What exactly is a Doula? | The benefits and purpose of hiring a Doula
A Guest Post by: Haley Nicole
What exactly is a doula?
A doula can be defined as a role of someone that provides labor support before, during
and after birth. With the use of non-medical and holistic care to the childbearing family,
a birth doula helps by providing information to plan care during birth. The support of a
doula minimizes emotional and physical stress, while facilitating normal physiologic
labor. As a doula, my role in childbirth is to make sure that the pregnant or laboring
woman’s needs are at the center of all care.
What do doulas do during labor?
The main role of a doula during labor is to empower the mother and provide emotional
support. In addition, a doula also assist with non-medical pain relief methods. A few
examples would be breathing techniques, counter pressure, acupressure, hip squeezing
and massage. These techniques can minimize the pain associated with contractions
How do doulas support women that need c-sections?
In the event of a cesarean section, either emergency or planned: I personally offer as
much support as the medical staff will let me. If the cesarean birth is scheduled, I meet
the client at the hospital at their scheduled time. I offer emotional and breastfeeding
support after the birth if desired. I also assist their partner by helping them bond with the
baby while the mother is in recovery. If I am not allowed to be present during the
cesarean due to emergency, policy, etc. I join after the birth as soon as allowed.
Why should you hire a doula?
A doula should be hired if you feel the need to have additional support while pregnant,
laboring and postpartum. I often get hired when a pregnant woman would like their
partner to be more comfortable supporting them. As a doula, it is my job to prepare
everyone that will be in the room during labor. I make it my goal to ensure each person
involved is comfortable and educated on childbirth and providing support.
How does one find a doula?
My biggest suggestion would be to look on local Facebook groups to find doulas in your
area. It is awesome to find personal suggestions and read reviews that way. Another
option is to use https://doulamatch.net
What special training does a doula have?
There are technically no formal requirements for calling oneself a doula. However, many
doulas choose to get certified by organizations that oversee training programs. Most
doulas have received training on the birthing process and/or postpartum period and
have met the requirements of a rigorous certification program. Attending live births is
generally requirement of these programs. I personally received my certification through
New Beginnings Doula Training.
Does a doula assist the doctor or midwife?
As a doula it is extremely important for me to respect the different roles of each member
of the birthing team that I get the pleasure of working with. Effective communication is a
key strategy that utilized in this field. A doula does not perform any medical or clinical
tasks, but does ensure that the clients needs are effectively communicated to the entire
care team. Client advocacy is another key role of a doula.
Do doulas only assist during labor, or are they available during pregnancy and postpartum?
There are some doulas that cover pregnancy, labor and the postpartum period. From
the moment you hire these doulas they are there for you. You can also just hire doulas
for the individual stages.
What is a virtual doula?
During my own pregnancy, I started providing virtual doula services. This option is
perfect for someone that already has the support role filled, but wants additional
education and support. With the use of phone calls, texting or FaceTime, I prepare both
the mother and partner for their birthing journey. The image below covers my overall
virtual doula services. I also offer virtual postpartum support to those that only need
support after birth. This includes support with your physical and emotional recovery, tips with infant feeding,
infant sleep and overall care, bonding with baby and overall family adjustment. Virtual doulas are
ongoing support at your fingertips.
Does insurance cover doula? How much do they cost?
Some insurances cover doulas. The cost of a doula varies by region, but a birth doula
can can range from $500 to $2,500. Virtual services are much cheaper and are either
flat rates or monthly payments depending on how long you wish to have the additional
What questions should a mom ask when interviewing a doula?
Common questions I have been asked include:
1. What made you want to be a doula?
2. How will you support me during labor?
3. How would you describe yourself as a doula?
4. How do you plan to support my partner in this process?
5. What is included in your fees?
6. What is the plan if you can’t come when I need you?
Questions to ask yourself after the interview:
1. How do you feel about this person being a part of your birth or postpartum
2. Does your partner feel good about this doula?
3. Are you looking forward to having this person be there for you when you need
4. Do you feel you will be well supported and not judged?
If you have any other questions or are interested in learning more about my virtual doula
services, my email is email@example.com
Haley is a mom of two wildlings. Grayson, is two years old and Blakely is 3 months old.
Haley has been a doula for 2 years. In addition to
helping mommas out with their birthing journey, Haley also empowers her online
community by providing positive affirmations and creating a safe place to express the
struggles of motherhood. On her blog she also
shares traveling adventures, toddler learning and endless pictures of her tribe.