1.What does a doula do?
A birth doula, also called a labor doula, is a non-medical professional who supports a birthing person during their labor and birth. Prior to labor, in order to offer optimal support a doula will typically offer 1-3 meetings, called “prenatal visits” with you. During prenatal visits, you and your doula discuss your birth plan, your values and priorities, and any relevant medical concerns, so your doula can learn how to best support you. During labor and delivery, doulas offer continuous physical, emotional, mental, and informational support—tailored to your needs. A doula will stay with you 1-5 hours post birth and offer additional support as needed.
2. Who can be a doula?
Men and women can both be doulas, but they are most typically women. You’ll find doulas of all ages, some with no children, some with great-grandchildren! Many doulas choose to go through training and obtain a certification and others do not. There are many certification routes to take; I personally was drawn to the culture and philosophy of DONA International so I trained through them. I am passionate about aligning myself with a long-standing training organization.
3. Can a doula go with me to my home, hospital or birth center?
Absolutely! The benefit of a Doula being a non-medical professional is that most doulas work for you, and not a particular hospital or birth center. Doulas go to where YOU are birthing! As a doula I have attended births in all of these places. However, in my experience most hospital policies state that only one support person is permitted back in the operating room (such as during a C-section). Depending on the situation your doula may or may not be allowed in the operating room. If your doula is not permitted in the operating room they often extend support prior and immediately after. However, sometimes Doulas ARE allowed back in OR. I personally have attended a birth in the operating room.
4. When is it too late to hire a doula?
It is never too late to hire a doula! The only issue that you might run into is your doula being booked-up. Most doulas take 1-5 clients a month, so hiring a doula sooner rather than later in your pregnancy is ideal, but not mandatory.
5. Why do I need a doula?
Everyone can benefit from the support of a doula. No matter how or where you plan on birthing. Doulas teach and aid with coping tools, share empowering information and are able to help you advocate for yourself and your needs. People often ask, “I have a supportive partner, do I still need a doula?” YES! A supportive partner is one person with one body and two hands, who also needs support. Supportive partners often find the presence of a doula to be invaluable as it enables both you and your partner to be present to each other during the birthing experience.
6. How much does a doula cost?
Doula fees range anywhere between pro-bono to $2,000. This is often a reflection of their experience and education—but not always. What I've noticed is, the average fee in my state of North Carolina is around $900. Because my personal mission is centered on community service, I like to make my services as affordable and accessible as possible. I never want someone to NOT hire a doula because they feel like they can’t afford one. I offer a sliding scale for families in need, and a payment plan is always an option.
7. How do I hire a doula?
It’s easy to hire a doula. I suggest first asking your midwife or doctor for recommendations. DoulaMatch.Net is another great way to find doulas in your area. It is essential that you find the right doula for you so interviewing a few can prove to be very beneficial. If you feel like you are in a pinch for time, most doulas are happy to do an initial interview over FaceTime or Skype—that way you are able to meet multiple doulas in a shorter amount of time. If you are looking for a doula in Kitsap County, Washington State, I would love to set up a free consultation and meet you!