What is a birth Doula?
A birth Doula is a person trained and experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth.
How does the presence of a Doula affect birth outcomes?
Numerous clinical studies have found that a Doula’s presence at birth:
•tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
•reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
•reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction
•reduces the requests for pain medication and epidurals, as well as the incidence of cesareans
What effects does the presence of a Doula have on the mother?
When a Doula is present during and after childbirth, women report greater satisfaction with their birth experience, make more positive assessments of their babies, have fewer cesareans and requests for medical intervention, and less postpartum depression. Having an English speaking Doula can make pregnancy and birthing in Korea a lot less daunting for mothers and fathers.
What effects do the presence of Doulas have on babies?
Studies have shown that babies born with Doulas present tend to have shorter hospital stays with fewer admissions to special care nurseries, breastfeed more easily and have more affectionate mothers in the postpartum period.
What are the advantages of having a Doula in Korea? Being an Expat often means being away from family and close friends for big events like the birth of your baby. Those familiar sources of support give a Mother confidence and a sense of security that are very important during her birthing time. Having an experienced Doula by your side can fill the space left by being away from loved ones. Also, it's beneficial to have someone who speaks your language there to explain any procedures or policies that come up during your labor and birth and to clear up anything lost in translation. As your Doula, I can remind you of your goals and expectations during your birthing time and encourage you to speak up and advocate for yourself in the hospital environment if things deviate from your wishes.
Does a Doula replace nursing staff?
No. Doulas do not replace nurses or other medical staff. Doulas do not perform clinical or medical tasks such as taking blood pressure or temperature, monitoring fetal heart rate, doing vaginal examinations or providing postpartum clinical care. They are there to comfort and support the mother and to enhance communication between the mother and medical professionals.
Does a Doula make decisions on my behalf?
A Doula does not make decisions for clients or intervene in their clinical care. She provides informational and emotional support, while respecting a woman’s decisions.
Will a Doula make my partner feel unnecessary?
No, a Doula is supportive to both the mother and her partner, and plays a crucial role in helping a partner become involved in the birth to the extent he/she feels comfortable.
Do I need a Doula if I’ve decided to get an epidural?
Many women assume that having an epidural means that you just sit back and relax through your labor. This is far from accurate. It is not unusual for women who receive epidurals to still experience physical discomfort or even pain. If that happens, having a Doula familiar with these kinds of issues can be helpful. Often your Doctor will want you to be dilated to 4-5 cm before administrating pain medication. (The risks that go along with having an epidural become higher the longer it’s in place.) This can take several hours of active labor. Once an epidural is requested it may also take time for an anesthesiologist to become available. Your Doula will be there to give emotional and physical support and to help explain the procedures that go along with an epidural (IV, catheter, monitors, etc.) Once the epidural is in place, you will be restricted to bed, but will still need to change positions frequently to help move the baby down the birth canal. You will also experience the emotional impact of the labor as your body moves through the process. You may get discouraged, fearful, tired or weepy. An epidural may also slow your progress, and the Doula can stay with you while other family members or support persons take a break or catch a nap.
What’s the difference between a Doula and a Midwife?
Doulas do not perform medical tasks. We are there to offer you information, encouragement and physical and emotional support. Midwives are medically trained and licensed professionals who, by law, may perform exams, administer medications, suture and evaluate the medical condition of mom and baby.
Do Doulas come to my home when I'm in labor?
You may spend early labor at home with your Doula or you might meet the Doula at the hospital or birthing center. If you plan to stay at home as long as possible, your Doula can help make you comfortable and offer support during active labor. We can usually tell when you are entering active labor and will assist in the transition from home to hospital.
How do Doulas work with my other care providers?
A good Doula will try hard to work in harmony with your medical team. Unfortunately, in most hospitals the nursing staff is simply not able to spend considerable time addressing your emotional needs. Most nurses appreciate the fact that you have continuous trained support. When speaking with the Doctor, please understand that I do not challenge or argue with him or her at any time. I do not ever speak for you in medical situations. I will advocate for you by giving you accurate information and then supporting your choices. If an unexpected medical situation comes up, a Doula can help you understand what’s happening. (If your Doctor has any questions concerning my service I am glad to provide information that outlines my standards of practice and my code of ethics.)
Are Doulas covered by insurance?
Some women have received reimbursement by their insurance companies but it is not a standard covered charge at this time. I can give you a receipt for your payment along with supporting information that you can submit to your insurance company if you would like to attempt to be reimbursed for my services.
What should I look for in a Doula?
The Doula/client relationship should be just that--a relationship. The most important thing to ask when hiring a Doula is “How does this feel? Do I feel comfortable, confident and supported by this person?” A Doula may have attended a hundred births, or may just be starting out. Either way, your labor and birth will be a completely unique experience for both of you. Don’t choose someone based solely on their experience or credentials. Start with a few phone interviews, and then meet the ones you really like in person. You will know “your Doula” when you find her.
What are the costs for a professional Doula?
In our area the price can range from donation only to over 4 million won, depending on the Doula and services offered. I want my services to be within reach for all women, so I charge a reasonable rate and am happy to accept payment in installments if needed. I also offer discounts for military families and those requesting placenta encapsulation services. When you consider the many proven medical and psychological benefits of having the continuous support of a trained Doula, and the fact that the birth of your child will be a memory that lasts a lifetime, the investment is well worth it.