Doulas also offer positive encouragement, help new moms in understanding the labor process as it happens and assist in setting the mood during labor including dimming the lights, adjusting the temperature or helping find relaxing music to play during labor
Is a doula only for natural childbirth?
No, not at all. A doula is able to support mom in whatever birth plan they have chosen, even if it means labor in which mom has chosen an epidural. A doula may also support a mom who is having a cesarean section and has no support person with her.
What about baby’s dad or mom’s partner?
Doulas are never meant to replace baby’s dad or mom’s partner. They are actually able to enhance those relationships by offering additional support to help the support person better support mom. Sometimes, partners need reassurance during the birth process too.
What kind of training does a St. Luke’s doula receive?
St. Luke’s doulas complete an intensive two-day professional labor support workshop as well as additional orientation classes and hands on training. In addition, they have completed a background check and very thorough health screening.
What is the difference between having a St. Luke’s volunteer doula and hiring a private doula?
Private doulas are paid out of pocket and contracted independently. A private doula has the privilege of being able to guarantee their availability for a particular client and also meet with them in their home.
Our volunteer doulas are available on a first come, first served basis. Because we do not know what the demand for doulas will be on a particular day, we are never able to guarantee the availability of a doula though we always strive to meet the requests of our patients. Our doulas offer their services as a gift to our community without cost to our patients.
Is a doula right for you?
If you are interested in arranging a doula for your baby's birth, let us know. Doulas are available on a first come, first served basis.