Living in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, it’s not uncommon to hear that your suburban BFF or your techie coworker has decided to hire a doula to support them throughout their pregnancy. Many people also hire doulas to help as they transition into the tender and quite frankly, sometimes tricky-to-navigate, postpartum period.
Almost everyone that comes to NorCal Doulas for a consult has a basic idea of what doula support looks like but for those that may not know, we want to give you the inside scoop!
Let’s dive in.
The evidence for hiring a doula.
The evidence! Science! When a family decides to hire continual labor doula support, there is an increased likelihood that they will acknowledge their laboring and birthing experience as a positive one! Birthing people that labored with doulas were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have cesarean births, pain medication, epidurals or negative birth experience outcomes. To read more on the research, head over to one of our favorite resources, Evidence Based Birth!
What is a doula and what do they do?
Our doulas are trained and certified professional who provide families with the emotional, physical + informational resources they may need to make choices about their perinatal care in a non-judgemental and compassionate way. Ultimately, it is our goal to instill strength and reduce fear in no matter which stage of the journey you’re in.
Do you need a birth doula or a postpartum doula?
A birth doula is a trained professional who provides continual emotional, educational, and physical support to birthing people and their partners throughout their pregnancy, labor and birth.
A postpartum doula supports new families and is trained to provide in-home or virtual care following the birth of their baby. Postpartum doulas assist with emotional and physical recovery from childbirth, infant feeding, soothing + sleeping, all while helping to ease the transition into the “new normal” based on individual family needs.
So…yes, a unicorn! A unicorn that will cook you up a quick breakfast, take the baby while you catch up on emails, refill and remind you to drink your water, and answer your baby questions, no matter how big or small.
Do I need a birth plan if I have a doula?
For all of our planners + go-getters out there, we understand that creating a birth plan feels like a really important step in the process. We love sitting down during our first prenatal session to go through all of your birth preferences so we can learn about you and your desires for this experience.
Not only is creating a birth plan a good way to remind your health care providers of your intentions and wishes for your birth, its a great way to get on the same page as your birth partner ahead of time. We are available to parse through and answer any questions that might arise so that YOU can decide, alongside your provider, what is the healthiest and safest way for your brith experience to unfold.
Can I have a doula with a planned cesarean birth?
Absolutely! Each and every birth can benefit from having a doula present. From the preparation and anticipation of a cesarean birth, to being present in the operating room, our doulas will support you with information, compassion and unbiased support along the way.
Prenatally: we’ll discuss your options with a planned cesarean birth, what you might expect, and what steps we can take to help you feel the most supported.
Pre-surgery: the calming nature of our doulas can make all the difference as you anticipate the arrival of your little one.
During the birth: we can snap a few photos to ensure you have those memories captured to treasure for a lifetime.
There are instances where babies need a little extra help when they are born; if your newborn needs to take a trip to the NICU, your doula can remain with the birthing person while your partner stays with the baby so ALL family members are supported. Facilitating the communication between people that might be in different parts of the hospital can feel reassuring and bring another layer of ease to some potentially tricky moments.
How does my doula help right after baby is born?
After the birth, the doula can stay with you until you feel settled. You might be thinking…”I just had a baby, how will I feel settled?!”. That’s where we come in! For some, this usually means we stick around until you have some food on the way (most birthing people are VERY hungry after birth!), something hydrating, and you’re working your way into the first stages of recovering from childbirth, chest-feeding and/or bottle feeding. We know when to stick around and ensure your sushi order is on it’s way but we also have a keen sense for when to slink off so you can enjoy those delicious moments as a new family.
Do I need a postpartum doula even if I’m up nursing / pumping through the night?
You don’t need one, no. But you sure might want one!
Many of the families that we have supported through labor turn into our postpartum clients. They see the value of the care our doulas offer and want to continue that work. Together…alongside someone they know and trust.
Our postpartum doulas can give you that middle-of-the-night encouragement during those trying moments. Those moments when your baby is having trouble latching or you can’t find the ever-loving tiny little plastic pump part in the abyss of your bedsheets (it’s so damn small, yet so important).
We refill your water, change the baby’s diaper and/or pajamas, tuck you back into bed and reassure you that your little one’s needs are being met while you catch up on some much deserved rest.
At NorCal Doulas, our goal is to reduce fear and instill strength.
Our doulas focus on the little things that go a long way; just like that middle of the night water refill, or the preparation of light, nutritious meals to encourage and support your healing. We support with you and baby’s first outings, whether that’s the first pediatrician appointment or a trip to Target to stock up on your favorite snacks or diapers.
As always, our support is unconditional + unbiased. Our access to evidence-based information is at your fingertips so you can feel encouraged to make the best choices for you, your baby, and your family.
If you’re interested in learning even MORE (yes, there’s more!) about the services we offer, click on the link below to get in touch with and connected to your unicorn…um, doula today!