In this Frequently Asked Questions part, I talk a lot about the Doula. This is the Doula as I see her, as I aim to be. Please bear in mind, Doulas are human beings and we might make mistakes, but we always have your wellbeing in mind as a drive for what we do.
WHAT IS A DOULA?
A doula is a woman that comes into your life to help you deal with what you might be feeling and wanting, and fearing during the pregnancy. It is someone who listens actively and helps without saying. It is someone that will stay during the whole birth, removing sweat on your forehead, holding your hands whilst you're pushing, giving you a back rub to help soothe the pain during contractions, she is someone to hold onto if you feel laboring in a squat position would be more comfortable for you, she is being the little voice that tells you that you are strong, and powerful and you can do it, because she really does believe in your powers and abilities.
A doula is someone, after the birth, that visits you and wants to know how you feel, truly and genuinely, that will listen to how you saw your birth, how you felt about it. She is the woman that will come and make you a cup of tea, and cry with you and/or laugh with you the next minute. She is also the person that will let you take a shower, whilst going for a walk with your baby, if you wish, why not take the dog out at the same time, and the older siblings if you are all willing.
In a nutshell, a doula is someone that will be like a mother to you and your family, from a neutral point of view, but still from a place of love and compassion, giving you unconditional attention and support.
WHY MIGHT I NEED A DOULA?
You can do it by yourself. Pregnancy is natural, birth is natural, bringing a child is normal. You have a partner who is involved and present, your family is around and ready to help. You get on swimmingly with your health practitioner. Plus you don't like to be touched, especially not by a stranger!
All those things are great. I am really happy that you have the support system in place, because you will need it.
So why would you need a doula on top of that?
During Pregnancy: A doula can help you with preparing a birth plan, and provide informations about the hospitals, birth centers nearby, their policies, what is possible depending on what you choose. There are some professionals a doula works closely with that she can refer to you, depending on what you might need, and have been recommended and tested by other mums and families. The doula can be there just to answer questions on subjects you might not have had a chance to get a deeper understanding about.
During Birth: A doula can be there so your partner can take a break and eat something, go for a little walk and recharge his/her batteries. A doula can take pictures during birth if you wish to immortalise all the special moments that will come about. A doula can be a mediator between the health team and you and your family, to ensure you understand everything that is being said, that you make every decision knowing all the implications. A doula can also be here to be a buffer between you and anyone that might not be helpful to you in this particular situation.
After Birth: A doula can visit you and sit with you, hold your hand in those moments where you might feel lonely. A doula can come listen to your concerns about feeding(by breast or bottle), about discomforts about yourself or your baby, about changes that are happening in the dynamic of your family, your couple. A doula will listen actively, so she will help you find solutions that work for you and your family.
Finally, we can discuss this when we meet, but a Doula does not need to touch you if you don't want her to. But if you do need a hug, or support to squat, or a back massage during a painful back labor, she will be here for you. I will be here for you!
WHAT IS THE SCIENTIFIC DATA TO SUPPORT THE ADVANTAGES OF USING A DOULA?
39% decrease in the risk of cesarean when the birthing person is supported by a doula
15% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth with support during the prenatal period
38% decrease in the baby’s risk of a low five minute Apgar score with continuous support
Shorter labors by 41 minutes on average with continuous support
Please find the sources below:
WHO MIGHT I KNOW HAS USED A DOULA?
Meghan Markle recently declared she was looking for a doula to assist her through her pregnancy and birth.
January Jones loved the experience of birth and being surrounded by women, including her doula.
Nicole Kidmann a bit more than 10 years ago hired a doula and remembers her birth experience as "extraordiary" and "easy".
Erykah Badu enjoyed the support of her doula so much that she went onto becoming a doula herself.
HOW MUCH CONTACT WILL WE HAVE?
During Pregnancy: I check in with you once a week by phone or text, depending on how much you need. Then you have the face to face visits to go over the Birth plan, and get a better understanding on what you are feeling and how you are prepared for birth.
During Birth: I am not going anywhere during the whole duration of your birth, however long it might be. I might take 10 minutes to eat something or use the loo after I made sure someone is there with you to be your exclusive and undivided support.
After Birth: I am available to you by phone or text for any questions. I offer Postpartum services for the 3 months following the birth. But simply because we are humans, I will be very happy to hear from you even after that.
Text/What's App: 6 hours
Email: 12 hours
FB & Instagram: 12 hours
Call: I answer as soon as possible
- If I was unable to answer, please leave a message, I will call back within 2 hours.
- If it is an emergency, or you are going into labor, please call. If I do not answer on the first call, please call again straight after and I will know to call you back within the next 10 minutes.
In order to have a short response time and come to you faster, please only use the call as a mean to contact me if you are in labor, even if it means your partner is calling, or your mother, or a friend. This will prevent us both from experiencing frustration and disappointment.
Each of our meet ups are followed by a little message in the following week to ensure all the questions that could have been raised during our exchange can be answered.
WHY DOES A DOULA HELP MY FAMILY?
A Doula wants to ensure your family is happy and comfortable, because she wants you to be happy and comfortable, and she knows that if your partner is frustrated, or your eldest is scared, the expression of these emotions might induce stress to you, and therefore induce stress to your baby. Just as the chain effect, the Doula wants to spread Oxytocin, the love hormone amongst all your loved ones, so they feel good, important and seen; you feel good important and seen so you can help your baby feel good and important, just how you should all feel.
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY DOULA IS SICK/UNAVAILABLE ON THE DAY OF BIRTH?
As we both agree to work together to help you have the best experience you can have during your pregnancy year, I prepare you to the fact that life can happen, and I am human, so just like the next person, there is a possibility I get sick, or I get a family emergency. If that happens, there is always a back up Doula whom I trust that will be there to support you if I am unexpectedly unable to. Whenever possible, I try to arrange for us to meet together with my back up doula, so you know her prior to the moment you might need her.
HOW ARE THE PRICES CALCULATED?
For the Packages (Pregnancy and Birth - Postpartum - Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum):
35chf/hour(for Swiss residents) or 30eur/hour(for French residents), counting about 12 hours on average for Births. The price for the package is fixed, that means that if your Birth was shorter or longer than 12 hours, it is still charged in the same way.
80chf/eur extra for packages that include Births to cover potential nights, travel costs induced(car maintenance, food on site..) and extra items given to you to help you prepare the Birth.
Any consultation outside of the packages is charged at 40chf/hour(for Swiss residents) or 35eur/hour(for French residents).
WHEN DOES THE PAYMENT TAKE PLACE?
If you need me as your Pregnancy and Birth Doula, I want you to be the most relaxed and focused you can be on the big day. That is why, from the time I receive the contract signed, there is a one week payment window for you to make the first half of the payment, the second half of the payment will be scheduled to take place 2 weeks before your due date. This is to allow us to focus solely on you and the baby, no one wants to have to take care about money issues when they are (back) home from an exhausting birth where they gave their all. Putting all the money issues ahead ensures your peace of mind when the big moment arrives and after.
If you choose any other formula, the payment needs to be made up to 3 days before I start working for you.
REFUNDS AND CREDITS:
I might not be available in the end(sickness, family emergency...), in this case, you automatically get a credit for the hours I have missed, for postpartum work, or extra hours where you use my services as you wish, or credit for your next baby. If a credit is not satisfactory, you will be offered a refund for the work I haven't been able to complete.
Please note, if I am unable to work and my back up doula is sent to you, the work that she does for you will be directly paid to her with the money that has been paid ahead on my account.
MY FRIEND WANTED A NATURAL BIRTH AND SHE ENDED UP HAVING A CAESARIAN, YET SHE HAD A DOULA, SO WHAT IS THE POINT?
Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum holds a lot of unknown. Just like life, there are things you can plan, but you still don't know if it will turn out the way you want. Hiring a doula doesn't let you off this simple life rule. A doula will happily help you plan your birth, and be with you every step of the way to put all the chances on your side for you to have the birth experience you want. However, the doula does not know when the birth will happen, how you will react to your environment when it happens, how your family might react, how your body will react to the birth itself, how the baby will feel, when the baby will decide to come... She also does not know whether the health team will be the same one as planned, whether the midwife you had chosen will be there on the day of the birth, etc... A doula is there to help you gain knowledge in areas you might need further enlightening, lead you to people and professionals that might assist you and create the best environment for you, your baby and your family.
In a nutshell, a doula will help you prepare, and will do her best for you to feel the best possible at every stages and for you to have the birth experience you dream of, but she cannot guarantee by her presence of the way it will happen. What she can do is help you accept and work through the changes that may occur unexpectedly, and help you come to terms with it.
WHO WORKS AT LOVE WOMBING?
Love Wombing was founded by Séphora Achille. She works alone between Geneva, Annecy and Gex.
For French speaking couples and families, she partners with the wonderful Sonia Duc who brings a softness along with different experiences and skills that complete Sephora. And in order to give you choice and resources to follow your parenting journey, there is a sisterhood of doulas and other perinatal professionals she is in contact with to better serve you.