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couple-doula

What is a doula and how do I choose one?

According to the DONA International website, a doula is “a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.”

A doula can be an invaluable resource and support system during the birthing process. If you choose to use a doula during your birthing journey, here are some tips in helping you find the best fit.

 

  • Interview several providers. Choose at least three doulas to interview. Have a list of questions prepared to compare notes about them after the interviews.
  • Ask the provider about the number of births they have performed and their comfort level in the setting where you are planning to give birth. Some doulas have more experience with home birth vs. birthing center vs. hospital. It is helpful to choose a provider who is experienced with your planned setting.
  • Based on their training, each doula may have a specific frame of reference and philosophy of the birthing process and in supporting families. Ask the provider if they subscribe to a certain philosophy or perspective.
  • Ask about special certifications/trainings. Just like any professional, doulas take continuing education. In your interview, ask what other education and training they have that can help your family with the birthing process.
  • Go with your gut. During the interview process, you will get a good feel for your connection with the doula. Go with the person who feels like a natural fit. You will spend a good amount of time with this person, so make sure that you “vibe” with them.
  • Ask the provider how many clients they take on at one time to ensure you will get the coverage you expect. Some doulas provide a “back up,” in case they are with another expectant mother when you go into labor. Be clear with your provider about how they will cover your care.
  • Their service. Each provider will offer some type of package including prenatal, birth, and post-natal services. Communicate with the provider what education and support you will receive in each of these meetings.
  • Ask the provider if they are willing to connect you with previous clients so that you can obtain a recommendation of their work.

 

A doula is a great addition to your healthcare team during your pregnancy. A pelvic floor physical therapist is a vital aspect to your care during and after your pregnancy as well. Pelvic floor physical therapists can help with pelvic pain and dysfunction, as well as provide treatments and exercises to optimize your birth. Contact us to schedule your appointment with one of our experienced pelvic floor physical therapists.

Written by Dr. Andrea Barberio, PT, DPT

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