During the course of your pregnancy journey, we will encourage you to to create and nurture your own community of support, or “team” for labor and birth. While the care we offer is more personalized than what is found in the medical model's approach to birth, your midwife is not intended to be 100% of your emotional, physical and educational support system. We believe that doulas are a crucial and essential component of the “birth team" and can offer you unique guidance and encouragement during this process.
What’s a Doula?
A doula is a trained and experienced labor support professional. The word “doula” comes from an ancient greek word meaning “servant,” which sums up the broad scope and variety of care that doulas can provide during the birth process.
Birth doulas have taken several classes and are educated in labor physiology and comfort measures for birth (including massage, acupressure to relieve pain, aromatherapy, positioning recommendations, encouragement techniques etc). They are also skilled in supporting and guiding partners in how to best be involved during the birth, and work to ensure that everyone is well cared for (fed, rested etc) during the birth process.
Perhaps the most valuable thing they provide is continuous one-on-one support - making sure that from the moment you go into labor until you are resting postpartum that you have someone by your side who can encourage and help you.
The Benefits of a Doula
Research has revealed that the presence of a birth doula actually provides physical, tangible benefits to the birthing person:
45% reduction in the cesarean birth rate
25% reduction in the total length of labor
50% less use of synthetic oxytocin (pitocin/syntocinon)
31% reduction in the use of pain medication
34% reduction in the need for forceps delivery (Klaus, Kennell & Klaus, 2002)
In fact, doulas have been shown to be so beneficial during labor that author John Kennell noted that: “If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.”
Doulas and Midwives: The Perfect Combination
Though midwives are also well educated and equipped to provide comfort measures in labor, the primary focus of the midwife is on the physical health and well-being of the parent and the infant. This means that much of their attention is on tasks such as fetal heart rate monitoring and charting, leaving them less available to consistently provide emotional and physical comfort measures. In addition, labors can sometimes be long processes, and it is essential that your midwife and her assistant(s) be well rested so they can attend to any urgent needs that may arise during your birth. For these reasons, we highly recommend hiring a birth doula!
Doulas and midwives work best together to provide optimal, continuous care to the birthing parent and their family.
Our focus is on the safety and well being of you and your little one. Your midwife and her assistant will monitor your labor and rest in between checks to make sure that they are alert and focused: ready to handle any unexpected situations that my arise when your baby is being born or immediately afterward.
Hiring a Doula
We are fortunate to have a close partnership with our sister company, The Gathering Place and their non-profit Project Motherpath. They are able to provide doula support for 100% of our clients (regardless of budget) with both newer and more experienced doulas. There is no additional cost for you to interview doulas from their staff. Locally, the fee for doulas in south Florida varies depending on years of experience and expertise. Average Miami prices for a birthing doulas range from $500 (brand new doula) to $3000 (seasoned doula + concierge services) and postpartum doulas $20/hour (brand new) to $45/hour (experienced) - and everything in-between.
Feel free to email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 786.953.6417 to connect with their team and learn more. And if you want to cast a wider net, get referrals from friends. We are happy to work with anyone you feel should be there supporting you!
Klaus, M., Kennell, J., & Klaus, P. (2002). The doula book: how a trained labor companion can help you have a shorter, easier, and healthier birth. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.