Will a doula replace the father during labor?
Absolutely not! The doula should allow the father to provide more attention, support and love to their partner and to encourage the father to participate at the level they feel comfortable. The goal is to help reduce the father's stress by understanding what to expect and knowing what support strategies such as positioning and massage might help their partner at the appropriate times. Studies have shown that fathers are more involved in births when a doula is present.
Will a doula speak for the parents with the medical staff?
The doula will consult with the parents, educate them on what to expect, and advise them in making decisions, but they should not speak for the couple. The couple will make all final decisions.
What books should I read to help me prepare for this experience and what classes are available?
See my local resources or articles and links page for both book links and a list of local classes in the area. I've also included links to pregnancy and doula organization sites with further information.
What will happen if you are out of town or otherwise unavailable at my time of labor?
Although attending the labor times of my clients is the highest priority for me, there are rare occasions where an unexpected labor time will make it impossible for me to be attend the entire labor. We will arrange for a backup doula in the event that there is an unavoidable conflict at the time of your delivery.
How do doulas practice?
Doulas are typically self-employed, but some work for local doula co-ops. As research has shown the presence of a doula to reduce complications, labor times, to lower rates of fetal distress, the need for forceps, vacuum extraction, and cesareans, neonatal intensive care, some hospitals provide a doula during labor. Many doulas also provide a limited amount of volunteer services to the community.