FAQ

Why Hire A Doula?
Why Doula Julia?
What does a doula do?
What doesn’t a doula do?
Will my partner feel left out or uninvolved?
Can I have a doula if I decide to use pain medication?
What’s there to plan? Women have been doing this for all of history …

Why Hire A Doula? Back To Top

Almost every woman can benefit from the special attention and continuity of care that a doula gives. Below are just a few reasons why people hire doulas. (Taken from DONA International.)

• tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
• reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
• reduces the need for Pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction and cesareans
• reduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals

Research shows parents who receive support:

• feel more secure and cared for
• are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
• have greater success with breastfeeding
• have greater self-confidence
• have less postpartum depression
• have lower incidence of abuse

You might just also:

• Learn to confidently speak and act on behalf of yourself and your baby;
• Build trust that you have the ability to birth your baby just as readily as you grew the child, and have within you the perfect chemical cocktail of hormones that will get you through it comfortably;
• Become more clear about your broader emotional needs


Why Doula Julia? Back To Top

Everyone is special and unique. Here is what’s special and unique about me:

• I help you get very clear about what you want and how to get it

• I am devoted to easing your transition to parenthood, as well as the birth

• I am exceedingly knowledgable about the NYC birth landscape and surrounding areas

• I am a Lactation Counselor, yoga instructor, and childbirth educator in addition to being a doula. I offer full-spectrum lifecycle support from conception to postpartum and beyond, and have completed continuing education in women’s endocrinology and fertility, essential midwifery skills, optimal fetal positioning, hypnobirthing, nonviolent communication, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Thai massage, babywearing, increasing abdominal strength and pelvic stability postpartum, nurturing families through perinatal loss, and risk reduction for medically necessary cesareans.

• As a mother myself, I have first-hand experience with breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering, elimination communication, setting up an environmentally-minded baby station; and yet I know how and where to cut corners, and offer non-judgmental support of all mamas whether they do things like me or not.

• I grew up on the tracks on Long Island and moved into Manhattan for high school; I was a secular Jew most of my life and came to ritual observance over many years; I worked in the music business and later became a yoga instructor and doula; I have experienced great loss and great comfort. I have had a very diverse set of experiences in my life and pride myself on being relatable to and non-judgmental with all types of people.

• I offer all clients help increasing the calm/sanctity of the birth experience, and ritual when requested. I offer Jewish clients who want it my knowledge of the laws of nidah, niggunim, traditional prayers, contemporary prayers, and cultural elements of the birth experience.

• I am intuitive and also listen well. I am caring, dedicated, organized, and thorough.


What does a doula do? Back To Top

In broad terms, your doctor or midwife is there to focus on the safety of you and your baby, and your doula is there to focus on your comfort. During the prenatal visit, I will ask about your vision of the perfect birth, and learn what you tend to like, including what kind of touch you are comfortable with, which words are calming and which are off-putting, etc. We will discuss specific activities and positions advantageous for the different stages of your labor. And I will couple what I learn specifically about you with my knowledge of laboring women in general to anticipate and react to your needs when the big day arrives.

Your doula can:

• Teach you many techniques for pain reduction in advance
• Make suggestions for more comfortable positions while you are in labor
• Apply counter-pressure to the right spots on your back and hips as your baby descends (as well as teach your partner how)
• Be an extra pair of hands to spell your partner, get you some water, help out with other children if applicable, and tend to all the other little things that come up
• Calm you with massage, reassuring words, or just wiping your brow
“Reassuring words” doesn’t only mean encouragement – it means at some points you’ll find it reassuring in and of itself (in ways that until labor you never considered) that a person who has experience with birth sees the state you are in and still believes in you.


What doesn’t a doula do? Back To Top

• Perform clinical tasks, such as blood pressure, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams, or others. She is there to provide only physical comfort and emotional support.
• Make decisions for you. She will help you get the information necessary to make an informed decision. She will also remind you if there is a departure from your birth preferences.
• Speak to the staff on your behalf. She will discuss your concerns with you and suggest options, but you or your partner will speak directly to the clinical staff.

Will my partner feel left out or uninvolved? Back To Top

In my experience partners feel reassured and comforted by the presence of an experienced support person in the room. Most often I help partners stay more involved, because their tendency could be to retreat if they feel scared, and because I can show your partner more ways to help. The partner’s role is not replaced, it is just different, much the same way that your sister or mother or midwife or doctor could never take the place of your partner.


Can I have a doula if I want pain medication or go a more medicalized route? Back To Top

Yes. In some cases I am specifically hired to help clients navigate the hospital environment. We will discuss other methods of pain relief prior to your birth, and I will be supportive of whatever decisions you make. If you chose or need an epidural I am still there for you and your partner, to help you process the experience and understand your options, to minimize bright lights and distractions, and to provide the continuous, objective presence that defines the doula’s role. I can lead breath exercises, meditation, or visualization. If that’s not for you, we can chat, I can read stories, I can run an errand, or just stand by while you rest until the next phase of labor when you may need me more again. Doulas are trained to support women and their partners through a variety of birthing situations and outcomes.


What’s there to plan? Women have been doing this for all of history… Back To Top

The answer may seem obvious if you have already devoted a good deal of time to planning your birth, but if you assume all births are relatively similar, or you think you have no control over birth outcomes, read on. Your birth location is the single biggest factor determining the type of procedures you experience in childbirth in the US. So in fact the choices you make prenatally can have a big impact on birth outcomes. We may be taught that the unpredictability of birth makes it silly for us to plan, but think about how often we plan for things in life that are uncertain. If we wanted to get married outdoors, we are well aware that it may rain that day. With birth too we can make back-up plans while still holding on to our vision of the ideal.I suggest you interview a few different types of care provider – hospital or birth-center based midwives, family practice doctors, home birth midwives, and obstetricians – even if you love your current provider personality-wise (make sure you also jive philosophy-wise), even if they are close to your home (think of other places you are willing to spend time travelling such as your job), and even if you are a little further down the line in your pregnancy. See who answers your questions about safety and pain management best. People spend more time researching a car they’re going to buy, picking a wedding venue, even picking baby clothes, than they do researching the right care provider for their birth. And time and again, women rate their births as the most memorable events of their lives – so how do you want to remember your experience?

Women’s bodies are built for this work, but we’re often laboring under conditions that are markedly different than the women who came before us. If you will most likely be attended with highly technical care, it behooves you to learn about that technology and whether your care-provider’s practice has caught up with the technology research. It also behooves you to learn your rights and ask specific questions about your birth facility’s rules or restrictions, because they may be different than your care provider’s personal beliefs. In particular, “routine” (non-emergency) inductions and episiotomies, being made to labor in anti-gravity positions (ie – flat on your back), and being prevented from eating and drinking in labor are practices that are still very common and not proven to improve birth outcomes – many studies illustrate their harm. Why would you want to give birth in restrictive ways if the medical evidence doesn’t support the need for it?It is not my place, or my wish, to tell you where and how to give birth – in the end I think women are best off being where their gut tells them they would feel the most relaxed, and in ways that reflect our great diversity in general. So it is my sincerest hope that women inform their guts with up-to-date information, and that their own opinions, more than any family member or friend’s pre-conceived notions, become the deciding factor. Birth can be a loaded issue for most anyone who has experience in the matter. Welcome to the world of parenthood – perfect strangers on the street will walk up to you with unsolicited advice, and everyone thinks their choices were best. Perhaps there is no “best” – just the right match for the person. Now is a good time to learn about your perspective on pregnancy, birth, and child-rearing. In the end you might be shocked by what you learn about common and not-so-common care practices. Just know that whatever you come to believe in, you can find a community that supports you.