Frequently Asked Doula Questions
(Scroll down for Childbirth Class Questions)
- What does it mean to be certified? There are several doula certifying organizations. I chose DONA International for their professionalism and long standing reputation for excellence. To be certified with DONA, one must complete required reading, attain education on both childbirth and breastfeeding, attend an intense hands-on workshop and be a doula for at least three births. I received my doula certification in August of 2010 and my Child Birth Educator certification in May of 2011. I continue to read and attend specialized conferences to stay current in my knowledge.
- Does insurance cover doula services? At this time there are no insurance codes for filing for doula care. Hopefully this will change soon. Flex accounts may be used for doula care. Clients here with ENJJPT may be able to have both doula and childbirth education costs reimbursed by their home country and I am happy to provide the necessary paperwork to do so.
- I have a great friend/mom/partner who wants to help at birth, can't they provide all the support a doula can? While other support people have the advantage of knowing you well, they are usually not trained to provide the level of support a doula can, however a doula and a special person in your life can give excellent support together, especially in a long or unmedicated birth.
- What about my partner? A doula's job is to help the couple have the birth they want, so mom's partner is never left out. He is an important part of the team! Here is a great blog post about doulas from a dad's point of view.
- How do you feel about home births? I am happy to support a woman birthing at home, in a birth center or hospital.
- Can I use a doula if I plan to have an epidural? Yes! A doula can help you manage labor until the epidural is administered. Sometimes an epidural provides only partial pain relief so a doula can help the mother further reduce pain with comfort measures such as massage and position changes. She can also aid in understanding hospital procedures, and can help you get off to a good breastfeeding start.
- What if I have a Cesarean section birth? A doula can still be beneficial to both you and your partner if you give birth surgically. She can keep you calm, help you understand procedures and help you and your partner get settled back in your room after the birth.
- I heard you partnered with Dr. Lamar in planning the first Gentle Cesarean Section at URHS, I may have a Cesarean, how do I plan one like that? In July of 2013, Dr. Lamar and I were able to achieve the goal of placing baby skin to skin in the OR. Other doctors are willing to offer this evidenced based practice as well. I would be glad to talk to you about the process. Just contact me (and don't miss the pictures on the photo page!).
- I would like to try to VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean), do you have experience with this? I know the decision to VBAC is not an easy one to make. I agonized over the decision long before I even became pregnant after my Cesarean birth. I know firsthand the extra assurance a VBAC-ing woman and her partner need. I am honored to help moms achieve their VBAC.
- What if I face breastfeeding challenges? I love to help moms establish breastfeeding, but if your challenges call for extra support, there are many options in the Wichita Falls area I can point you toward.
- I plan to give birth at United Regional, what do you know about this hospital? I have been a doula for over eighty women giving birth at this hospital. I have tried hard to build relationships with the staff. L&D nurses are an important part of the labor team and are generally very helpful and open to my clients' wishes. URHS is a great place to give birth.
- Can we meet first to make sure we "mesh"? Absolutely! I always offer a free initial meeting for this purpose and to answer your questions. Give me a call!
- How soon should I contact you? As soon as possible. There is a limited number of doulas in Wichita Falls and my classes fill quickly.
Childbirth Classes Q & A
What do you offer in your classes? My classes are very comprehensive and include information on nutrition (did you know what you eat can have an effect on if you tear during delivery or not?), exercise, what labor really looks like (not a bit like we see on TV!), how to cope through each stage of labor, how your support person can help you in each stage, interventions (when is it a good idea to get an epidural?), birth plans, baby care options (will your baby need the Hepatitis B vaccine in the hospital?), and optimal fetal positioning (this is much more than if your baby is breech or not).
- When are classes offered? Every other month. Currently classes are offered at Champion's Clinic on Kemp in two Saturday sessions.
- If I have a doula, do I also need this childbirth class? That depends. Are you well read on the subject? (By well read, I mean much more than "What to Expect When You're Expecting" which is a fear based book and not one I suggest.) Does your partner also read the books and watch the YouTube videos you find? As a doula, I educate parents but our time is mostly spent getting to know each other, planning your birth, and exploring your unique options. While education is woven into this time, it is not possible to fit ten hours of childbirth class into our prenatal visits.
- I am using one of the other doulas in town, can I still come to your class? Absolutely! I love for families to have doulas! Right now I will extend my discount for anyone contracted with a local doula--even if its not me. If your doula wants to make sure I cover a certain topic, feel free to have her contact me.
- The hospital offers a cheaper class, shouldn't I just take it? I do suggest you tour the place you will give birth (if it isn't a homebirth). The feedback I have received from clients who attended the hospital's class is that they were not prepared to give birth naturally or taught how to cope with contractions before their epidural.
- What teaching methods do you use? The first part of the class is lecture style with Power Point, stories, and video sprinkled in. Once the basics are addressed, we move on to practicing relaxation techniques and comfort measures. I am always looking for ways to make class more hands-on. At the end of class, I bring in couples who share their birth stories so you can hear first hand (and ask questions!) from those who have "been there" recently.
- What is the cost of classes? Classes are $125 per pregnant mama and her support person. Clients who have hired me as their doula have a discounted rate of $115. This covers 10 hours of preparation, unlimited email & phone support, access to my lending library, birth plan consultation, and a detailed list of resources for the childbearing year. I also offer a private Facebook group for all the families who've attended class so the learning & friendships can continue online.
- Can I speak to someone who has taken your class before I decide? Of course! Just email me for contact information. It may comfort you to know that local midwives (Kim Watkins, Donna McKinley, Kasie McElhaney) send clients to me as well as Dr. Bannon and Dr. Lamar.
Copyright 2014 Wendy Fowler. All rights reserved.