Choosing Your Health Care Provider: Postpartum Doulas

You're starting to put together your team of health care providers for your pregnancy. But, it's not all about the birth. Some moms need a little extra help after the baby is born, and that's where postpartum doulas can help. Learn more about the advantages of hiring a postpartum doula so you can determine if this is the best fit for you and your newborn.

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    Regardless of how you deliver your baby, you will need to rely on a team of health care providers to help you along the way. How can a doula be your biggest supporter? What’s the difference between midwifery care and hiring an obstetrician? What options are available?

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Episode Transcript

Preggie Pals
Choosing Your Health Care Provider: Postpartum Doulas


Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

[Theme Music]

ROSEMARY MASON: As you prepare for the arrival of your little one, even picking the right doctor during the hospital and finishing up your baby registry. But how much thought have you put into life after the big day of the birth? What are your plans for recovery from child birth? How much experience do you have taking care or your baby 24/7? I’m Rosemary Mason, a certified postpartum doula and today we’ll be talking about how hiring a postpartum doula can make your transition to the mommy-hood much easier. This is Preggie Pals.

[Theme Music/Intro]

ANNIE LAIRD: Welcome to Preggie Pals, broadcasting from the birth education centre of San Diego. Preggie Pals is your weekly online on-the-go-support group for expecting parents and those hoping to become pregnant as well.

I’m your host Annie Laird. Thanks to all of our loyal listeners who have joined the Preggie Pals club. Our members get special episodes, after each new show they get bonus content only available to them plus special giveaways and discounts. See our website for more information. Now another way for you to stay connected is by going to your Windows, your iTunes, your Android market place and downloading the Preggie Pals app. This is absolutely free and it’s a great way for you to keep up on your Preggie Pals episodes, learn everything about pregnancy, birth and brand new babies.

Now Sam, our producer, is going to give us some more information about our virtual panellist program. Take it away Sam.

SAMANTHA EKLUND: Thanks Annie. So if you don’t live in San Diego but you like to be a panellist on our show, you can still participate through our virtual panellist program. Just like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter using #preggiepalsvp and all new follow us on Instagram on New Mommy Media and search #preggiepals for behind the scenes pictures. We’ll post questions throughout the week prior to our taping and we’d love for you to comment so we can incorporate your thoughts into our episode.

You can also submit your questions directly to our experts. Learn more about our VP program through the community section on our website .

ANNIE LAIRD: Great. So let’s introduce ourselves. My name is Annie. I’m the host. I’m 36 years sorry oh god I’m not 36 yet. By the time this episode gets released I’ll be darn near 36 years old so that makes me apparently elderly now and I can’t even remember my own age so there you go my minds gone. I have 3 kids, all little girls, almost 9, almost 2 and six months old. So I got a built in babysitter, Its awesome.

SAMANTHA EKLUND: I’m Samantha. I’m 22. I’m a mostly stay at home mom besides at my job here on Preggie Pals. I have an 18 month old daughter named Olivia who is on unplanned caesarean and hoping for a VBAC next time around.

ANNIE LAIRD: Awesome. How that happens quick doesn’t it? To just like going from infant it was like oh you’re talking it’s like I have a child.

SAMANTHA EKLUND: Like no. last time I thought I had a baby…


SAMANTHA EKLUND: But she’s a kid now.

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah. She is.

SAMANTHA EKLUND: Which is amazing to me.

[Theme Music]

ANNIE LAIRD: Alright on Preggie Pals occasionally we will have featured segments and be reviewing news articles, talking about just different topics. So the news article the title of it this week is “Some moms prefer their post body baby stretch marks and all”.

So most mothers can agree that having a baby usually forever changes your body whether it’s full or hips or softer stomach or breast that aren’t as quite as perky as they once were. And we live in a culture where you know “getting your pre-body baby back” it’s assumed to be nearly a universal postpartum goal.

But some moms are just fine with their post baby body finding this new changes come with new kind of strength and appreciation for what they’re physically capable of doing.

In USA today poll that was done in 2013 so although 70% of moms said they feel worst about how their body looks after having kids there is 30% that that’s a sizeable I think percentage of moms that like their post baby body better and they feel more powerful and confident in their looks. And so I was kind of surprise when I – that there is always 30%.

SAMANTHA EKLUND: Yeah 30% seems higher than what I would have guess although it makes sense that you know just because your body doesn’t look the same way you feel much more empowered because you had the gift of bringing life into the world which no man can do…



ANNIE LAIRD: Jim Gaffigan does this great little - have you ever have heard Jim Gaffigan?

SAMANTHA EKLUND: I’ve heard his spill about his home birth and about how his family is more touch and parenting natural living type…

ANNIE LAIRD: Well yeah and in this in the role skit that I’m talking about he says basically you know when you think he has great respect for woman in saying you know when you think about it you know it’s woman are amazing you know…


ANNIE LAIRD: With they can grow a baby with their body and then they birth a baby through their body and they can somehow through some miracle of life can feed a baby with their body.


ANNIE LAIRD: Because when you think about the male contribution to this you know it’s kind of…


ANNIE LAIRD: This is kind of embarrassing like well I helped too you know for 3 seconds for the thing I think about doing 24 hours a day. You know after you have a baby it’s just enough to think about taking care of a baby.


ANNIE LAIRD: And taking care of yourself.


ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah. So this goes really well into our segment for today.


ANNIE LAIRD: In what we’re talking about today, postpartum doulas.

[Theme Music]

ANNIE LAIRD: Today on Preggie Pals we’re continuing our series on hiring your care provider. So, so much time I think really goes into focusing on hiring the right doctor or hiring the right paediatrician. I think those are the main two that people think about like how you get the right doctor you know and then after the baby is born you get the doctor for the baby you know.

But today we’re talking about hiring a postpartum doula. So joining us today is our expert is Rosemary Mason. She’s a certified postpartum doula. She started her career back in 1984 as a certified child birth educator, a donor trained birth doula. She’s as I’ve mentioned a certified postpartum doula and she’s also a certified lactation educator. Rosemary welcome to the show and thanks for joining us.


ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah. So now when I think the word doula comes up I think people think of that like birth coach. So what is a postpartum doula?

ROSEMARY MASON: So a postpartum doula takes you the second half. So a birth doula I was think of this you start your journey you start out with a birth doula, she takes you at the beginning part of your journey, she plans hope she plans you know your trip, she gets you on the plane, she sends you on your way, she goes to the plane with you, she gets to end and the door opens then she says thank you have a great trip and leaves you there.

I as a postpartum doula will meet you at the gate and say okay let’s continue our journey as you bring this baby home. And that’s what we do we kind of physical and emotional support lots of resources to the community so this mom doesn’t feel like she’s by herself bringing the baby home.

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah and so that was one of the questions I think before I have my first baby and I really knew what a postpartum doula was I think that was a misconception I definitely have it like oh is it kind of like a babysitter like…


ANNIE LAIRD: No. I mean what other special skills you postpartum doulas bring than you know your typical 16 old babysitter?

ROSEMARY MASON: Right so it’s pretty much all about breastfeeding, bottle feeding, pumping, when to pump, when not to pump, you know how much do we pump in, getting the family involved, if you had other siblings, if there is any jealousy issues, how to go ahead and nurse the first your second baby when you have a second one, when we will bring in what we called the little the family box and it has all kinds of fun things the baby the second one could be using while your nursing the other one it has got all those kind of masking tape and all kinds of fun little toys.

So that keeps occupation to that. We also provide night time support so if you’re totally exhausted and need some support at that time we could also come in and help you with the baby at in the evening time so…

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah. Isn’t it amazing that they say that newborn babies they sleep you would know better…

ROSEMARY MASON: Yeah 14 to 16 hours a day but just not continuously.

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah. And always when you want to sleep it seems like is that a normal thing were babies have their daytimes and their night time wake up?

ROSEMARY MASON: In some babies it is. I usually find that most babies will follow along what you’ve been doing pregnant. So if you’re type that likes to sleep a lot during the day and then be up during the night depending on your work. Your baby will already be in that sync so…

ANNIE LAIRD: Oh interesting.

ROSEMARY MASON: Yeah. So if you find your baby very active in the middle of the night, it is probably because you were up going to the bathroom or working or whatever and they will repeat that schedule.


ROSEMARY MASON: And so then once they get out you just have to kind of re-adjust. It does take them very long but they will re-adjust.

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah. How long do you find that normally takes for them to…

ROSEMARY MASON: It can be anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks…


ROSEMARY MASON: Until they’ve kind of get into their days and nights a little more organize. What most parents like to do is thinking oh we want to keep it really loud during the day and so they won’t sleep as well and that’s really a mistake because you want to when they’re sleeping you want to be respect of their sleep so they get really good sleep and then when they’re awake then you can keep the TV on and talk to them and keep the noise level up a little bit so they can start getting used to the days and nights.

Night time is pretty business like we feed them, burp them and put them right back down there’s not a lot of stimulus and then they’ll start to get their days and nights organized.

ANNIE LAIRD: That’s awesome. I mean I would’ve imagined that was just the have had good habits not that you’ll be sleep to sleep training a baby.



ROSEMARY MASON: That’s way to early you know talking about but for the family to get in some good like you said some good habits is really nice where the end of the day where it’s you know feeding, it’s the bath time or massage time, story time and then it’s down for bed.


ROSEMARY MASON: There is time for you.

ANNIE LAIRD: It makes me think you know like I wish I would’ve hired a postpartum doula just as I really think that…

ROSEMARY MASON: I’m waiting for you.

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah especially with older children.


ANNIE LAIRD: It could really be an advantage of it you know for a new baby for a first baby I think that will be helpful too…

ROSEMARY MASON: Very helpful.

ANNIE LAIRD: Like how many of us can say oh yeah I just been around baby this is not like when we lived in tribes and we’re nomads.


ANNIE LAIRD: You know where you would take care of your nieces and nephews and cousins and all that. I think it’s very much and we are so separated from family now too.

ROSEMARY MASON: Very much separated especially here in San Diego. We have a lot of new families that just arrived in really don’t have any family at all or just a few close friends where you don’t feel like you know ask them any type of support at all.

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah. What kind of area would you think that was around San Diego where we have so many families like that?

ROSEMARY MASON: I think it’s just the military. We’ve quite a few military families coming in. We have a lot new businesses coming in so it’s just you know…

ANNIE LAIRD: You’re going were the jobs are.


ANNIE LAIRD: Especially after this recent recession. So…

ROSEMARY MASON: Exactly. If you have a choice between San Diego and probably a snowy climate, you probably choose San Diego.

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah I would. I would certainly yeah. So I was just reading online a little bit about postpartum depression and…


ANNIE LAIRD: So what kinds of training to postpartum doulas have in postpartum depression? Can you recognize it?

ROSEMARY MASON: Oh that’s our job. We screen for postpartum mood disorders and that could be anywhere from depression to anxiety and mostly are moms are experiencing some sort of anxiety. It could be an OCD type of anxiety. It could be a sleep type of anxiety but those are the major ones.

Then our job is then to refer to the therapist that we work with and that would be through the postpartum health alliance here in San Diego which is probably one of the top facilities in United States so then that they would take over for us.

So our job is to come in, screen, talk with these moms, how are you feeling, are you feeling anxious, is there anything different than you normally feel then and they come to us because we’re such a, we’re very trustworthy in the family. They just feel like wow you know what Rosemary? I do, I don’t feel myself, I feel very anxious around the baby, I’m having you know even bad thoughts and they think right away it’s going to be a psychosis type of episode and that’s less than 1% of the you know society that would experience that. So then we would then, I would then refer to one of the therapist that works with us.

ANNIE LAIRD: Oh okay. So you don’t actually treat as a postpartum doula.

ROSEMARY MASON: Exactly. We’re not therapist. We’re there to screen. That’s our job.

ANNIE LAIRD: Okay. Oh okay. Now how long do postpartum doulas normally help a new mother? What’s a normal job for you that you would hire for?

ROSEMARY MASON: You know it could be any amount of time and we like to let families know we’re there for the first 12 weeks and you can jump in at any amount in that time. So most people think oh gosh if we didn’t you know get a postpartum doula for the first couple of weeks then you know they’re not available for us and that’s not true.

We’re there the first 12 to 14 weeks of the baby’s life - that fourth trimester and we’ll help them out that way. A lot of times you may just want some consulting were you just want the doula to come in for a couple of hours then just go over the back, am I doing the breastfeeding correctly, is you know all kinds of different questions.

So if they think of us like the baby manual that would be a very appropriate way to think of us. And they always wonder babies never come with a manual and they do it’s called the postpartum doula and you just open her up pick out what you need to do.

Some people with multiples then want longer terms so maybe they want 3 or 4 days a week or maybe a couple of nights in between there. Once again it’s all about learning, how are you going to take these babies to the store, you know how are you going to do your normal things, how are you going to take a shower, how are you going to you know just walk the dog. All the things that you normally do, you now have to incorporate a baby with, or babies. So that’s what we do.

ANNIE LAIRD: How, what’s the normal shift like do you find that you were doing more day work more night work, how long are you with a family as far as like per day.


ANNIE LAIRD: Because it’s not a 24/7 thing.

ROSEMARY MASON: It’s it can be some people want 24 hour care if they have triplets and you know they want for those couple of weeks 24 hours. You know 12 week maybe we’ll do a 12 hour shifts, sometimes we use to get 3 doulas involved and they do each do an 8 hour shift. And we do that because you want a fresh reliable person in and you can’t expect a doula to be there you know 6 weeks every single living with you.

It’s just too much to ask for one person. It’s very it’s easier just for us to get a team of people in there to help the whole facility. I will usually will go in and spend anywhere from 4 to 6 to 8 hours a day with the family depending on what their needs are and it could be at night time it’s pretty much an 8 hour shift.

We use to come in at 10 or 11 o’clock, stay until 6 or 7, bringing the mom, the baby or she’s coming in to nurse, we’re doing the burping and the changing and just any questions and they’ve it seems like they have a lot more questions at night.

ANNIE LAIRD: When we comeback, we’re going to be discussing actually how you find a postpartum doula to interview. We’ll be right back.

[Theme Music]

ANNIE LAIRD: Welcome back. Today we’re talking about hiring your postpartum doula. So Rosemary we were talking about this a little bit in the first part of the interview of a typical day of work for a postpartum doula to say in 8 hour - say mom wants an 8 hours during the day, so what would that day look like when you come in?

ROSEMARY MASON: Sure. Great! We usually arrived you know a specific time and then we always start off what did you, what did she eat today and it’s always about oh I think they had toast well right away we’re making some food for that mom or maybe she wants us to come in the kitchen so we can hold the baby when she wants to fix her own breakfast.

It’s you know it’s really her choice what she wants to do. Then we can help off doing some baby laundry, some tidying up the facility around with her. It could be she wants to go for a nap, she wants to take a shower and all this time we’re teaching her like if we weren’t here, how are going to do this without us. And so there we’re going to show how to put the baby in the bouncer chair.

Bring the baby into the bathroom which most people thought oh I didn’t even think about doing that or maybe they have one of those really fluffy little rugs that you can also put a little blanket down and put the baby on.

If you do this every single day, the baby is going to get used to mommy taking a shower at a certain time and they just end up enjoying it.

ANNIE LAIRD: Well that’s nice because I think that’s important to have mom know that she needs to take care of herself.


ANNIE LAIRD: If she doesn’t take care of herself then she can’t take care of her baby.



ROSEMARY MASON: All falls apart at that time.


ROSEMARY MASON: And I think a lot of us loved our moms, think their super moms and my gosh you know I didn’t think it’s going to be this difficult and after all I went to college or graduate school and you know I didn’t even sleep during finals and you know that’s a whole different thing not sleeping during finals that’s pretty much over then you go to [inaudible] or someplace but for baby they don’t you know they’re pretty much there all the time. You can’t just put them in a box and say okay thank you I’ll see you in the morning.


ROSEMARY MASON: It’s pretty much constant the whole time.

ANNIE LAIRD: You know I wonder if some of just the coping with new mommy hood of just what are the expectations. I know when I was first a brand new mama, look back now on my first daughter who was you know I had no idea but she was a pretty typical baby you know and the babies on TV and movies…


ANNIE LAIRD: Unless it was for a punch line, they were crying…


ANNIE LAIRD: And I thought oh my gosh I’m doing something wrong because she’s crying. No she’s a baby and she, that that’s…

ROSEMARY MASON: She’s expressing herself in some way.

ANNIE LAIRD: Exactly. She can’t talk to me and say well I’m tired or I’m hungry or any of that so but like that would have been really nice to have a postpartum doula yeah you know I mean yeah try and fix the crying…


ANNIE LAIRD: But you know I mean sometimes you just sometimes they just cry for you have no idea.

ROSEMARY MASON: Sometimes crying it’s a communication of what and we’re trying to figure out what it is and a lot of times our work as you know along with the doulas and the parents we’re detectives. We’re trying to figure out what’s going on with this baby. It’s not always food, sometimes it’s mostly over stimulation or you know something’s going on. Babies are kind of born with sensitivity of certain things, either light or touch or just too much stimulus and that’s what we’re trying to help with those parents as well.

ANNIE LAIRD: Now how can women find a postpartum doula to interview? I know here in San Diego we have Beautiful Beginnings which is a great resource and a ton of postpartum doulas are a part of that group but like you know in just any place in the United States…


ANNIE LAIRD: Because that’s where our podcast is listened too.


ANNIE LAIRD: Throughout the United States and even internationally. How can women like go…


ANNIE LAIRD: And even find one?

ROSEMARY MASON: There’s a couple of places you can go to the DONA website which is and on that there’ll be a little thing a little menu on the side you just put in your state and then your doulas in that area will pop up. The certified doulas will pop up then. You can also go with KAPA there’s a couple of you know lots of great groups out here across United States you’ll be able to find. You can just Google doulas in your area and I’m sure a whole bunch of them will come up at this time.

ANNIE LAIRD: Oh Okay. Now you mentioned with DONA that it brings up the certified doulas…


ANNIE LAIRD: Now what goes into a certification or what was the difference between hiring someone who’s certified and someone may use to working on the certification.

ROSEMARY MASON: Right. Certification is just going that extra step. You know you followed all the rules. You have a standard practice that you abide by. Not that people who are not certified they’re not qualified but if you’re looking for someone who’s gone the extra mile who does continuous education you know all the time. It’s that’s where I really go with.

ANNIE LAIRD: Now you talk about continuing education now what kind of continuing education do postpartum doulas pursue?

ROSEMARY MASON: Yeah it’s pretty much breastfeeding, any type of baby care, postpartum mood disorders it’s all there’s something going on pretty much all the time and we are participant in that. And that once again gives you a more stronger skill set so that you can go in and help with that family.

ANNIE LAIRD: Okay. Now what is the going rate? I know obviously you know here in Southern California might be different than Minnesota or…

ROSEMARY MASON: Yeah correct. It’s pretty close around across the United States. It’s between $25 and $30 dollars an hour. And once again you don’t have to have 8 hours. It could just be a couple of hours. It could be you know any amount the family needs. We don’t really set a time that we have to be there. Some doulas do but I personally don’t. If you just want me for an hour, I’m happy zip out for an hour and give you some consulting at that time.

ANNIE LAIRD: Oh okay great! Well thanks Rosemary for joining us today.


ANNIE LAIRD: For more information about Rosemary and her business North County Doulas as well as information about any of our panellist, visit the episode page on our website. This conversation continuous for members of our Preggie Pals club. After the show Rosemary will share with us what she considers the top 3 questions that you should ask in an interview of a postpartum doula. To join our club, visit our website .

[Theme Music]

ANNIE LAIRD: Hi Preggie Pals, we have a question for one of our experts. Jenna is in Okinawa right? My sister tells me that eating sushi is dangerous for the baby. But I see women doing it were I lived all the time. What is the danger on eating sushi while pregnant?

WOMAN: Hello I’m [inaudible] a registered dietician nutritionist in San Diego California USA. Jenna thanks for asking this question. In the United States, it is recommended that pregnant women do not consume raw fish because of the increased risk for exposure to parasites and bacteria.

While the woman is pregnant, her immune system is not as strong and this makes her more susceptible to food borne illness. With this said some women will choose to take the risk and indulge in things like raw sushi from reputable restaurants. You can talk it over with your physician or midwife.

It is not however recommended that you put up fish altogether when pregnant. Pregnant women can consider choosing cooked versions of sushi for safer options provided the chef cleans the circumference before making the sushi. Consuming of raw fish provides your body with Omega 3 that are crucial to the baby’s brain development. To keep mercury levels low it is always recommended that one consumes 12 ounce or less of low mercury contained fish per week for example for salmon, anchovy, herring, sardines, trout, tuna and Atlantic and Pacific mackerel. I hope this is helpful. Thanks

[Theme Music]

ANNIE LAIRD: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to Preggie Pals.

Don’t forget to check out our sister shows:
• Parent Savers for parents with newborns, infants and toddlers
• Twin Talks for parents of multiples.
• The Boob Group for moms who breastfeed their babies

Next week we’ll be discussing how to keep your pregnancy low risk.
This is Preggie Pals, your pregnancy, your way.

This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

SUNNY GAULT: New Mommy Media is expanding our line up of shows for new and expecting parents. If you have an idea for a new series or if you’re a business or organization interested in joining our network of shows through a co-branded podcast, visit .

[End of Audio]

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