What is a doula, and what are my qualifications?
As a birth doula, I accompany women through pregnancy and in labor to help ensure a safe and satisfying birth experience. I am certified through DONA International, I’ve given birth to two living daughters and have miscarried twice, and I’ve worked professionally as a doula for nearly three years. I continue to pursue additional training and education regarding best practices and evidence-based research in fields related to birth in order to remain up-to-date in the services I provide.
I draw on my professional training, knowledge, and experience to provide emotional support, physical comfort, and help you to make informed decisions as they arise in labor. I can provide reassurance and perspective to you and your birth partner, make suggestions to help labor progress, and help with relaxation, soothing touch, positioning and other techniques for comfort. As your doula, I am working for you, not your caregiver or hospital.
I will meet with you and your partner privately at least twice before labor to become acquainted, to explore and discuss your priorities and any fears or concerns, to discuss your birth plan, and to plan how we can best work as a team. I will also be available to you by phone or email 24/7 for the duration of our contract.
I will also inform you of times when I am unavailable for labor support. To cover those times, I will arrange one or more qualified backup doulas with whom you may also meet. I belong to a doula collaboration called WNY Doulas, and part of our agreement with one another is to provide backup doula services. If you have a preferred backup among the group or who does not belong to WNY Doulas, I will do my best to accommodate your preferences.
WNY Doulas hosts a monthly gathering called the Better Birth Connection on the second Tuesday of each month. All of our clients are welcome to attend as many of these meetings as they choose as they prepare for birth.
I prefer that you call me as soon as you are confident that you are in labor, even if you do not yet need me. I can answer questions and make suggestions over the phone as needed. I will meet you at home or your place of birth (if different) at the time that you request. I usually need approximately one hour to get to you from the time you ask me to come. Other than for rare exceptions, I will remain with you throughout labor and birth once I join you.
I usually remain with you for one or two hours after birth, until you are comfortable and feel ready for me to leave. I can also help with initial breastfeeding, if desired.
I will check in with you via phone over the first few days, and will be available to answer questions about the birth, your baby or your recovery as needed. I would like to get together with you within a few weeks to see how you and your baby are doing, to review the birth, and to provide any additional referrals you may need at that time. I will remain available for postpartum support either by appointment or by phone for the first month after you give birth.
Your birth story
I will provide you with a typed account of your birth story by the end of your first month postpartum. This re-telling will be from my perspective and inclusive of our postpartum interview during which we review the details of your birth. Think of this as my eyewitness account of your birth journey. You may share this story with whomever you like, but please give credit to me as the author. You may also choose to share your birth story on my website if you would like, and there is a separate release for you to sign at that time if you choose.
What doulas do NOT do
As a doula, I do not:
- Perform clinical tasks, such as blood pressure, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams, and others. I am there to provide only physical comfort and emotional support.
- Make decisions for you. I will help you get the information necessary to make an informed decision. I will also remind you if there is a departure from your birth plan.
- Speak to the staff on your behalf. I will discuss your concerns with you and suggest options, but you or your partner must speak directly to the clinical staff.
Failure of a doula to provide service
I will make every effort to provide the services described in this contract. If, due to unforeseen circumstances (such as extreme weather conditions), I am unable to attend your birth and cannot secure a backup doula, I will keep the retaining fee, but there will be no further charges. If I do not attend due to your failure to call me, my fees will be due in full as specified below.
Payment for services described here is to be paid as follows:
$300 as a retainer fee, due when you select me as your doula by signing this contract.
- Balance due two weeks prior to your due date. Check one:
_____ $300 — Standard Birth Package, OR:
_____ $400 — Birth Plus Lactation Package
= _________ Total
I/We have read this statement of the doula’s services and agree to the terms of this contract.
Client’s Name (Print) Client’s Partner (Print)
Client (Signature) Client’s Partner (Signature)
Elisabeth Carbrey, CD(DONA)