FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
for birth support
WHAT IS A DOULA?
Doulas are known around the world for assisting laboring and postpartum moms through this huge transition in life. The word 'Doula' comes from the Greek word doúlos, meaning "woman servant". They are highly educated and trained to continuously offer one-on-one care, as well as non-judgemental information, emotional support, evidence-based education, and practical hands-on support immediately through the first year.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A BIRTH DOULA?
They are to help women have a safe, memorable, and empowering birthing experience. Research shows that women who use birth doula are:
more likely to have a shorter labor
less likely to use medical pain relief
less likely to have an assisted birth
less likely to need a cesarean
less likely to have a baby with a low APGAR score
more likely to be satisfied with how your labor went
WHY SHOULD I HIRE A DOULA?
Why not?!? I can be so helpful in so many aspects of pregnancy, labor/delivery, and during the postpartum stages. By hiring me, a doula who was trained by DONA International with a background in Integrative Health, you will feel safe, supported, and confident. I have been professionally trained to tune in to your needs, create the most optimal environment, and continuously support you for your best possible birth and maternity leave.
Doulas are an under-utilized resource, according to ACOG! A recent joint statement released on March 2014 from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) set forth new guidelines designed to prevent primary cesareans. Here are a few highlights:
“Increasing women’s access to non-medical interventions during labor, such as continuous labor and delivery support, has been shown to reduce cesarean birth rates.”
“Published data indicate that one of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes is the continuous presence of support personnel, such as a doula.”
“… the presence of continuous one-on-one support during labor and delivery was associated with improved patient satisfaction and a statistically significant reduction in the rate of cesarean delivery.”
ARE DOULAS IN HIGH DEMAND?
Demand for doulas is high, particularly since the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that every birthing woman should have a doula. Doulas have a special skill set and invest a lot of time into each of their clients.
ISN'T HAVING A DOULA A "HIPPIE" THING TO DO?
Absolutely not. Our society has a funny way of labeling ourselves as this or that, but I don't believe in separating people into categories. I accept all mothers wanting to mother. “Hippie” or “non-hippie”, doesn’t matter to me.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING ONE OF YOUR PRENATAL HOME VISIT?
During our prenatal visits, we will work together to address your wishes, needs, questions, and dreams. In addition to our conversations, we may decide to practice a variety of tools such as learning comfort measures, positions for labor and birth, pain-coping practices, baby positioning, visualizations, breathing techniques, preparing for unwished-for events, how to make decisions about interventions, and more.
MY PARTNER WANTS TO BE INVOLVED, WOULD YOUR PRESENCE INTERFERE WITH THEIR LEVEL OF INVOLVEMENT?
Absolutely not. Let's take a moment and recognize that your partner has a strong desire to help, to participate, to feel useful and active throughout the entire journey. But, when two people share an emotional bond and an ongoing relationship, it is very difficult for that companion to remain continuously objective, calm, and removed to some degree from your discomfort and fears, or any danger.
Your partner will benefit from my presence as I will assist them in supporting you during labor and throughout the first 6 weeks postpartum. I may suggest positions, pain-coping practices, or comfort measures such as massage. I may offer breathing techniques, encouragement and a shoulder to lean on. My approach isn't to overshadow, but to enhance the moment. Most partners express their gratitude for the chance to step away, take a break to reenergize, without leaving you alone with no support.
DO I HAVE TO BIRTH AT HOME IN ORDER TO HIRE YOU?
Not at all. You can birth in a hospital, birthing center, or at home. Your birth, your decision.
I WANT AN EPIDURAL, WILL YOU STILL BE HELPFUL?
Absolutely, even with epidurals, complete pain relief is not a guarantee. With or without an epidural, tools to cope and relaxation techniques from a professionally trained doula as myself can help with the discomforts of labor.
DOES A DOULA PROVIDE MEDICAL SERVICES OR DELIVERS MY BABY?
No. The ones that spent many years in medical school are the ones providing medical care. As a doula, I focus my attention on non-medical essentials -- emotional support, physical comfort, self-care, infant care, evidence-based informational support, partner/father support, household organization, advocacy, and referrals.
HOW DOES A DOULA INTERACT WITH CAREGIVER AND THEIR TEAM?
A doula fills a missing gap for the woman. As a doula becomes known and trusted in-home, birth center, hospital births, the staff or midwife sees her as a member of the team helping the mother with support services.
I HAVE FOUND DOULA PRICES LOWER THAN YOURS, WHY IS THAT?
I have been a doula since January 2019 and have already been professionally trained by DONA International, Spinning Babies, Ayurveda Mamas, and Birthing from Within, to name a few. I am committed to providing quality care and furthering my education in the field.
Unfortunately, the Doula profession is not regulated by a state regulatory agency, which means that the profession of doulas is very much the “Wild West”. You might see that some doulas hold a Certification and some do not. Please be aware that anybody can create a Certifying Body and award Certifications. This does not guarantee professionalism, skill, or experience.
This makes it very challenging for a family to find a good doula. Here are some tips to help you on your journey.
Does your doula present herself in a professional manner?
Ask her how many births she has attended.
Ask her how long she has been practicing as a doula.
Ask her what training she has received.
Ask, what is your relationship with my hospital and the nurse staff?
Ask, who her back-up is? And when you will meet her?
Ask, what happens if she is suddenly unable to attend your birth?
Ask, whom do I call if I am in labor and I cannot reach you?
WHAT GOES INTO MY FEES?
Soul Inspired Wellness offers this information so that you'll have a good idea of the return on your investment.
Most first labors last 12-24 hours; some can last as long as 40 or more. The average time a doula spends with a pregnant person during their labor is 15 hours. On average, I spend on average 5 hours in prenatal meetings and 4 more in our postpartum meeting. Phone calls, individual research, and responding to e-mails are another 4-6 hours for each client.
When I make a commitment to be available to attend a birth, I limit the number of clients I put on my calendar to avoid birth conflicts and ensure that I am fully rested when you do go into labor. Right now, I schedule four birth clients per month and squeeze 2-3 postpartum clients per month. When I put your due date on my calendar, I commit to being available two weeks before and two weeks after your "estimated due date".
The rule of thumb is that a self-employed professional's income is half of what they earn, after deductions for sick time, self-employment taxes, health insurance, holidays, and business expenses. Communication expenses are high for a doula, such as cell phones so I am always reachable, the maintenance of this website, and a computer with a solid internet connection. I also have routine professional and office expenses, childcare costs, and unusual transportation expenses. In addition, there are supplies I bring to your birth and give you appointments and interviews.
TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE
It is crucial and in your best interest for me to keep up with all of the most current information. In order to attend conferences and training opportunities, I often have to limit the number of clients I can accept around the time I will be unavailable, thereby reducing the number of clients I can work with each year. There is also the cost of those trainings.
I JUST LOVE THIS WORK!
Being on-call requires a high level of personal commitment, including a willingness to be awakened after half an hour of sleep to attend a labor for the next 40 hours. Just to give you an idea - personal family events are missed or interrupted for births. When I attend parties, I will forgo that glass of wine. I cannot take spontaneous weekend trips away, and day-trips have to be judiciously chosen with access to cell service always in mind.
I believe that every doula should be able to make a living and support their family. I believe I offer my services at a reasonable rate when you understand what you are receiving. If you need free or reduced rate doula services, there are ways I can help you find that doula. Please protect our profession by making labor support a valued, competitively paid profession that can attract and keep talented, skilled individuals!
I WANT A DOULA, WHEN SHOULD I SET UP AN APPOINTMENT TO MEET YOU?
Ideally, when you are about 24-28 weeks pregnant, but the sooner the better as I only take 4 birth support clients a month. If you are near and counting down the days, please still reach out as birth is unpredictable and I may have room for one more client. Click here it schedule your Introductory Call.
DO YOU TAKE INSURANCE/MEDICAID?
There are over a quarter of insurance companies that have begun paying for childbirth education, birth doula, and postpartum doula services. You will have to call your insurance company to see if you can participate. And if they do you will have to find out if they'll cover all the expenses or just part of it. That really depends on your insurance plan. Sometimes certain insurances allow you to pay with an HSA/FSA account. (Check with your carrier/or HR department to verify.)
There is a special CPT code (CPT stands for Current Procedural Terminology, and is a copyright of the American Medical Association) covering doula services. Here is the special CPT code:
Birth Doula (99499) for Evaluation and Management Services/Labor Support.
Postpartum Doula Services (99501 and/or 99502).
When you meet with Brooke she can offer direction in requesting Insurance Reimbursement for Doula Services
DO YOU OFFER A PAYMENT PLAN?
Yes! We can create individual payment plans based on your needs and when you hire the doula/reiki therapist. Unfortunately, we cannot offer payment plans for clients who come late to care (after 36 weeks).
DO YOU HAVE A BACKUP AND/OR REFUND POLICY IF YOU MISS MY BIRTH OR IN-HOME SESSION?
Yes, my refund and backup policies are clearly outlined in my contracts, which I am happy to discuss with you further during your discovery call.