What is a doula?
The word “doula” comes from a Greek word meaning “a woman who serves”. We use it to refer to a specifically trained birth companion who provides support to families in labor and in the postpartum (after birth) period. Other terms you might hear in place of doula are labor companion, labor or postpartum support professional, or labor or postpartum support specialist.
What does a birth doula do?
A birth doula provides continuous physical and emotional support to expectant families during pregnancy and childbirth... Okay, but what does that mean?!
While you are pregnant, we will share resources with you so you can decide what kind of birth you would like.
We can assist in creating a birth plan if you would like.
While you are laboring, we will be with you from the time you ask us to come until after you deliver.
During labor, we will give you constant encouragement and help soothe your discomfort by changing positions, providing relaxation techniques, and using heat, water, and massage to ease pains.
Is a doula the same as a midwife?
No, midwives have medical training, whereas doulas do not. We do not provide any medical care, so we do not take blood pressure, perform cervical exams, listen to baby’s heartbeat, or perform postpartum clinical care. We can help you think through choosing a medical provider or give recommendations, though, if you need them.
If I have a partner, do I need a birth doula? Does the doula take the place of the partner?
Yes, you should still have a doula and no, we don't take the place of your partner! Your needs during childbirth will be complex and can be intimidating to even the most supportive, well-prepared birth partner. Laboring parents benefit from consistent, continuous comfort, encouragement, and respect separate from that provided by a partner or family member. A doula can help you partner by encouraging him/her to be engaged and present in the process. Your partner is someone who provides love and a long-term commitment that we cannot give. Our hope is that our presence will enhance everyone's experience. We will make sure you understand what is happening, advise on effective ways to help during labor, and allow your partner to experience the birth without pressure so he/she can participate comfortably.
What if you are not available when I go into labor?
First, let us say that this is unlikely, because our business has two birth doulas working together. We share similar birth philosophies and styles of helping during labor. If one of us could not attend your birth for some reason, our other doula would join you for your birth. We won’t be strangers, though, because you and your partner will meet both of us at your consultation. This is one benefit to hiring us over a solo doula practice.
Do you attend births at home, at birth centers, or at the hospital?
All of the above! After you and your medical provider have agreed upon a location, we will gladly support you, wherever your birth location.
What if I want to have an epidural?
That’s fine! Choosing whether or not to use medication during labor is a personal decision. As your doulas, we can still be a great help during your medicated birth. We can help create a comfortable birthing environment, help your support team stay focused on your labor progress, and are trained in positioning that can improve your birth even if you have an epidural.
What if my labor ends in a birth by cesarean (“c-section”)?
Doulas can play a valuable role for expectant families who have a birth by cesarean, whether scheduled or emergency. In the event of a cesarean birth (planned or emergency), we will be available to you to provide continuous support before, during (if allowed by your medical provider), and after your surgery. There are many things that we can do to make it the most positive experience possible, keeping intact as many elements of your birth plan as possible. We will help you bond with your baby, begin breastfeeding if desired, and care for yourself after your cesarean birth.
What if I have a high-risk pregnancy?
Even if your pregnancy is complicated, doulas can still provide valuable comfort and emotional support. Sometimes with high risk pregnancies, much of your experience is decided by what is needed to keep the mother and baby safe. Having a doula may help you feel more in control of and satisfied with your delivery.
Do you help after baby is born?
Absolutely, we are postpartum (after birth) doulas as well, and are honored to help! As your postpartum doulas, we provide excellent infant care but our primary focus is educating and supporting parents. We also provide breastfeeding support, emotional support, resources, and any necessary referral information. We can help with light housework and meal preparation. We can even help take care of your baby while you take a nap, a shower, or just have a moment with your partner!
What kinds of pregnancies or families do you work with?
The easy answer- all of them! We are comfortable being your doula with vaginal births, cesarean births, natural (unmedicated) labor, labor with pain medications (including epidurals), birthing multiples, VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean), and other high risk pregnancies. We are glad to help all families, without discrimination based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, color, marital status, income level, or disability. In short, if you want a doula to be part of your birth and postpartum experience, we are glad to help make that a reality!
When should I hire a doula?
Today! You can hire a birth or postpartum doula at any time during your pregnancy or after birth and you can book your consultation straight from our website.
Where do you offer doula services?
We offer birth and postpartum doula services in Knoxville and all its surrounding communities within a 30 minute drive. We will gladly work with residents of Knoxville, Seymour, New Hopewell, Kodak, Arminda, Mascot, Corryton, Powell, Oak Ridge, Farragut, Louisville, Friendsville, Maryville, and Rockford.