FAQs

Birth doulas offer professional labor support to women and their partners. They are an integral part of the birth team and are dedicated to helping families stay with their birth plan. As birth doulas we accompany you during labor, tending to your emotional, physical and informational needs throughout birth. We also provide support and suggestions for your partner or family member that can enhance their experience of birth. How this applies to each woman will vary widely: some women want a gentle, reassuring presence at their birth to help them with breathing and comfort measures… others want a full-blown labor coach to enforce their birth plan… still others just want an extra person on hand to take pictures, coordinate relatives, watch kids and run errands. We don’t go to births with any personal preconceived ideas of how it should unfold; your birth plan is our birth plan. We are there to discover what your wants and needs are, then exceed them in every way possible.

It is also important to understand what doulas do NOT do:

  • Doulas are NOT medical professionals
  • They do not perform clinical tasks such as vaginal exams or fetal heart monitoring
  • They do not give medical advice or diagnose conditions
  • They do not judge you for decisions that you make
  • They do not let their personal values or biases get in the way of caring for you (for example, they should not pressure you into making any decisions just because that’s what they prefer)
  • They do not take over the role of your husband or partner
  • They do not deliver the baby
  • They do not change shifts

In research studies most recently done by Evidence Based Birth, when continuous labor support was provided by a doula, women experienced…

  • 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin
  • 28% decrease in the risk of C-section
  • 12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
  • 9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
  • 14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
  • 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience

6 weeks after birth, mothers who had doulas were:

  • Less anxious and depressed
  • More confident with their baby
  • More satisfied with their partner (71% vs 30%)
  • More likely to be breastfeeding (52% vs. 29%)
No! We are here for your whole growing family as you experience the ups and downs of pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting.  We are not here to replace any one of you but to add to your team while supporting your decisions in pregnancy to parenthood. A doula’s job is to support you AND your partner and anyone else you choose to have close by through labor and those first few days.
We are trained to support women in ALL birth scenarios. Even if you are planning to use pain medication, considering it, or truly want a natural birth experience, your doula will be an invaluable part of your birth team. Doulas can help you gather all the information you need to make an informed choice about pain medication and give you a realistic picture of how you can expect your labor to change. Just because a woman has pain relief, it does not mean she has stopped laboring or needs less support. Many times the emotional needs of the laboring women are even greater when she has medication. We can also help with positioning and other comfort measures to reduce the negative effects of the medication and will be a key support during pushing which can require more coaching with an epidural. For the 5 to 15 percent of women who do not receive complete pain relief from an epidural, our role becomes even more important in helping the woman to cope with her contractions.

A postpartum doula provides support to the mother and family following the birth of baby. This care can be for a week or for months after the baby arrives. Care includes; but is not limited to breastfeeding support, mother and newborn care assistance, sibling care, integration of newborn, meal preparation, light housekeeping, nursery organization and running errands. We offer education, companionship, and nonjudgemental support during the “fourth trimester” by providing evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth and coping skills for new parents as well as give appropriate referrals when necessary.

Studies have found significantly less anxiety, fewer signs of postpartum depression and a higher level of self-esteem in mothers who are supported during the postpartum period. Mothers who feel better about themselves are also more likely to provide a nurturing environment for their infants and have greater success with breastfeeding.

Childbirth classes are useful tools that are for more than embarrassing the partner of the pregnant woman. They are a place to ask questions, gather information, and to socialize with other pregnant women and their families. Recent studies in medical literature have upheld the benefits of childbirth education.

In our childbirth education classes, you will…

  • Learn how to make pregnancy more comfortable.
  • Get answers to common questions and information about concerns.
  • Learn about prenatal development.
  • Learn about danger signals in pregnancy.
  • Learn about pregnancy and how your life is affected.
  • Learn about premature labor and how to prevent it.
  • Learn how to involve your family in your pregnancy and birth.
  • Learn good communication skills and birth plans.
  • Learn how to tell if this is labor.
  • Learn about support options.
  • Learn what to expect during labor and birth.
  • Learn about comfort measures and pain relief options.
  • Learn about caring for your new baby.
  • Learn about the benefits of breastfeeding and how to get started.
  • Learn infant stimulation and development techniques.
YES! In 2015 Open Heart Doula become a non-profit organization. We are now able to offer a sliding scale fee for moms in need. If you feel you qualify for sliding scale, or were referred to OHD by your health care provider, please let us know. We would love to send you a sliding scale application, and follow up with you with more information!
YES! We are still attending births for our full paying clients. We need you to keep our non-profit going! A portion of all proceeds goes back into OHD’s Blessing Fund, where we are then able to attend births for moms in need while still offsetting the cost of a doula.
Midwives and doulas seem similar, since they’re both people — who aren’t OBs — who help women through labor. But their roles in the childbirth process are actually quite different. A midwife is a health care provider and a birth doula is a professional labor support person. You might choose to have a midwife instead of an OB for prenatal care and to deliver your baby — midwives can deliver babies in hospitals, birthing centers or even in your home. A doula, on the other hand, doesn’t replace your healthcare practitioner but rather can add extra services, such as helping you with prenatal education, offering techniques to manage pain during labor, provide informational and emotional support throughout the process and help to prepare you for those early days of parenthood. We also attend births in any location that you choose with the healthcare provider of your choice for the delivery. We are the swiss army knife of birth professionals.
Although we possess many skills similar to a traditional “baby nurse”, the postpartum doula’s main goal is to guide parents into their new and changing role through education and support. This includes caring for the mother and baby, partner and siblings as well as practical assistance around the house. Postpartum doulas do not perform medical procedures or give medical advice regarding the mother or the baby, nor do they perform clinical tasks. We are there to do whatever the mother needs and will best help the mother in that moment, even if that means allowing the mother to get some rest while baby is resting.
Yes! We offer the same care that we provide for mother, baby and household at night. While you are sleeping, we will quietly help around the house and with baby. We do not take over full care of the newborn as you will need to feed baby, but we can take care of the rest! You may stay up with us to ask questions or solve problems, or we can research materials and leave information for you when you arise. It is just another way we nuture your family and ease the transition into the role of parenthood.