Our ICEA-certified educators and doulas are equipped to support families with emotional and informational support. We hope you can use our directory to find a professional in your area to guide you through this overwhelming transition in your family life.
We have collected some of our answers to frequently asked questions. Please click on any of the topics below that are of interest, and let us know if there are any other resources you’d like to see here.
Most first time parents will want to take a childbirth education class. The best time to plan a class is between week 32-34. This will allow you plenty of time to practice new skills for birth, but not so much time to forget. A well rounded class will include the following topics: Anatomy & Physiology, When to Go To The Hospital, How To Time A Contraction, Breathing and Relaxation Techniques, The Stages of Labor, A Birth movie, What Happens in the Second Stage of Labor and How to Push, Informed Consent, Medical Aspects of Birth (Medications, Inductions, Interventions, C-Sections), Comfort Measures and Postpartum. The information should always be evidence-based and current. You can expect up to 6 hours of education, often broken up in several weeks.
There are also specialty classes offered in Newborn Care, Breastfeeding, Car seat safety, Infant CPR, Advanced Comfort Measures, Partner classes, Infant Massage, Grandparents Class.
There are many excellent methods and types of classes… but any of them should include the information above. They each have their own spin on birth.. its good to investigate what resonates with you and your partner before choosing a class.
One of the most critical decisions you will make in the course of your pregnancy is your birthing place and medical provider. These decisions are made early in the course of pregnancy, perhaps made on the basis of location, references, or insurance. As you understand more about your birth preferences you will want to be sure you are in alignment with your provider and the services your birthing place provides.
For example, if you’d like to have a water birth, but the hospital you choose doesn’t have tubs or doesn’t allow birthing in the tubs, you’ll need to rethink either your plan or your place of birth. If you want a Doula to be present, but your Dr’s office does not see the value in this type of support.. you can see there may be a conflict. It’s important to trust your instincts, because no one knows YOU as well as you do. Be prepared to ask your provider direct questions about their c-section and induction rates, feelings about Doula’s, unmedicated birth, use of alternate birthing positions, use of episiotomy, their knowledge of pelvic biomechanics and closed knee pushing.
Types of Birthing Places:
- Birthing Centers (free standing or connected with a hospital)
Types of Providers:
- Doctors (M.D, D.O, Family Practitioner)
- Midwives (Nurse-Midwives, Direct Entry Midwives, Lay midwives)
- Nurse- Practitioners (may deliver in office care, but not delivery)
- Physicians Assistant (can prescribe, do surgery, most functions of a Dr.)
There are several types of Doulas, each with their own scope of work.
- BIRTH DOULA- Educational and Emotional support for the Laboring Person and their family
- POSTPARTUM DOULA- Cook, clean, help with lactation, care for baby, care for family, errands, shopping, an experienced support for the new family
- FULL SPECTRUM DOULA – Activist, anti-racist, will work with pregnancy loss, incarcerated individuals, abortion, as well as birth and postpartum.
SCOPE OF PRACTICE:
- Doula cannot perform medical procedures (Blood pressure, vaginal exams, etc)
- Doula cannot prescribe (medication, herbs, homeopathic)
- Doulas Do not speak for a client. They can advise, educate the parents, but are not there to argue with medical personnel.
Always choose a Doula who is CERTIFIED by a reputable organization.
QUESTIONS TO ASK A PROSPECTIVE DOULA:
- Are you certified? By What Organization?
- How many births have you attended?
- Have you previously worked in my birthing place?
- Have you previously worked with my medical provider?
- Do you carry insurance?
- Any other services you provide?
- What is your fee? What does that include?
- Do you provide a contract?
- Do you have backup in case you are unable to attend my birth?
- How many births do you take a month?
Are you familiar with pelvic biomechanics?
HOW TO FIND A DOULA
Just like finding a medical provider for your pregnancy, finding a Pediatric group may be determined by location, friends/ family recommendations, insurance or hospital list.
There are many trips to the Doctor, particularly at the beginning so location may be something to consider strongly.
Do they have a call hour for non-urgent questions
Are they supportive of breastfeeding
How many Dr.s or practitioners in the practice
What hospital are they affiliated with in case of emergency
What is the procedure for an emergency after hours call
Languages spoken in the office? Cultural sensitivity?
Some Helpful Websites for Further Exploration