Labor Doula FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
IS A DOULA WORTH THE FINANCIAL INVESTMENT?
I understand having a baby involves a number of costs. However, when you realize that you’re given just one time to experience this pregnancy and birth and that this experience is one of the most momentous and special days in your life as a family, the answer becomes simple. A little more money spent towards preparing for the best birth possible is absolutely worth it! Since a Doula reduces the risk of epidurals and cesareans, this investment can end up saving you money in the long run, since epidurals can run upwards of $2,000-$5,000. I’ve never heard of anyone hiring a Doula and regretting it. Doulas deepen the beauty of your birth experience, reduce your fears and believe in you- which is really priceless and timeless, as you will remember the day you gave birth forever.
ARE DOULAS ONLY BENEFICIAL FOR THOSE TRYING FOR A NATURAL BIRTH?
Not at all! Doulas are helpful for all birth situations. In many cases, natural birth is made more possible with a Doula’s support, which also increases the outcome for a vaginal birth. For those that request pain medication, there is still a need for strong birth support because emotionally and mentally, Mom still benefits from having dedicated birth support.
“Some women find that after they receive an epidural, the hospital staff and others around them almost “forget” as if they exist anymore. The focus seems to turn solely toward the fetal monitor, the blood pressure cuffs, and the IV fluids and/or medication- but not toward the woman who is still laboring. While a Doula does not play as active of a role after mother receives an epidural, her attention is still always turned toward the laboring woman. Whether she is reminding and/or assisting you in changing positions, “tucking you in” so that you can sleep, reminding you to ask questions about recommended interventions, or simply continuing supporting you emotionally, you are always her primary focus!”
-Birthing Beautiful Ideas
I’M USING A MIDWIFE, IS A DOULA STILL NECESSARY?
So at this point, you might be asking yourself if a doula is something like a midwife? Not at all! A midwife provides all of your prenatal healthcare throughout your pregnancy and childbirth, and is responsible for actually delivering the baby and monitoring Mom and Baby’s health throughout labor and after birth.
Neither is a doula a nurse or a doctor (although there are many nurses, and maybe even some doctors, who have gone on to become doulas). A doula, while trained and educated on the birthing process, is a completely non-medical caregiver and performs no clinical task. This means no vaginal checks, no listening for fetal heart tones, and no blood pressure checks. It is out of a doula’s scope of practice to perform any clinical tasks or make any diagnosis, to speak for the client, make medical decisions, or even offer medical advice. She may offer suggestions and further information on birth and procedures surrounding pregnancy and birth, to assist a family in getting all of the information they need to make decisions about how their baby will come into the world.
Another way a doula is different than a healthcare provider is the personalized care through pregnancy, meeting several times before the birth to get to know the expecting family and their preferences for their birth and her role in their birth, and then providing continuous, hands-on care from early labor until after the baby is born. Most doulas (if they are in solo practice) only take 4-5 clients expecting in the same month so she can be assured (almost assured- most doulas have a back-up doula waiting in the wings on the off-chance that two moms will be in labor at the same time) that she will be able to offer 100% support to one family at a time.
A doula does not change shift like hospital staff. She stays and supports Mom and Dad all the way through the birth, until the new family is settled and ready to rest. Unlike doctors, hospital midwives, and labor and delivery nurses, she serves only one client at a time.
However, similarly to midwives, doulas serve women as they birth in hospitals, birth centers, and at home.
In a home birth situation, the midwife is responsible for the health of Mom and Baby, and the doula is strictly responsible for keeping Mom comfortable and focused.
But regardless of birthing place, birth plan (or the lack thereof), or birthing method, whether Mom chooses to birth by c-section, without any pain-relieving drugs at all, or with an epidural, a birth doula shows up ready to serve, her only agenda is Mom’s agenda and helping each family she serves have the beautiful birth memories that they will look back on and cherish forever.
DOES HAVING A DOULA AFFECT MY PARTNER’S ROLE?
What about dads? Guess what? Doulas are for dads too! Ask almost any dad who has experienced birth with the support of a doula and they’ll tell you how much more confident they felt without all of the pressure of being Mom’s sole support.
The fact is that while men certainly love their partners and their babies, many men find the whole birthing process to be extremely stressful, messy, and unsettling, even through the smoothest, most uncomplicated birth day. Most men simply aren’t hardwired for the very woman-centric labor and delivery room. They have a different perspective and relationship with Mom and her body than anyone else in that room, they feel extremely protective of her and baby, but often very helpless as well. What may be a completely normal occurrence in birth and may not make a healthcare provider or even any other woman blink twice, may border on traumatizing for Dad. His partner may make sounds, or act in ways he is unaccustomed to. This can be nerve-wracking to someone inexperienced with how birth happens and what it looks like, someone who will likely only have a few opportunities to participate in the birthing process in his lifetime. Many dads find the situation of labor to be so stressful that he needs the chance to decompress- this can look like taking a walk or a smoke break, or simply zoning out with Sports Center. But when that’s what Dad needs, who sits with Mom? Who breathes with her, holds her hair back when she vomits, provides counter pressure in that exact spot in her back where she needs it, tells her with confidence how entirely amazing she is, while Dad is taking his much-needed break? The doula, another woman who understands what birth is about, has seen it many times before, and has a suitcase of tricks for making Mom more comfortable at her disposal, someone who will “mother the mother.” A skilled extra set of hands to fill in the gaps between Mom’s need for support and companionship, and Dad’s own, completely different needs.
And this role of professional labor support is certainly not to replace Dad- that’s impossible! No one in the birth room knows Mom better than her partner. No one can love her like he can. And Dad is to be honored in that role, and allowed to be fully devoted his attention to the role of loving her without the stress of not being able to figure out where that exact spot in her back is that she wants pressed so badly. He is able to care for his own important needs so Mom doesn’t need to be worrying about him as she works to give birth to their baby- we’ve all heard the stories of daddies passing out during delivery, and nobody needs to be worrying about that!
WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY ABOUT CHILDBIRTH & DOULA SUPPORT?
As a HypnoBirthing Childbirth Practitioner, I believe in the natural and physiological process of childbirth. What does that really look like? It means that I believe that a woman's body is so perfectly designed as to allow her to trust in her primal instincts and to tune into her inner birthing body to achieve birth without all of the fear, chaos and urgency that modern culture portrays this glorious experience to be. I believe that in a normal, healthy pregnancy, a baby can be born without much intervention from medical staff and this can be done in the most calm and gentle way. I believe that every family deserves continuous support throughout labor & delivery, as well as access to evidence-based information to make informed decisions with their consent. I am a doula because I love the birth process, but also because I believe families have the right to a supported birth experience, where they are an empowered part of the birthing team. As a doula, I do not make decisions for you. I am there to support you, emotionally and physically, and help you access information as needed. I view the advocacy portion of doula support as assisting each client to feel confident in making their voice heard throughout pregnancy and birth. There is not one way to have a good birth - there are many different paths to that destination!
HOW IS PAYMENT MADE?
Half of the package fee is required upon hiring and signing of the contract (which will be sent to you electronically). At that point, I am officially your Doula and am available for questions, guidance or just to lend a listening ear. The remainder of the Doula fee is to be paid in full by your 36th week. You can pay by credit card, Paypal, Cash App, Venmo or check. There is also a payment plan option available for you if you need accommodations.
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY DOULA GETS INJURED OR SICK?
In the very rare case that something comes up, I will have a back up doula available to support and take care of you.