A lot of people hear the word "doula" and think birth,
but around here we think postpartum.
Because postpartum doulas are
The time period after you have a baby
(actually you don't even have to be the one who gave birth)
is called your postpartum period.
Traditionally it is thought this only lasts about 6 weeks
(hence the 6 week check up with your doc),
but many people consider it much longer,
even years after you have a baby.
Now that you know what postpartum is (it doesn't mean depression),
what exactly does a postpartum doula do?
Just about anything and everything!
Every day and night can look a little bit different,
but here's a short list of what postpartum doulas can do for you:
Freedom to get a shower
Freedom to nap
An entire night sleep, straight
Recognizing early symptoms of postpartum mood disorders
An extra hand for outings
Baby equipment set-up
An in-house expert
Ability to focus attention on one child
Postpartum doulas are kind of like an expert best friend,
who you don't have to worry about judging you or asking them to do all the things!
Like an executive assistant.
Someone who you can count on to help you out, without strings attached.
Someone who will tell you like it is when you need to hear it,
but is the best listening ear you've ever had around.
Postpartum doulas aren't super well known,
especially in the Lafayette and West Lafayette, Indiana area.
Most people around here don't even know what a night nanny or a newborn care specialist is,
but postpartum doulas do so much more than those things even and really focus on the whole family.
You really do deserve this type of care after adding a new baby to your family.
Postpartum support is the ultimate gift to a new family;
In case you're looking for an amazing baby shower present or
you're just too far away to be able to physically help a friend or family member.
Contact us! We'd love to help.
"Were we suppose to have questions?"
"I don't even know what to ask!"
We're at consults all the time for our birth doula services, where people just look at us
and say things like this.
It can be pretty weird and intimidating to have random new people in your house,
even if they are doulas who are pretty darn comfortable with just about every situation.
So, we wanted to put together this handy, dandy list of 8 things to ask us
or any potential doulas you may be consulting and interviewing with.
Why did you become a doula?
This one can be a bit tricky because everyone gets into doula work for a different reason. We can tell you that anyone telling you they got into this profession to "save people from what they experienced" is a big red flag because when things get rough you don't want someone there who's going to judge you for changing your mind. A doulas job isn't to save you, but to help you feel supported and heard in whatever situations that arise.
What does your price include?
While most professional doulas will have their package details on their website or send you some package info and pricing prior to meeting, it is always a good idea to cover that again. You want to make sure that what is on paper is also being presented in contract and words.
When do you go on-call?
This one is super important! In the past many doulas have only a 4 week window around your estimated due date blocked out, but obviously babies come when they want to come and sometimes that means very early. You want to check to be sure your doula can ensure their presence whenever you have your baby because hiring someone for your birth and having a stranger show up or no one, isn't very fun.
Do you have a backup that we can meet with? And how did you pick them?
We here at Doulas of Greater Lafayette work in pairs and as a team, so you already know who will be at your birth even if an illness or emergency arises. But many doulas work independently, so ensuring they have a back up for you and ensuring you know who this person is and can get to know them as well is really important to be sure you don't get a stranger walking in on your big day.
What training and certifications do you have?
Every doula should have gone through a doula training for birth and/or postpartum (whichever you may be talking about). We always recommend and all our doulas have hands on, in person training which makes a world of difference, this is an in person job. Also see what other trainings and certifications they have, continuing education shows a longer term commitment and can mean they may have other skills and tools to help you during your birth or postpartum.
What other services do you offer?
Some doulas are just birth doulas. Some doulas are just postpartum doulas. And that's totally cool. We love it when people expand their horizons though! Maybe they offer both birth and postpartum services, Childbirth Education , Placenta Encapsulation, or Belly Binding which means you can get everything from the same company and not go through a search and interview process again.
What is your "style"?
And is there anything you are passionate about?
This is another one that can be kind of tricky. Good doulas become what you need them to be in the moment, a chameleon of sorts; But every doula doulas a bit different. Red flags for this would be someone who is an advocate for a certain type of birth or a certain way of doing things. As parents we all go in thinking we want one thing, but lots of times reality can make changing our mind feel good, you want to know your doula is someone who will back you without bias and judgement and someone you can count on to talk to.
How do you work with care providers and nurses?
Have you worked with our doctor/midwife before?
Some doulas honestly believe that many doctors and hospitals have a specific agenda for everyone. We aren't those doulas and most doulas we know are not either, but they are out there and that is a for sure red flag. During your birth having a doula who can work with you and your medical team to help you have the best birth possible can be the greatest gift imaginable; not questioning their every move, but supporting you in asking questions and open dialog.
What would your ideal birth look like?
The key here is, once again, making sure their ideal birth isn't one specific type of birth. A great answer is something like "where my clients feel supported and heard and even if things go completely different than they planned they come out the other side with a sense of confidence and peace." And then hopefully they will turn the question around on you because it really is all about you!
Whether you're in the Lafayette or West Lafayette, Indiana area and chatting with us about our services or anywhere in the world, these are all really basic and good questions to ask your potential doula/s.
Being unbiased, professional, and confident are all things that make really great doulas
and we strive to be just that for every client!
you're the badass woman who can do it all.
independently capable of locking in a client, grading a thesis,
and taking charge of a board room, all in basically the same day.
Then, enter baby.
You're still the same person, but now it all seems a bit different.
You're now juggling another human being and headed back to work.
What the heck?
Why does it feel like you can't handle life now!?
Then, enter postpartum doula.
Did you know we're experts in transition?
(Not just in labor)
Going back to work or starting work from home again soon after having a baby can be really stressful for many new parents.
Like, what happens when you have a conference call you have to take and the baby starts crying?
We can help to make it as smooth and stress free as possible
because we are in your home and know your goals and plans.
We can help offer ideas on making the jump from breastfeeding to pumping as smooth as possible,
if you need or want to.
We make it possible for you to head to your office to make those phone calls
without worry of interruption.
We are there to help with the little things too; Those dishes, laundry, and such will be done,
so you really can focus on work when you're working
and being a human being with a baby when you're not.
We are the people there to help fill in those gaps to help ease the guilt and say it is normal.
We are also there to without any judgement commiserate with
because, let's face it, it all kind of sucks sometimes!
You can work and feel confident knowing your baby is in great, professional hands.
We're kind of like the executive assistant for you, your family, and your baby.
Let us help!
"Are you going to take their place?"
"How do you help them support me?"
"I'm just worried I won't be needed if we have a doula..."
If we had a dollar for every time we've heard this or something similar from pregnant people looking at hiring a doula or their partners,
we'd be super rich!
Our answer is always very much the same and probably will never change:
We are there to support your partner and to help them support you.
"You are an absolute expert in your wife,
we are experts in birth,
we work together perfectly!"
In short, we are the people, who behind the scenes help make your partner look good.
Help you to have memories of them during your birth, amazing ones at that!
We are the gentle voice of:
Try pushing here.
She needs water.
Lets switch places.
Do you need to go to the bathroom?
Why don't you rest a bit.
You can step out and grab some coffee.
Do you need something to eat?
Here, maybe try this way.
Its okay, you're doing perfect!
You can go with baby, I will make sure she's taken care of.
And oodles more!
Birth can be unpredictable and long.
While our job is absolutely to help support you in every way possible,
your partner deserves some support too and we'll never be taking their place.
Birth is really unpredictable.
Even if you've done it many times before,
we really never know what may happen next.
You have a plan...
so does your baby...
and so does your body.
You can have the most supportive provider, take all the best classes, pick the perfect doulas,
and have a wonderful and supportive partner,
but sometimes your plan has to go out the window.
We don't like to talk about it,
but the reality is:
Sometimes everything ends up the opposite of your plan.
To some it is just the scary stuff.
To some it means a home birth transfer.
To some it means an emergency cesarean.
To some it means an epidural and pushing on your back.
We don't want to harp on these things,
we're here to help instill strength and confidence in those giving birth,
but we also want to make it clear that we support
those who feel as though they had the birth they hoped for taken from them
or that their body is broken.
As your birth doulas and postpartum doulas
to support you,
to be a shoulder,
to maybe be the only one who says "It is okay to be sad!"
Sometimes things don't go as planned,
But we want you to know that you're not alone.
We really do want to help and support you, give us a call anytime to see how we can!
"I don't know I was thinking ..., ...., ..., ..., & ..."
"I don't know, who should we invite?"
"I think my mother in law wants to be there... and my mom..."
Who is going to be at your birth is usually a huge question of discussion
during our prenatal planning sessions with our birth doula clients.
So, when you don't want to hurt feelings or you really want everyone there,
How do you make a decision about who to have at your birth?
Imagine your birth.
Who do you see being there when you close your eyes and dream of the moment?
How does the room look and feel?
Who is there and being supportive?
You, your partner, your doula, your medical team, and ....
Imagine pooping in front of whomever you're thinking of inviting.
Because honestly, that will probably happen.
Leave the invitation open ended.
Let everyone know that you may change your mind at any point and to not pressure you.
This way if you are mid active labor and decide there's just too many people or too little support, you can change your mind no questions asked.
Think about technology.
A lot of people lately have chosen, for distance purposes or room purposes to Facetime or Skype in family during birth for a while or for the entire time. It gives everyone the opportunity to be "there" you'd like, but keeps everyone from feeling like sardines packed into a tiny room.
Even having a birth photographer there, so you can share in some of the moments later can really help those who wanted to attend, but you just really didn't want to be there in the moment.
Check the policy.
Your hospital or place of birth (unless at home) has a policy in place of the amount of people allowed into the room. Especially during flu season, it can vary greatly, so checking with them can make the decision for you sometimes.
Think hard about who you WANT there.
Not just who you think might like to be there or who wants to be there,
but truly who you want to see your baby first and share in those intimate moments with.
Think about the people you feel the most comfortable with and who will be the most supportive.
No matter who you end up having there for your birth,
you want to help make sure you feel supported and as prepared as you can!
Let us know if and how we can help.
0, -1, +2, +3, -4
What in the world do these numbers mean?
Most people know about dilation numbers:
But many times when your provider or nurse checks you they also share baby's STATION.
So, what do these numbers really mean for you?
A lot of times providers will use this information along with your dilation (and other factors)
to determine if it is time to push.
These numbers are also used to determine your BISHOP score,
which is used to determine induction status.
They also can help determine if breaking your water would be a good way to pick labor up
or get your contractions going stronger.
One of the easiest ways to remember - vs + and which is which when it comes to station is
+ is positive because baby is coming soon.
In short those + and - numbers which is baby's station
is how far in or out baby is!
Whether you're a seasoned practitioner who's mastered the art of aerial silks
are just in it for the comfy clothes
(we don't judge around here)
YOGA can be a great way to stay energized, relaxed,
and get a bit of a workout in while pregnant or postpartum.
Yoga can help with:
and so much more!
Is yoga safe while pregnant or after baby?
The number one way to know is to ask your care provider!
If they say go ahead, start slow and easy,
just ensure you're not flat on your back or laying on your belly.
Give yourself lots of grace and patience, it can be pretty wild moving your body in new ways!
There are specific classes designed for pregnancy and postpartum too,
so when your looking, just be sure to add those keywords.
Where do I find such classes, you ask?
YouTube and most Yoga studios.
(We've got some great recommendations for the Lafayette, Indiana area if you are interested)
There are also a few great DVDs and books out there.
Prenatal yoga and yoga postpartum can be really amazing for your mind and body,
especially if you're all about the shavasana, like we are!
When it comes to pregnancy, working out may be the last thing on your mind;
You're tired, irritable, and perhaps suffering from some nausea.
But for some, exercise is a huge part of their daily lives and giving it up just seems like a big sacrifice!
So, can you work out while your pregnant?
For most typical pregnancies and purposes, YES!
(Ensure you check with you personal doctor first though, always.)
One of the main keys
is starting with very close to what you were doing before you were pregnant:
If you were normally running 5 miles a day, run 5 miles a day.
If lifting weights has been your thing, be safe, but keep it up.
If you are just wanting to start working out something
like swimming, walking, or yoga may be a lot better for you.
Just listen to your body. Be aware of pushing too hard. Stay very well hydrated.
And ensure you're eating well!
Whether you've been an exercise lover for a while or are just wanting to have a more healthy pregnancy, what are some of the benefits of working out while pregnant?
Better circulation which can improve constipation, backaches, bloating, and swelling.
Increase in energy.
(Yes, using energy can give you more)
Better muscle tone and less weight gain.
Can help prevent and/or treat gestational diabetes.
It also can help with labor and losing weight after baby is born.
Pregnancy is not the time to focus on fitness for weight loss purposes and if your doctor has given any indication you should not be working out, you definitely should limit activity as told.
But for most people exercise during pregnancy,
while trying to conceive,
or after baby
is a great way to improve your overall health!
You plan for months, sometimes even years for just that one special day.
You look into each other's eyes and BAM...
all the sudden you have a spouse!
You plan for months, sometimes even years for just that one special day.
all the sudden you have a baby!
So, what does a wedding really have to do with babies and doulas?
Did you know the national average for the cost of a wedding is anywhere
from $25,576 - $35,329?
In Indiana, the average wedding cost is $19,129!
We want to challenge you for a moment to think on how much you spent on that one specific day:
your wedding day.
(Don't worry we won't judge.)
It may be quite a bit less than the national average,
but for most it was still probably quite a big sum.
Now, we want to challenge you to think on
how many postpartum hours that would get you after you have a baby.
(We'll go ahead and do the math for you with the Indiana average)
$19,129 / our largest package hourly rate
with the same amount of planning and money spent,
you could have almost 800 hours of support from a professional after you have your baby!
Lets break that down:
80 overnight shifts
100 8 hour day shifts
200 4 hour day shifts
over a month of live-in care
any combination of those
All for just the same cost of what you spent on that one single day.
We aren't saying you need to spend almost 20k on postpartum support
or that your amazing wedding wasn't worth the cost,
we just want you to think critically about planning for your time after your baby comes!
You're worth it.
Your mental health and recovery are worth it.
Your marriage is worth it.
And we'll be so happy to help out!
Jessica Anne Dill
Mom of 5, Wife, Doula trainer, Professional Birth and Postpartum Doula, Placenta Specialist, and best friend of coffee and long naps!