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Q&A: What Should We ExpectFrom Our Doula?

by Melissa Overbey |
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Q Hello, we just hired a doula, however, we are not sure what to expect. Just yesterday I was in the hospital for labor pains, and decreased activity in the baby. Is this something I should expect the doula to attend? Would it be an extra charge? I have been in pre-term labor for several months now and end up there many times. Should I call her each time? I dont know what to expect from her. Thank you in advance!!

A This is something that you are going to have to consult with your doula about. Every doula is different, on when they want to be notified, and when they will come to be with you. Some want to wait until you are officially declared in labor by a doctor, and then meet you at the hospital. Some want to know everything that is going on, like I do. I want to know what the mom is feeling, and when, and sometimes, even help her decide if she needs to make a trip in to get checked or not.

If your doula has children or other commitments, she may want to know ahead of time what is going on. I like to be able to put my potential childcare on alert, if I think there is a possibility that one of my moms is in early labor.

I basically do what the mother prefers, if possible. If she would like for me to come to her house and sit with her for awhile, I am glad to. Even if we do make a trip to the hospital, and there is no baby that night, it is ok. You have to ask your doula if this is something she would charge extra for. Every doula should have some sort of contract that the both of you sign, that explains her fees and services, and what is included. Fees vary by the area that you live in.

With preterm labor, I would suggest getting the extra support. This is something that I have been through before, and it was a very scary time for me. I needed all the support I could get. When they are stopping the labor, you don't know for sure if it is going to work or not. You could deliver anyway, and the last thing you need to worry about when you can't stop your labor is trying to find your doula. If you decide not to have her there with every trip you make in, I would at least put her on stand by and tell her everything that is going on. That way, she is prepared, if you do deliver.

Good luck and well wishes to you!

~Melissa

Melissa is a part time working mother of three. Christian is 4 1/2, Kamryn and Kendyl are identical 18 month old twin girls. She is now pregnant with baby #4, due 12/5/00! She works as a tech on a mother/baby unit at a nearby hospital in Louisville, KY. She also highlights as a doula, in her spare time. She attended the doula workshop given by Birth, Babies, and Beyond in Atlanta, GA., in April of 1999. She has since then attended five births, (not including her own). She is currently working on her certification with DONA. (Doulas of North America)

Melissa has an apprentice/backup doula working under her, who will also attend Melissa's delivery in December. They plan on trying to start up their own business in the near future! Melissa has experience being a doula in labor and delivery, as a tech on the postpartum unit, newborn nursery, special care nursery, and gives breastfeeding support to new mothers.


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