What is a doula?
A birth doula accompanies a woman in labor to help ensure a safe and satisfying birth experience. Your doula will draw on professional training and knowledge to provide emotional, physical, and mental support and communication, ensuring you have the information needed to make informed decisions as they arise in labor. In addition, your doula can provide reassurance and perspective to you and your partner, make suggestions for labor progress, and help with relaxation, massage, positioning, and other services for comfort. As your doula, we work for you, not your caregiver or hospital.
As a doula, WE DO NOT:
Perform clinical tasks, such as fetal heart checks or vaginal exams. We are there to provide comfort and support.
Make decisions for you. Doulas assist with decision-making.
Perform labor and delivery unless stated by the client in the birthing plan with informed consent. A medical professional or midwife will be able to further assist you.
The first meeting is a time for us to get to know each other and decide if we want to work together. You and your partner must be comfortable with your doula and her role in your birth. If you and your partner decide we do not fit well, I encourage you to say so, and I will be happy to refer you to other resources. If you would like our doulas at the Institute of Integrative Health Specialists and Holistic Wellness Center, LLC, to be your birthing professional. In that case, you must sign and return this contract via email. The retainer fee is due upon the return of this contract signed by you (and your partner, if applicable). The retainer fee is 50% of the total fee and is required in order to reserve your due date in the calendar.
We will remain in contact via phone, email, or in person. We must meet a few times before labor to discuss your priorities and plan how we might best work together. During the prenatal meetings, we will review your preferences for labor and birth. We will go over your expectations for your partner and doula during the birth, plus the roles of anyone else attending the birth. The more we explore this in advance, the better our doulas at the Institute of Integrative Health Specialists and Holistic Wellness Center, LLC will be able to fulfill my role to support you. We typically meet once a month unless there is more time needed.
Our doulas at the Institute of Integrative Health Specialists and Holistic Wellness Center, LLC, are available for calls, texts, or emails from the date of the signed contract. We are available from the hours of 9a-7p daily up until labor and delivery. We encourage you (and your partner) to contact us with questions, concerns, and any updates. Due to other clients, we will get back to you in up to 12-24 hours. We also require that you keep your doula informed about meetings with your OBGYN and midwife, as we are all a part of your birthing team. We must keep in contact with one another and communicate openly and consistently. At 38-42 weeks, We will be readily available for all forms of communication as labor is approaching.
When you think you are in labor, please call your doula even if you do not need her. Your doula can answer questions and make suggestions over the phone. Early labor can last 8-12 hours and is best spent resting so that you will save your energy for active labor and pushing. Once you confirm that you are in labor, we will stay in constant communication; it is up to you to inform us of when you would like us to arrive during labor. Once the decision is made, barring any unforeseen circumstances (traffic, emergencies, etc.), We will arrive within 1-2 hours. Your doula will meet you at your home, birthing center, or hospital when you are in active labor. Most mothers have only one doula present, but the nature of birth means there is the rare occasion in which we may be at another birth when a client goes into labor. An arrangement for a back-up doula will be made just in case this does arise.
Medical Induction of Labor
Induction of labor means that you will be in the hospital for a more extended period of time before birth and before being in actual active labor. For a scheduled labor induction, once you have established an active labor pattern, you and your doula will decide when you would like the doula to assist you. Allow approximately 1-2 hours (unless out of state) for your doula to get to you when asked for their presence. Your doula will meet you at your birth center or hospital once your medical induction has progressed and you are in active labor. Except for extraordinary circumstances, your doula will remain with you throughout active labor and birth.
Should medical induction of your labor become necessary, we can discuss with you the options for induction outlined by your healthcare provider so that you are fully informed and know what to expect. Most commonly, mothers receive a medication called Cervadil overnight and go to sleep. In the morning, it is removed, and they are usually started on a Pitocin drip. Some providers prefer a cervical balloon for induction, which is generally placed overnight and checked periodically until it comes out around 4 centimeters dilation. Occasionally, the Cervadil and/or Pitocin jump start labor quickly, and things can progress sooner than overnight. It could be slower progress requiring a second Cervadil to be paced, and you will have more time to rest before labor starts.
Depending on your package, your doula will usually remain with you for up to 1-2 hours until you are comfortable and your family is ready for quiet time together after birth. If you have selected a package with extended postpartum care, your doula will return within a week to two weeks. We will review your birth experience, get feedback about your experience with your doula, and provide you with additional resources for your family's postpartum needs.
For clients that are out of state, your doula will be there within the same week of your scheduled due date. Our doula's at the Institute of Integrative Health Specialists and Holistic Wellness Center, LLC will stay based on the package selected, but no longer than 2.5 weeks postpartum. A total of 3 weeks is the allotted time frame for birth and postpartum. In the event that there are birthing delays, the time frame will vary and will be discussed with you and your partner for arrangements with your doula.
Photo and Social Media Release
We give our doulas at the Institute of Integrative Health Specialists and Holistic Wellness Center, LLC, permission to post photos/comments on social media and websites provided they are modest and respectful of your birth. Our doulas at the Institute of Integrative Health Specialists and Holistic Wellness Center, LLC will only post with parents' permission and photos given by the parents and/or ones screened by the parents. If you do not want photos/comments posted, please make a note.
our doulas at the Institute of Integrative Health Specialists and Holistic Wellness Center, LLC works as an adjunct to your health care providers (midwife, obstetrician, nurse, and pediatrician); in no way are we a substitute for their care or expertise, regardless of any professional training, education or licensure your doula may additionally hold. The responsibility for clinical management belongs to the client and her health provider. Our services are strictly NON-MEDICAL. Families who choose to utilize our services take full responsibility for their own health and medical services. Our doulas at the Institute of Integrative Health Specialists and Holistic Wellness Center, LLC, assist you in making informed decisions about your options. However, we cannot choose for you or be held liable for the results of any decisions that you have made with or without our input. We are not responsible for nor trained/licensed to handle your clinical care during any medical emergencies concerning your baby or family that may occur while we are present with you, except to call 911 and offer emotional support. Doulas will not do maternal or fetal assessment (vaginal exams or fetal heart tones, etc.). You are responsible for any incurred injury/damages prior to arriving at your planned birthplace. There is no more risk involved than if you had not enlisted our services and were making these determinations on your own.
In the event that the client would like to change packages/services, the retainer fee is non-refundable, and a new contract will be published for the current pay rate(s). In an upgrade of services, the client will pay the difference in the 50% retainer fee due upon hire. If there's a downgrade to services, the 50% retainer fee is kept, and a new contract addendum will be published for the current pay rate(s). Changes to the package structure will be null and void after 23 weeks.
Failure to provide services
Should scheduled or unscheduled induction or cesarean surgery become necessary, we will provide continuous emotional and physical support to the client, her partner, and/or baby at the hospital before, during, and following the procedure as outlined above. If your chosen birthing place does not allow doulas into the OR or the recovery area, your doula will not leave until you've been settled in after the surgery. Not being present in the OR due to hospital policy does not constitute a refund. Some hospitals/providers do allow doulas in OR and/or recovery. If the client's implied or stated, request the doula not be present, or if the client purposefully or unintentionally does not contact the doula for support prior to or during procedures becoming necessary, fees are non-refundable. We make every effort to maintain contact; however, you are responsible for keeping us updated. If the doula(s) are ready, willing, and able to attend the labor and/or birth but are not present at the delivery due to the implied or stated choice of the client(s), including, but not limited to, not contacting the doula promptly, or precipitous (fast) labor, fees are non-refundable. This also includes but is not limited to disaster, strikes, government regulations, civil disorder, Acts of God, or an emergency, which makes it not viable, illegal, or impossible to travel to provide the contracted doula services. Once your doula is en route to your birth, the full fee will be retained.
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