What is a doula?
The birth doula is a non-medical member of the birth team who provides prenatal education and support. Birth doulas help women and families navigate the maternity care system and develop a birth vision. They stay with the woman during labor and birth.
The postpartum doula mothers the mother after birth, providing physical and emotional comfort. She takes care of household tasks, helps with breastfeeding, and encourages the new mother.
WHAT SERVICES DO DOULAS PROVIDE?
Services for birth doulas vary widely. Usually, they meet with a client 2-3 times before birth, are with their client through labor and birth, and stay until breastfeeding is initiated. There is typically one follow-up visit.
Postpartum doulas focus on what is needed after birth. The primary focus is on the MotherBaby couple, supporting the bonding process, and breastfeeding. Postpartum doulas can also help with other siblings, run errands, and prepare meals.
Encouragement is a key role.
IS THERE TRAINING FOR DOULAS?
Training for doulas, both birth and postpartum, varies widely. Typically, there is an in person or online class, reading, and sometimes a test. For doulas that want to be certified, there are often additional requirements.
WHAT SHOULD I ASK A DOULA BEFORE HIRING?
It is a good idea to ask your potential doula what her philosophy is about childbirth and mothering to see if this matches with yours. Ask about training, and availability, and background. Discuss your anticipated needs, and make sure she is available in and around your estimated due date. Mainly, you want to feel comfortable with your doula, and trust her capability to serve you.
ARE DOULA SERVICES COVERED BY INSURANCE?
There is coverage by some insurance companies, though this is still not widespread. Medicaid is covering doula services, both birth and postpartum, in some states. You will have to ask your insurance company about this, and what the requirements are.
HOW MUCH DOES A DOULA COST?
Cost for doula services varies widely. If you live in a more rural area, the fees for birth doula services and postpartum doula services are generally much lower than in the bigger cities. Birth doula fees can be as low as $400 and as high as $5,000. For postpartum doula services the cost can be anywhere from $25 – $100 per hour. Ask doulas in your area.
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