HERE), but getting to interview one as well! Michelle M. is very close to receiving her certification from CBI (Childbirth International). I hope the Q & A below helps you get a better understanding of what doulas do and why they do it!
GGWB: What prompted you to become a doula?
my birth experiences. During my own labors I really wish I would have
known about doulas. It could have helped me to get through the bullying,
and interventions. Through every woman's pregnancy and childbirth, they
want (and really need) someone to be there to support and help guide
them through the experience. Doctors can do that from a medical
standpoint, but often do not provide the emotional support that a mother
needs. In the U.S birth has become a medical issue. Woman are taught to
believe their pregnancy and birth is something that needs medical
attention, and a hospital. This is far from the truth. Childbirth has
happened since the beginning of time, and is a very personal and natural
occurrence. Giving birth in a loving, peaceful, and supportive
environment is my main goal. I want women to feel that the decisions
they make during childbirth are coming from knowledge and empowerment. I
want them to feel completely comfortable, educated, and supported on
GGWB: Why do you think it is important for a pregnant woman, especially one who is trying for a VBAC, to hire a doula?
think having labor support can mean the difference between an
empowering experience, and one of trauma. Ina May Gaskin has said that,
“good maternity care actually requires attentive, well-trained, calm and
compassionate humans who know a lot about the physiology of labor”.
(Birth Matters, Gaskin) When a woman has the support she needs, she can
overcome her fears and inhibitors to have a miraculous birthing
VBACS can be very hard to accomplish in a regular
hospital setting. There is this lingering thought that once a cesarean,
always a cesarean. Although, the risks of a second cesarean outweigh the
risks of a vaginal delivery. Still a lot of obstetricians fear uterine
rupture, (even though) there is a very slim chance of it actually happening. This one
fear holds them back from allowing women to have the birth they want.
Doulas are there to help create and stick with your birthing plans, and
to also work with your provider to give you the birth that you want.
GGWB: What services do doulas offer? (What do you do?)
can offer many services. The basics of a birth doula are to establish a
relationship with you, so that you will feel completely comfortable
with them. They are there to help educate you, and to help you prepare a
birth plan. When you are in labor, they will help keep you relaxed and
calm, help manage pain and comfort levels, and make suggestions
regarding labor and positions depending on how your labor is progressing.
They will be there to help ensure you feel confident communicating your
needs to your provider.
Doulas also can provide other services as 'add ons', such as belly
casting, pre/post-natal massage, placental encapsulation, and pool
GGWB: Generally, how much does it cost to hire a doula?
honestly greatly depends on where you live, and/or how experienced the
doula is in some cases. I have seen prices as high as $1200.00 and as
low as free. A lot of doulas who are working on their certification
offer free or discounted services, as they are required to attend so
many births before becoming certified.
GGWB: What advice would you give to someone trying to avoid a cesarean at all costs?
best thing to do in the case of a low risk pregnancy, would be to hire a
midwife, and have a home birth. Even high risk individuals can still
avoid a cesarean in most circumstances, provided they choose the right
provider. If going with an obstetrician, I would choose one who
practices evidence based care.
Of course I would recommend a doula in any case. Doula support is shown
to lower cesarean rates, shorten labor, and reduce the need for
medications and medical procedures that carry risks, including forceps
and vacuum extraction.