Let’s start at the beginning, What is a doula?
A doula is name of a professional that helps you feel like you have had the continued support you deserve in your path from pregnancy to integrating a baby into your life. A doula is a person who takes a training with a certified organization to learn how to support you during the pregnancy, birth, and postpartum periods of your life. You may choose to have the support of this expert, and therefore easy access to great information when you want it, at any point in your journey.
What does a doula do? What do they NOT do?
We mentioned a doula gives you support – but what does that mean? It means when you are worried, you can call your doula. We will help you determine if you need to talk about it, or to call your medical care provider. We can help you talk through major decisions you find yourself facing, someone to cry to, someone to vent to about the unsolicited advice that comes with a baby bump, or a baby in your arms. While having a baby is a major life change, you don’t have to do it alone, and a doula is the professional that provides that service.
And that’s all before the birth!
Doulas do NOT give medical advice, make medical decisions for you, or speak for you to your provider or your medical team. They also do not deliver babies, do not perform medical or vaginal exams, or any medical roles.
What’s the difference between a birth doula and a postpartum doula?
Birth doulas come to you, either in your home and/or the birth location of your choice to help you with the physical and emotional aspects of labor, as well as decisions you may be making in labor, and stay with you all the way through meeting your baby! There are differences between contracts when you hire a birth doula, such as how long they will stay at and after a birth, number of appointments surrounding your birth, phone and e-mail contact, and of course, fees.
A postpartum doula comes to your home after the birth of your baby, to help in all the ways that families need help after a baby is born. Whether it’s help with breastfeeding or bottlefeeding, sleep, care questions, making sure you’re getting a chance to heal, all the way to light housework. Again, postpartum doulas vary in scope, so be sure to review contracts on the particulars of what they do and ask questions in your interview!
Where do doulas work?
Doulas work in no specific hospital or other location. Usually interviews can be in the location of your choosing, prenatal appointments are done in the comfort of your own home, and they join you in labor, or after you return home, to start to help.
How do I hire a doula?
Simply navigate to the “Find a Doula” portion of this site and start looking at profiles. Each CADS member profile has their training organizations listed and the ways to contact them on their page. You can also use the drop down search bar if you are looking for something specific, such as a postpartum doula specifically.
Once you contact them, you can arrange an interview, also called an informal meet & greet, where you can learn the particulars of their practice, fees, and included services. Interviewing individual doulas, or teams, may be the next best step in answering your specific questions.
You can also ask what else they offer! We’re pleased that CADS members represent a wide variety of doulas to represent the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area.