A Conversation with a Doula

Written By: Doulas of Shanghai

We sat down with Holly Hurst, the director of Doulas of Shanghai, to get answers to some of your frequently asked questions. Answering your questions is what we do. Contact us, if you have additional questions or concerns you’d like us to address!

A birth doula is like a midwife, right?

While doulas and midwifes are both birth professionals, they have very different jobs.

Doulas are non-medical professionals, providing physical, emotional, and informational support during labor, helping you feel confident in your choices and in your body. Your doula is there for you from the moment you sign your contract until she meets you at home with your new baby during the postpartum period. She is present with you throughout labor, helping you to feel safe, calm, and cared for.

Midwives are healthcare professionals who provide medical support to pregnant people. A midwife could provide prenatal care for you and your baby, checking on baby’s growth, order medical tests, and provide routine checks. During labor, midwives monitor medical charts, take blood pressure, and follow a system of care headed by a doctor. Midwives likely have other patients, and may be in and out of the room caring for them during your labor.

What will my doula do for me?

She’s here to make your pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period better.

Your doula will meet with you for a free consultation to get to know you better and learn more about what you want for your birth.

After she’s signed with you, she meets you at your home for a prenatal appointment, where she can help you write your birth plan, teach you and your partner some physical comfort measures, help you know what to expect when you go into labor, and more. Between signing your contract with her and into the postpartum period, she is on call for you and ready to answer any questions that you have.

Our clients say that hiring a doula was one of the best choices they made, and the support we provide made giving birth an amazing experience. Read more about what our clients are saying here.

I think I want an epidural. Is a doula still for me?


Doulas of Shanghai are trained and certified to provide support to all types of birth.

We love supporting epidurals and will be there for you through contractions until you and your doctors are ready to place the epidural. After it’s placed, we help you and your partner to rest and prepare for baby’s arrival, as well as recommend comfortable positions for helping your labor to progress.

So whether you’re planning for an unmedicated water birth or a scheduled cesarean birth, your doula is ready to discuss what to expect, your options for each birth choice, and to help you achieve a calmer, better birth.

We also know that plans can change in the course of pregnancy and labor, as unexpected events arise. Your doula will affirm the emotions that accompany the unexpected, and walk you through the new choices that you have to help you maintain control and feel empowered during your birth.

What are the benefits of doula support?

The benefits of being cared for and nurtured during pregnancy and labor cannot be understated.  

And all families benefit from that support, no matter what type of birth or parenting choices they decide on.

Doulas provide physical support during labor, which could be in the form of counter pressure on the hips and back to help you through each contraction. It could also be a soothing foot massage as you sink into the bed or sofa, helping your body to relax as labor progresses. A gentle back massage as you rest your head on the edge of your birthing pool between contractions. Or a reminder that you should probably try peeing again.

Emotional support is what helps you feel strong and keeps you going during labor. Labor is like a marathon, and without someone cheering you on, it can be hard to keep your mojo when the going gets tough. We are here to remind you that you’ve got this and to take it one step at a time, one contraction at a time. We bring the optimism when you need it, and affirm your feelings when times get hard.

Informational support is offered when you’ve got questions or something new comes up. I mean, who really wants to try to remember everything you learned from the baby books when in labor? You can focus on you and your baby with your doula by your side, without the distraction of feeling like you need to remember everything right now. So take that weight off your mind, and just enjoy the moment.

Will my doula take my partners place? What will my partner do?

Not at all. Partners report that they love having Doulas of Shanghai on their team.

And that’s exactly what doulas and partners are: a team.

Many partners want to be involved in the labor process, and help you as your body and baby are working towards birth.

Having a doula there to show them how to give you that pain-relieving counter pressure is a relief to the partner. The gentle suggestion for them to help you stay hydrated and offer you your favorite drink is affirming. The doula offering your partner food, a drink, a shoulder massage, or a chance to nap after long hours of labor is a life-saver.

Partners tell us that having a doula there to support allows them to be fully there with you. With a doula by their side, they can feel emotionally present, confident, and safe.

Wow, that sounds great. What are the next steps?

You can call, email, or WeChat Doulas of Shanghai to schedule your free consultation.

After you meet with your doula and decide to sign up for support, your doula is on call for you until you give birth. She will meet with you again before labor to learn more about what your vision for your birth looks like and talk about how she can help you achieve it.

After your baby arrives in your arms, she can help you initiate breastfeeding (if desired) and will meet with you again in the comfort of your home to answer any new questions or concerns that have some up.

You’ve got this! And we are looking forward to being there for you.  

WeChat: DoulasofShanghai

Phone: 135-2491-8954

Doulas of Shanghai virtually serve families in these cities and more:

Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Nanjing, Tianjin, Suzhou, Xi’an, Changsha, Shenyang, Qingdao, Zhengzhou, Dalian, Dongguan, Ningbo, Xiamen, Fuzhou, Wuxi, Hefei, Kunming, Harbin, Jinan, Foshan, Changchun, Wenzhou, Shijiazhuang, Nanning, Changzhou, Quanzhou, Nanchang, Guiyang, Taiyuan, Yantai, Jiaxing, Nantong, Jinhua, Zhuhai, Huizhou, Xuzhou, Haikou, Ürümqi, Shaoxing, Zhongshan, Taizhou, Lanzhou.

Published by Doulas of Shanghai

Doulas of Shanghai is providing the leading care for families throughout pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period.

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