Postpartum Doulas and Prenatal Visits: What do You Talk About?

baby breastfeeding mother postpartum doula Nov 02, 2021

In my experience as a postpartum doula, I have noticed that most doulas either focus on birth or the postpartum period. Training is often separate. Yet, there are some doula training courses that cover both aspects of this life-changing rite of passage.

If you’re considering becoming a postpartum doula, or you are one, spending time prenatally with your clients will help you to serve your clients better.

Connecting with them will require you to get to know them on a deeper level. You can learn about their expectations, fears, concerns, excitement, and everything in between.

I say as soon as contact is made, set-up your appointments. Come up with some ideas for structuring your time with your postpartum doula clients, so you create maximum value for them and for you. Ask key questions like:

“Who will be preparing meals?”

“Where will your baby sleep?”

“Are you planning to go back to work?”

They may not have thought about any of this.  You can guide them to create a vision for what life will look like with a new baby. Find out what they are concerned about and share what you know is helpful in the early weeks at home with a newborn baby.

You can plant seeds on the first prenatal visit by asking those questions and then leaving them “homework.” If this is a couple it’s a great idea to invite them both to separately write out their expectations, and their greatest fear(s). Have them discuss these with each other. These are only suggestions to get you thinking about establishing rapport with your clients.

Even though a postpartum doula provides services after a baby is born, that doesn’t mean there’s no work to be done before the baby arrives.

On your second visit you can find out what came up for them, and help them with a plan, where they're on the same page. Ask more questions to get to the root of any fears surrounding caring for a newborn, sleep or support systems.

Add a third visit, where you can review the plan, make more suggestions, and talk about a possible schedule for your time. And, because I love fun and games, and created one, Down the Canal Trivia (based on the original board game), you can always add that into the mix. Or another fun activity to connect with your clients.

Your goal is to find out the specific needs and desires of the postpartum doula client you’re hired by.

Do they have realistic expectations about sleep?

Are they going to breastfeed?

Do they have family support?

Does Mom have to go to work soon after baby is born?

Have they had previous experience caring for a newborn?

As always, your listening skills are the most important thing. Every client is different and each situation is unique. While some things may work for some people, not everything works with everyone.

Your ability, as a postpartum doula, to be neutral, resourceful, non-judgmental, intuitive and open-minded will support you in your work.

You'll find my Prenatal Questionnaire, and other business forms, resources, and more in my Postpartum Doula Know How self-paced 24/7 ten module course.

Join my private Facebook Group to be in on the conversation about all things to do with becoming and being a postpartum doula.

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