“Doulas offer one of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes.”
- American Congress of Obstetrics & Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine
frequently asked questions.
What is a Doula?
A labor doula supports a woman and her partner during pregnancy, birth and the early hours of parenting. The doula is by the mother's side during her labor and/or shortly after she gives birth, focused solely on the mother and her partner. In labor, she is there to support, affirm and educate. She helps the laboring couple stay connected to their birth and assists the partner in supporting the mother. She provides knowledge, comfort measures and breathing techniques as well as suggestions for position changes to ease the discomfort of labor. The doula also provides educational information to help expectant parents communicate their expectations more effectively to their caregivers.
Won’t my OB/ Nurse/ Midwife provide that type of support?
Your carefully chosen care provider is an integral part of your birth. You are not, however, their only patient. Your nurse, ob or midwife will be balancing your care with many others within your birth setting and will not be a consistent presence during your labor. A doula is a constant, continuous support member of your birthing team, contracted to you and your partner, for the duration of your labor experience. The steady, consistent care a doula provides is a great reassurance and assistance to families during such an important process.
Is a doula the same as an OB or midwife?
The scope of a doula encompasses providing physical, informational, and emotional support to families prior to and during the labor process. However, we are not medical providers and do not replace the care your chosen physician provides in your labor and pregnancy. We do not perform cervical exams, blood pressure checks, or anything that would step outside of the specific role provided and described above.
Can my partner be my doula?
Your partner is very connected to your birthing process. However, he/she is also emotionally connected to the birthing experience of their baby and may need additional support. Doulas assist partners in having the birth experience they desire as well, whether that includes verbal encouragement, allowing a partner to get a much-needed nap or meal, or assisting with physical comfort measures during the labor process. Often partners are a major benefactor of doula support in the labor setting as a doula helps them to enjoy the birth of their baby as well!
What if I am planning an epidural or caesarean?
Does insurance cover doula services?
At this time, doulas are considered out of network with many insurance providers. However, I strongly encourage you to submit your receipts for this out-of-pocket investment to your provider, as many find success with partial or full reimbursement from some insurance companies. If you are a flex spend account holder, you may use your HSA/FSA card to pay for doula services in full.
Do you carry insurance? How are doulas regulated and certified?
I am insured and protected, as well as credited with a reputable, local certifying organization. This allows me to ensure the highest quality of support to families during their time with me, and to apply my standards to excellence to every mama and family.
What if I am giving birth in a Hospital, Birth Center, or at Home? Do you only attend certain locations?
Birth Doulas provide exceptional labor support in any setting. Their primary focus is to provide continuous support for you. While your OB or Midwife charts, checks on other patients, rests as needed, and prepares for the delivery; your Doula will stay focused on your mental and emotional state as well as your physical comfort the whole way through where ever you plan to give birth or if the location has to change.
Where does the word “doula” come from?
From Ancient Greek, the word “doula” means “Woman’s servant.” Women have supported other women through labor and birth, giving back rubs and providing continuous emotional support, throughout history and all over the world today. Birth doulas, as they have in centuries past, know how to help a woman in labor feel better.
What effects does the presence of a doula have on the mother and baby?
Studies have shown that when a doula is present during and after childbirth, women report greater satisfaction with their birth experience, make more positive assessments of their babies, have fewer cesareans, less requests for medical intervention, and less postpartum depression. Check out Evidence Based Births research analysis of doula support at: https://evidencebasedbirth.com/the-evidence-for-doulas/
How does a doula nurture the parents into their roles?
Self-confidence has a tremendous impact on a person’s ability to approach any task, and parenting is no different. Doulas are taught to always consider parents’ feelings and always build confidence whenever possible. Doulas accomplish this through praise, acceptance, and a non-judgmental approach. In addition, the doula will teach parents strategies and skills that will improve their ability to bond with their babies. A calm baby who is growing well will help parents to feel more confident in their skills.
What happens if my Doula gets injured or sick?
As doulas, it is important to also support each other. I will have a back-up Doula arranged, whom you will meet prior to giving birth, that can assist if I am unavailable for some unforeseen reason. This rarely happens, but you can trust that I have a system in place to ensure you have your needs met no matter what arises.
How do I select my Doula?
Hiring someone to be there at the birth of your child is a very personal experience. Meet and interview many different people and then follow your instinct. Who did you have the best connection with? Who did you feel most heard and supported by? Whose personality did you and your partner most enjoy? Who offered the skills and tools that sounded most beneficial to you? Who brought you the most comfort?