What is a full spectrum doula?
Doulas are most commonly known for working with families and individuals through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, but there is a growing movement to expand the doula model of care to support a broader range of situations. Doulas who operate according to this philosophy are known as “full spectrum doulas.”
We are a growing collective of doulas and reproductive justice advocates, who envision pregnancy and birth as part of a full spectrum of reproductive and/or parenting experiences that includes (and is by no means limited to) miscarriage and loss, abortion, surrogacy, adoption, conception through medical technologies, and the postpartum period. As doulas, we provide educational, informational, physical, and emotional support for all of these choices and outcomes.
We trust in your ability to make the decisions that are right for you, your body, and your family from a place of informed consent, and we will support you with no judgement. Families come in endless shapes, sizes, combinations, and means -- accordingly, our doula support is never “one size fits all,” and we will meet you wherever you are on your path.
Who do you serve?
W.I.S.E Community Doulas mainly serves low income pregnant people and teens in Charlotte, NC, who live in areas marked by low socioeconomic status and are unable to pay for doula services, due to financial barriers. We serve families of color, who are living below the poverty level, pregnant people in homeless and domestic violence shelters, pregnant people who are unemployed or on medicaid and/or disability, and pregnant people with little personal and/or financial support.
What type of services do you provide?
Our offerings include:
Labor and postpartum Doula services
Resources for family building, including fertility, surrogacy, and adoption
Doula support for abortion and miscarriage
Referrals to other professionals for services outside our scope or expertise
Can a doula deliver my baby?
A Doula cannot provide medical care at all, so a Doula definitely does not deliver babies. Your medical care provider will perform all medical tasks for you such as provide cervical checks, monitor you and the baby and deliver the baby. A Doula is there only for emotional support and to provide comfort measures to help you cope with pain. Her main goal is to empower you and help in making your birth experience as enjoyable as possible.
What is the evidence behind doula support?
Studies have shown that when continuous birth support was provided by a doula, women experienced a:
31% decrease in the use of Pitocin*
28% decrease in the risk of C-section*
12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth*
9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience*
*this outcome was best affected by a doula rather than another type of support
What are some benefits of doula care?
Doula care has been found to improve birth outcomes and reduce health disparities. Substantial evidence demonstrates that Doula support increases the likelihood of safer, healthier, and more satisfying birth experiences. Benefits include:
• Shorter labors
• Fewer forceps and vacuum births
• Less need for anesthesia or analgesia such as epidurals
• Higher APGAR scores for babies
• More positive feelings about the birth
• Improved patient satisfaction
• Greater likelihood and longevity of breastfeeding
Source: "DONA International – Why Use a Doula?", 2005, www.dona.org)
Source: "The Evidence for Doulas", 2013. Dekker, Rebecca. based on "Continous support for women during labor," 2012. Hodnett, et. al.
Can I still have a doula if I plan on getting an epidural or if I'm having a scheduled c-section?
Absolutely! A doula is very beneficial for everyone, no matter what type of birth experience they plan for themselves. Even if you plan to have pain medication or have a scheduled c-section, Doulas are there to support and comfort you. Doulas are NOT just for people who want to have an unmedicated birth, and they have many benefits for everyone no matter what their birth outcome. Our goal as Doulas is to make sure that you have the best experience possible.
I want a Doula! What is the next step?
Fantastic! Please fill out the Doula request form to get the process started.