Doula/Birth Assistant Services
What is a Doula?
Doula is a Greek word that actually means "woman's servant". Throughout history, women have been supporting other women during childbirth. These women provide emotional support and hands-on comfort. They educate, assist, and respect laboring women. Doulas help women to trust their bodies and feelings, and empower themselves to make their own decisions. Doulas do not take the place of the husband, mother, friend, or other labor coach, but enhance the relationship amongst them. Overall, doulas help to make women's birthing experiences the best they can be.
What does a Doula Do?
Before the Birth- She meets with you prenatally in the second or third trimester. She gets acquainted with you and your birth team and discuss this pregnancy and prior experiences. She assists you in developing a birth plan based on your individual needs and expectations. She may go over a variety of relaxation, visualization, breathing, and positioning techniques that may be useful in your labor.
During Labor & Birth-
Doulas help you to differentiate prelabor from true labor and early labor from active labor. When you determine that your doula is needed, she will meet you at your home or the hospital and assist you by:
Helping you to relax.
Providing support for your partner.
Encouraging nutrition and fluids in early labor.
Using a variety of helpful positions and comfort measures. Constantly focusing on the comfort of both you and your birth team.
Keeping your environment encouraging and secure.
Providing you with information on birth options.
Helping you to communicate effectively with your healthcare team through informed consent.
After the Birth-
Your doula will assist you with initial breastfeeding, preserve your privacy, and support your new family immediately after the birth. Most doulas provide at least 1 postpartum visit to go over the birth, breastfeeding, and normal postpartum changes.
Do I really need a Doula?
Nearly all families will benefit from the services a doula provides. You can birth without a doula, but a doula will usually make your birth a more positive and informed experience.
What about my partner or family, won?t they feel left out?
Absolutely not! The doula is part of your birth team and helps your partner and family get more involved. She helps them understand your needs and support them in making the experience just as valuable to them as it is to you. Doulas also help to relieve some of their anxieties and give them a break when they need it.
How much do doulas cost?
Experienced doulas usually charge between $300-$1000. Cost is usually associated with the amount of experience the doula has and what services she provides. Most doulas will arrange payment plans or a sliding scale for those that need it. Some doulas in training will attend births for a small fee or in exchange to pictures and evaluations for her portfolio. Insurance does not typically cover doulas, but invoices should be sent in case they offer reimbursement.