If you've hired a doula, she has likely gone over the protocol of when to call her. However, you still might be questioning whether or not to call her when you have symptoms or concerns. The simple answer to your question is a resounding YES! Always call your doula!
Your doula enjoys building a trusting relationship with you and is always available to you - day or night, big or small - it is never an inconvenience. Personally, I get really excited when my phone rings at 2 in the morning! Even if your labour has only just begun or you're not even sure if it's begun, your doula will want to hear from you. This gives her time to make arrangements to join you when you need her.
Protocols for calling your doctor or midwife are much different and can leave you and your partner to decide for yourselves. Your doula will be in constant contact with you, come to you when you feel the need for her support, and can help you decide when to go to the hospital or call your midwife.
If you are still unsure, here are 4 not-so-obvious reasons to call your doula:
1. You've just had a big, soft poop and your tummy still hurts
It's true. This can be a sign that things could be starting soon. And yes, your doula wants to hear about it!
2. You have a general feeling of being unwell
Many women say "they just don't feel well" right before labour starts. This can be a dull back ache, period-like cramps, nausea, or indigestion. Some women say it feels as if they are about to get the flu.
3. Extra vaginal discharge
This is a sign that your cervix is softening and preparing for dilation. It could be brown, pink or white. If it is green or yellowish, or has lots of bright red blood, be sure to call your care provider as well.
4. You think you may have peed yourself a little bit
Although only 1 in 10 women will experience premature rupture of membranes or PROM (waters breaking before labour starts), it's not always with a big gush. Sometimes the amniotic sac gets a small tear in it and leaks a small amount intermittently, making you feel like little dribbles of pee is leaking out. In this case, you can also call your care provider for medical advice.
If you have signs or symptoms that aren't listed here, call anyway. Your doula wants you to feel comfortable and confident in your labour and birth. And if you feel like you just need more time to talk about worries, fears or concerns, call her for a cup of tea in the morning!