Abby Block, CD(DONA), CBC

Certified Birth Doula & Breastfeeding Counselor Serving Brooklyn & NYC

Frequently Asked Questions

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Are doulas only for women who want natural (unmedicated) births?

No way! As a birth doula, I support women with a wide range of birth preferences. My clients have had a range of birth experiences, from natural (unmedicated) births to medicated births, planned and unplanned C-sections, as well as high, medium, low, and no intervention births. I have attended both low risk and high risk births, and I attend births in hospitals, birthing centers, and at homes, as well as births that are attended by both doctors or midwives. During your prenatal sessions, we will spend time discussing your preferences so that I can get to know your ideal choices. At your birth, I will support you in these choices and as well as through any changes that may arise, whatever they may be.

Are you available for my due date?

Please contact me to find out if I am available for your due date. Occasionally I may partner with another doula if I am planning to be away during your due date window. If that's the case, I will let you know when you inquire about my availability. You would have the opportunity to meet both myself and the partner doula at your free consultation. 

What is your fee?

My rate is based on my experience level, and is comparable to doulas in the NYC area with a similar level of experience. Because my fee adjusts with the number of births I have attended, please contact me to inquire about my current rate.

When and how do the sessions work?

We'll first meet for a free consultation. If we decide to work together, we'll schedule two prenatal sessions to occur during weeks 34-37 of your pregnancy. For the consultation and the sessions, I will come to your home, and I generally recommend that the couple attend the sessions together, although I know it's not always possible. For your postpartum session, I will be in touch with you after birth to schedule a time anywhere from 3 days to about 2 weeks postpartum. An explanation of what we'll cover in the sessions is here - however sessions are tailored to your needs, so the outline is simply a guideline.

What areas do you serve?

My normal client range is Brooklyn, Manhattan, and some parts of Queens. For an additional fee, I can serve clients located in the Bronx or Staten Island, depending on the transportation situation.
 

Do you hire a back up doula? Can I meet her?

I always book a back up doula for each of my clients. I select the back up doula after you hire me, and I have gotten to know you a bit. I take into consideration any particular important needs or requirements, and then I select a back up doula who I think would be the best match for you. Upon request, you may meet the back up doula by phone or Skype. I work closely with a small group of doulas whom I regularly use as back ups.

My partner will be an active participant at the birth. How will he fit in if a doula is there ?

As your doula, my goal is to bring you and your partner closer together at the birth. I will make sure you are both taken care of, whether that means with food and drink, a nap, a break, bathroom reminders, or a shoulder rub. I encourage partners to participate in the birth at their own comfort level. For some people, the event of birth and being in a hospital makes them very uncomfortable, and is in no way any indication of a partner's interest or devotion to their new child. Other partners are geared up to be the main labor support person, and then may not know what to do when the time comes. Either way, I'll shape shift to fill in any gaps and or support as needed. I will coordinate family members. I will make suggestions. I will be a guide and a resources to fall back on, not someone who will direct or influence your birth one way or another.

Your partner knows you best: what you need, what you like or dislike, your fears, your strengths, and everything about you. I will most likely be the one who knows birth best: the hospital setting, the typical stages, protocols, and procedures. I can speak from past experiences and knowledge to provide you with context, perspective, and unbiased information. If the unexpected or unplanned arises, I will be there to help you navigate through it.

How do I book you as my doula?

Please contact me to let me know your estimated due date, where you plan to deliver, and where you live. I will let you know my availability, as well as my current rate. If I'm available and that sounds good to you, we'll set up a time for a free consultation. I'll come to you or we can meet somewhere convenient. Once you decide you want to work with me, I'll send you a link to the agreement on my website and you'll pay 1/2 of my fee to reserve your spot in my calendar. The 2nd half of the fee can be paid at your 2nd prenatal session or your postpartum session. After we meet for the consultation, I will hold your spot for 24 hours and then may book more prospective client meetings. Once you book me, I will reserve your spot in my calendar to be on call for you from week 37 until your baby is born. In the rare event that you go into labor before 37 weeks, I will make every effort to be there.