Frequently Asked Questions
What makes Birth Partners so special?
We are very proud that the birth doulas who serve our clients are the most highly
qualiﬁed, professional, and experienced doulas available! Trained far above and beyond
the national certification for doulas, they bring to each client’s experience, an unbiased
perspective and a broad understanding of pregnancy, labor and birth choices.
Some doula services and hospital programs offer birth doulas on an “on-call” basis,
meaning that the client is served by whomever is on call at the time she goes into labor.
There is no assigned doula or prenatal meetings. Though these services may be offered
at a reduced rate, many women still hire Birth Partners for our individualized services.
What can I expect from my doula through Birth Partners?
Individualized, unbiased information and support based on an established relationship of trust and rapport, throughout pregnancy, labor, and birth
Availability during pregnancy and labor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in person or phone
Prenatal meetings & support in the client’s home, according to the client’s preferences & needs*
Attendance at home during early labor, creating a comfortable, relaxed frame of mind
Continuous support throughout labor and the postpartum period, including the transition from home to hospital, or when partner needs respite
Reminders of signs of labor and comfort measures, both at home and at the client’s birth place
“Interpretation” of medical information during labor and provide options so that clients may choose what is best for them
Help timing arrival at the birth place–not too early or too late
Clarifying roles and expectations of partner and other friends and family members to insure participation which meets the client’s preferences.
Assistance with breastfeeding in the immediate postpartum period (when applicable)
May provide sibling support during labor and birth when desired
Specialized care and emotional support for VBAC clients, and during induction or cesarean
In the event of complications, continuous support to the mother during the postpartum period, allowing the partner to focus on the newborn
Meeting with clients at home during the postpartum period, to reconnect, hug, and celebrate the birth and baby! *
*dependent on client’s choice of options
Why choose Birth Partners as opposed to an independent birth doula or family/friend?
Resources, training: Because the doulas working with our clients also work closely with one another, the client enjoys a wide knowledge base of childbirth techniques, approaches, hospital policies and protocols, current research and experiences. Each client receives not only the experience and training of her assigned doula, but also that of her peers.
Each doula serving our clients chooses to enhance her skills through workshops, seminars, and other continuing education, far beyond basic certification, including an intense and comprehensive internship program and we believe they are the best trained doulas available anywhere!
Personalized care: We recognize that every client is an individual with unique needs, and believe that making the right match is the foundation of a positive birth experience. After speaking with a each prospective client, a great deal of time, care, and thought goes into recommending the ideal doula, based on personalities, location, preferences and needs.
Backup: Doulas working with our clients are committed and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a weeks, including holidays, from the time you contract with us. On the very rare occasion when backup is needed, our clients can be assured of a doula who is unbiased in her philosophy, and will give them the level of care they would get from their own doula, and expect from Birth Partners.
Reputation: Because Birth Partners has been serving clients since 1990, we offer our clients the benefit of years of experience, and collaboration with a variety of care providers and hospitals/birth centers. Our clients also enjoy Birth Partners’ reputation for professionalism and unbiased support.
What is the difference in your tiers of service and why do you offer them?
We want everyone who wants a doula through Birth Partners to be able to afford one, while offering the highest level of service and care. We don’t see the use of a well trained, professional birth doula as a luxury, but as a necessity, and strive to make that available to everyone.
Client needs also vary, so offering three distinctly different options gives our clients choices that best fit their preferences and financial needs while maintaining the highest standards of care.
I have a midwife. Do I still need a birth doula?
The roles of the midwife and birth doula are both valuable, but unique.
The doula provides continuous emotional and physical support throughout labor and the
postpartum period, including the transition from home to hospital, or when the partner needs
respite. She is available directly, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout pregnancy, meets
with clients prenatally at home, and attends clients at home during early labor, creating a
comfortable, relaxed frame of mind.
The doula will also help clients decide when to leave for their birth place, with the input of the midwife or doctor. In addition, the doula helps to clarify the roles and expectations of the partner and other friends and family members, to insure participation which meets the client’s preferences. In the event of complications, she provides continuous support to the mother during the postpartum period, allowing the partner to focus on the newborn. She may also meet with clients at home during the postpartum period, and is available directly, by phone, for questions following the birth.
While midwives provide emotional support and are often present upon arrival at the birth place, they often work in rotation with other midwives and/or doctors, and may provide care to more than one patient at a time. Their primary role is to ensure the health and safety of the mother and baby, which, as expected, would take priority over other comfort measures and support.
Courtesy Victoria Brown Photography
Will my doula try to “take over” my partner’s role?
One of the most common concerns we hear from couples considering a birth doula involves the role of the doula. Some couples worry that the partner will be pushed aside, relegating the partner to a more minor role. Some women are hesitant to suggest a doula for fear of hurting their partner’s feelings. Some partners feel pressured to take on a role that they are not comfortable assuming, but are hesitant to share with their loved one that they feel insecure about supporting her in the ways that she needs to be supported in labor and birth.
Birth Partners doulas share the philosophy that one of our most important responsibilities is to support the couple’s choices for their pregnancy, labor, birth. For some, that may mean that the doula is a “coach for the coach”, helping with suggestions and reminders, perhaps acting as an advocate. For others, it may be that the doula is the primary “coach”, freeing up the partner to be caring, loving, and supportive, without the pressure of being the sole support of the laboring woman. This is for each couple to determine–and for each Birth Partners doula to respect and honor.
While each well trained, professional Birth Partners doula likely knows more about the process of labor and birth than does the partner, the partner is the one who knows the woman best, knows her personality, her preferences. The doula and the partner both work together to contribute in unique ways to give the laboring mother a comfortable, well-rounded, safe, and secure atmosphere in which to labor and give birth.
How do you match the client with their doula?
We feel strongly that making the best match of doula and client is critical to the quality of care and satisfaction with the services we provide. We assign our doula by the needs of the client, her personality, as well as her partner’s, and their specific needs. Not every doula is the right match for every client, and we are proud to say that with our variety of well-trained professional doulas, we can provide the perfect doula for each family’s needs and personality.
I want an epidural. Should I still hire a birth doula?
The decision to have an epidural is one that should be carefully made by the client, her partner, and her care provider. A good doula does NOT decide this for a client, or have a bias for or against epidurals or other medications. Her role is to support the client in their decisions, and to educate and guide them in their birthing options.
I have a high-risk pregnancy. What if I need cesarean surgery or need to be induced?
In the event scheduled or unscheduled induction or cesarean surgery becomes necessary, the doula will provide continuous emotional and physical support to the client, her partner, and/or baby at the hospital before, during, and following the procedure. The clients will still benefit from the prenatal meetings and support.
Has Birth Partners worked with my care providers and/or attended clients at my hospital or birth center?
We have been attending clients since 1990, and are proud to have worked with clients in every hospital in the state, most of them many times! Doctors, midwives, and nurses appreciate the professional, unbiased, and non-medical care we provide to their patients, and serve as one of our best sources of referrals! We also have contracts with a number of hospitals–all initiated BY the hospitals in order to provide the highest quality doula care for women and families.
When should I sign on with Birth Partners?
We frequently have confirmed clients in their first trimester - and have even had clients contract with us before they are pregnant. Most clients contact us around the third month of pregnancy but please contact us as early as possible to insure availability. If you've decided later in pregnancy to have a doula, please reach out to check availability.
This is not my first baby–do I need a doula?
Every pregnancy, birth, and baby are unique, and unexpected circumstances may arise. Birth Partners’ comprehensive doula care is a welcome addition to the birthing or new family whether this is your first or fifth baby. Our system of in-home prenatal visits, support when and how you need it, and highest level of care and service provides comfort and reassurance during this special time.