What Is A Doula?
A doula is a non-medical care provider who offers physical and emotional support during the childbearing years. Sharing evidence-based information, encouraging communication with your Health Care Providers, navigating whatever questions or concerns arise for you – your doula will be a trusted and compassionate resource.
Labor Support and Postpartum Doulas. What do they do?
At Birthways, we have well trained labor support doulas and postpartum doulas. Labor support doulas provide resources and guidance as you prepare for labor as well as provide you with comfort and continuous care during childbirth itself. Your doula remains focused on your need for preparation, comfort and informed decision-making, and is grounded in optimizing the normal progression of labor with all of her skills and knowledge. While all doulas at Birthways are trained to address postpartum concerns and the labor support package includes one postpartum visit, she may or may not also be available to support you in an ongoing way as a postpartum doula. As you plan for care, we can explore options for doulas that can meet both your needs for labor support as well as help at home after your baby is born.
Our postpartum doulas provide comprehensive support in the weeks and months after your baby has arrived. She provides reassurance and evidence-based information for all the questions that may arise regarding your newborn’s wellbeing, your own postpartum recovery, breastfeeding questions if you are nursing, sibling adjustment and more. She meets practical needs for meals, errands, laundry and all the things that can feel overwhelming as you adjust to a newborn’s arrival. You can have care during the day, evenings or for overnights to get restorative sleep and the support you need.
I’m not considered ‘postpartum’—my baby was born more than 6 weeks ago. Can you help me?
Of course! We consider the first year to be one of great adjustment and rapid transitions. An average relationship with our clients is 16 weeks—some may have just a few weeks of support during a crisis, and many of our clients receive our support for the first year and beyond. We don’t have a cut off! At Birthways we create our plans around your needs—from having an affirming expert present for your first day home to having a newborn specialist available to ease your transition back to work or sensitive and informed assistance until your baby has moved through the early developmental milestones, we can support you and your family.
What if I choose pain medication or need intervention? Would a labor doula be helpful?
Doulas are not just beneficial to women who have natural childbirth. While having doula support does decrease the need for pain medication, your Birthways doula supports your choices. She will work with you to eliminate the one thing no woman needs in childbirth—fear! Whether you are afraid of pain or afraid of needles, or just know that you don’t know what to expect, our doula will lead you to explore your unique needs in childbirth and will be there with you every step of the way as you move towards greater confidence.
Will the doula take away from my role as a father/partner?
Definitely not—our best referrals come from dads and partners! Doulas are on hand to share their knowledge of the birth process, comfort measures, and the ins-and-outs of the hospital—freeing you up to be connected and share in this important event. Doulas can provide you with ideas and strategies for addressing the discomforts of labor. Sometimes you are the one who is most hands-on, providing much needed touch and comfort, or it may be the doula providing massage and counter-pressure on your laboring mates’ back and hips while you get to share intimate eye contact and an embrace. The doula cares for details that would otherwise interrupt the continuous support of women in labor, such as heating up hot compresses, getting ice/water, snacks, bags from the car . . . you’ll find that all hands are needed on what can be a long day. Your doula is a source of reassurance for you when you wonder if all is going normally.
How can you be so flexible and reliable?
We have been arranging care for families for more than two decades and we know that some needs can be planned for while otherwise arise suddenly. Our model is built with you at the center of this experience.
For families wanting to plan ahead, we work with you to find a great doula match and hold her for your intended needs.
For those wanting the flexibility to schedule as needed, we are set up for that too! We are happy to look into immediate availability – for same-day care or later this week.
You benefit from Birthways group model of care – we follow best practices to ensure you have a labor support backup doula or postpartum doula fill-in — all within the Birthways team.
AND we have an administrator on-call 24/7/365 – making us available to you whenever the need arises!
Birthways has helped to shape the field of postpartum care in Chicago and across the nation for more than 20 years. Our founder, Karen Laing, has been involved in Mindful Caregiving for decades. Doulas on our team include midwives, perinatal educators, women’s health specialists, RNs with Maternal/Child/NICU experience, newborn and early childhood professionals, Social Workers and other mental health professionals and sleep specialists.
“She was so patient and encouraging, and just when I thought I couldn’t take one more moment she would say, “OK in five minutes we’re going to try something else.” and that really kept me going. After the birth she was so helpful in working on the baby’s first latch.”
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Get the Support, Comfort and Confidence You Deserve!
For over 20 years, Birthways has provided expert support for Chicago-area families during the childbearing year with compassionate, knowledgeable, and affirming care. Founded by renowned postpartum expert Karen Laing, our doulas are carefully screened, trained, supported and experienced to meet your unique needs. With expertise ranging from education to lactation to sleep, Birthways is committed to providing compassionate, affirming support for expectant and new families.
3717 N. Ravenswood Ave. Suite 140 Chicago, IL 60613 888.506.0607