Nov 2, 2017
Letter: Dr. Kang and Dr. Power, my friend
was talking about having a doula at her birth. I have no idea
what role a doula would play? I worry my husband would find
it weird having a stranger at the delivery....could you tell me
more about Doulas?
Alicia Power: Welcome to Growing Healthy, today are lucky enough to
have Laura Warren from Vida Doulas on the show to tell us all about
what a Doula is and what they can offer to your pregnancy, delivery
and postpartum experience.
Just after this little reminder.
Alicia Power: Hello Laura, and thanks for joining us. Why
don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself.
Laura: Hi Alicia, thank you for having me on your show. I've been a
doula for almost 20 years. I'm also a childbirth educator and
breastfeeding counselor, but most importantly, the mother of three
amazing young women and grandmother of four incredible boys.
Alicia Power: For people who don’t know what a
Doula is can you give us a quick idea?
Laura:A 'birth' doula is a person trained to provide continuous
physical, emotional and educational support to women before, during
and immediately after labour; that's what I do. A birth doula meets
with the clients once or twice before the birth to discuss options
and wishes for their birth. The doula will join the couple at home
or hospital when they need her. She will help with comfort measures
and reassurance throughout. She will remain with them
throughout their labour and one to two hours after the birth, to
assist with breastfeeding. Most doulas will do one to two post
natal visits.By having a doula, the partner is able to participate
at his comfort level and most, actually feel more confident to
participate, knowing that there is someone experienced to offer
AP: Laura, we are trying to be evidence based in our
podcasts. Have there been many studies looking at the
benefits of having a doula at your birth.
LW: In 2010, Dr. Amy Gilliland did a study about effective
labour support where she theorised that doulas are effective
because of the attachment that clients form with their doulas. This
attachment creates trust and helps in the release of Oxytocin which
promotes labour contractions. In 2017, Bohren et al published and
updated Cochrane review on the use of labour support. Here,
they found that overall, people who received continous labour
support from a doula were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal
births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals,
negative feelings about childbirth,vacuum or forceps-assisted
births and cesareans. In my opinion though, the most
important and effective role of the doula is to help a couple
achieve the most positive birth experience possible, regardless of
how they gave birth; and we do that by making sure that they
exercise informed consent every step of the way, that they feel
nurtured and that they are treated with utmost respect.
AP: Laura, is there formal training or a liscencing body for
Laura: Most doulas in Victoria do their training through DONA
international which is the largest certifying organization. Clients
hire a doula at different times. Most, do sometime during their
second trimester, but I've been hired as soon as they find out that
they are expecting, and I was once hired at ten days post dates
(not that I recommend that ). My recommendation is that a couple
start their search early on to make sure they get the doula they
Alicia Power: What is the cost of a doula? Are
there any programs that you know of that may be able to help people
out who can not afford a doula?
Laura: The cost of a doula varies greatly, depending on level of
experience. We'd like to think that there is a doula for everyone.
Some doulas work on a sliding scale and other's (like my group) who
charge the same fee, but are happy to arrange a payment plan if it
makes it easier. Roughly, I would say that doula fees range between
$400 and $1000 dollars. The local doula trainer, keeps a list of
doulas interested in attending births to get experience. In order
to access those doulas, the client must have a referral from their
care provider and the cost is on a sliding scale.
Alicia Power: You work as a Doula with Vida Doulas
- can you tell us about why you formed a group as opposed to being
doulas on your own?
Laura: We decided to form Vida doulas because we wanted to make
sure that we had back ups who had similar levels of experience and
commitment to the profession. We wanted to make sure our clients
would receive the same level of care if their primary doula
couldn't be with them. Vida is : Jay Duncan, Ashley Brilhante, Barb
Fraumeni and I. Besides being 'birth' doulas, Barb is also a
post partum doula, I'm a breastfeeding counselor and Ashley has a
birth pool rental business.
Alicia Power: What other services do you offer - I
know you run a great prenatal course that I often recommend to my
Laura: Yes! We appreciate all the support that Grow Health has
shown VIda; thank you.Jay and I are childbirth educators with years
of experience. When we started Vida, I created the 60/40 class
which is a quaint, small group class that is 60% childbirth
preparation and 40% newborn care. Jay teaches a similar version of
this class for larger groups. We also offer private classes in the
client's home and of course we offer breastfeeding