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Best Doulas in Jacksonville

When I rebranded (read all about it here) I knew I wanted to rebrand in a way that allows me to help women celebrate some of the biggest milestones of their life. However, I not only want to help women celebrate these milestones but navigate them too. Pregnancy and birth are some of the most beautiful experiences a woman can have and the movement that is happening in our society for women to have more say in how they manage their pregnancy and labor is amazing. Doulas are playing such an integral role in this movement so I wanted to give a shout-out to the best doulas in Jacksonville and help you decide if a doula is a right fit for you.

What is a doula?

doula is a professional trained in childbirth who provides emotional, physical, and educational support to a mother who is expecting, is experiencing labor, or has recently given birth. Their purpose is to help women have a safe, memorable, and empowering birthing experience.

These women become confidantes and a safe place to turn to when you’re going through your pregnancy, labor, and the fourth trimester. They often provide strategies for managing different pregnancy symptoms naturally and help you navigate labor and delivery in a way that empowers your decision-making. They are an advocate for your desired birth plan and support you throughout the process.

This can be particularly beneficial during your labor and delivery. It can be intimidating trying to make informed decisions in the middle of labor and not having an advocate could lead to a birth experience that you end up less than happy about. Doulas have the ability to assess the situation from a place of knowledge and help you determine what is the next right step in the process.

Questions to ask Doulas

Before you begin the interview process for choosing a doula there are some things you need to consider. The first is what characteristics are most important in your doula? Do you need someone who is firm or do you need a gentle approach? Do you want a doula that’s been there and done that or are you okay with someone newer to the field? Do you want to work with a one-woman show or an agency to help you select the best fit? What kind of support do you need leading up to labor and delivery? Once you figure out what you need in a doula you can begin the interview process with a solid understanding of the best fit for your needs.

Here are a list of questions recommended Celia Shatzman a contributing writer for The Bump.

  • What kind of training do you have? Are you certified, and if so, through which organization?
  • Have you taken part in any continuing education programs?
  • What is your philosophy about birth?
  • How would you describe your doula style?
  • Why did you become a doula?
  • How do you most often support women in labor?
  • How many births have you attended?
  • What are your fees? What is included in your doula package? What happens to my fee if, for instance, I need an emergency c-section and labor support is no longer needed?
  • Have you ever given birth, and, if so, did your birth experience inspire you to be a doula? Why? Did you have a doula? What did you learn from your birth experience?
  • Have you attended births at my birth location and what were your experiences there?
  • Do you have any other clients that have due dates near mine?
  • Do you have a backup doula? If so, may I meet her? How often is your backup doula used?
  • Do you make any visits before the birth?
  • Do you offer any postpartum care or follow up? Does that require an additional fee?
  • May I email, text or call you with questions?
  • Do you have experience with birth complications?
  • Have you attended births that have ended up as a c-section?
  • Have you attended home births?
  • At what point in labor would we meet up? How should I contact you during labor and at what point? Is it okay if it’s in the middle of the night? Are you always on call?
  • Do you stay for the entire labor and childbirth, or do you have a time limit for long births?
  • How do you work with a husband or partner?
  • How do you work with a midwife or doctor?
  • How do you support the laboring mom?
  • What coping techniques do you find most helpful?
  • What are your tactics for pain?
  • How do you feel about epidurals or any pain medication?
  • How long do you stay after the birth?
  • Do you have experience with breastfeeding instruction?
  • Do you offer any additional services, such as placenta encapsulation?
  • Is it possible to read any reviews you might have? Do you have any references and if so may I speak with them?

Once you have completed the interview process take some time and answer the following questions yourself about each of the top candidates.

  • Did you feel as if she was really listening to you during the interview?
  • Did you feel comfortable with her?
  • Did she seem compassionate?
  • Did she ask you any questions?
  • Did you feel she was interested in you and what you want?
  • Did she communicate well?
  • Did she seem knowledgeable?
  • Did her views on pregnancy, childbirth and medical care align with your own?
  • Did she take the time to answer all of your questions or did you feel rushed?
  • Was it easy to make the appointment with her?
  • Did you click with her?

Knowing if a doula is right for you!

Pregnancy, birth plans, labor, and delivery are all such intimate and personal matters that no one can answer this question except for you. It all comes down to knowing the kind of person you are, the type of birth experience you desire, and if you want or need support in order to make that birth experience happen. Personally, I think doulas are an incredible resource and are some of the best people to have in your corner on one of the most important days of your life.

Do you research, ask lots of questions, and then follow your gut. Here are some of the best doulas in Jacksonville that I know and love:

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