The number of couples deciding to use a doula is growing by the day, but apprehension is still a common factor when it comes to deciding
Do I want a doula or not?
Do I want to pay the price it costs to reap the benefits of a doula?
Studies are indicating that more and more couples are desiring to opt for the extra support during the most important time of their lives
Just a few of those reasons being:
Doulas lower the risk of unnecessary intervention, lower the chances of having a bad experience and increase the opportunities for the families opinions to be heard.
If you do not already understand the amazing skill set of a doula and how they help expecting families, head over to my "Birth Doula" page and find out more about the wonderful things doulas bring to the table. ( or hospital! )
When talking to couples about why it is a good idea to look into how a doula can help you, I tend to get a lot of the same questions or responses. Here is where I would like to touch base on those common concerns.
" My mom/sister/friend/aunt/father/brother/cousin/best dog pal...... is planning on being in the room with me, she will be my comfort and help me get through my birth. Why would a doula be different" -
The number one thing to remember when planning who will be in the room for you birth is the EVERY PERSON in the room is considered an intervention. Caring as they may be, anyone in the room could bring a new set of boundaries to your birth. Can someone have a baby with their mom in the room? YES! Do they have to be 100% completely comfortable with her opinions on your choices, comfortable to let her see you naked, see you cry, or be as uninhibited as you choose to be? YES!!!
Birth is a very private event. Studies show that the same hormones and connections are happening as the event that resulted in getting pregnant in the first place. So it is very important that the people you choose to have in your room are good interventions. If you are worried about your decisions not being approved of by someone in the room, you may not be able to labor how you normally would without them.
Family and friends can provide amazing emotional support. They can encourage you and support your decisions in every way that they can. Most likely your helpful friend is not trained or has little to no experience in birthing situations. They most likely will not know what the hospitals policies are or what normal and abnormal is. They may not know the medical terms being used or what the natural process of labor is. Or what positions you could get in to help relieve your pain or discomfort.
They are emotionally involved in your birth and only want you to be okay and have the best outcome.
Which is wonderful, but a Doula is not emotionally involved like the people who love you.
Your loved ones want to fix whatever is ailing you. Therefore, they may try to convince you to make choices that you are trying to avoid or annoy you because they are in the corner wringing their hands and looking worried.
A doula knows that sometimes a woman needs to curse and cry and scream to get through labor. We see how powerful you are and know that you can do the hard work that labor is. We know that labor can be difficult and we know how to help you through those difficult moments. We have tools and experience to back us up when it comes to helping you push through when someone close to you may see it as not being able to handle it.
A doula will know when something is becoming too overwhelming and what you can do to try to get past it. They will know when your doctor or nurse is thinking that something is wrong and ways you may be able to not have an intervention happen. Your doula may see that your doctor is about to do something you may not want to happen and be able to help you ask the right questions to make sure it is medically necessary. A doula may know ways to avoid an intervention all together by position changes that normally would not be suggested, or see that you are just exhausting yourself by doing something a certain way and suggest that you try ways to help you get rest between contractions so that you are able to be as rested as possible. A doula also encourages the couple to work together when normally people are worried that a doula will take the place of a loved one or partner.
So in short. A loved one will hold your hand while you get a c section. A doula will do everything she can to try to reduce your risk of intervention with the training and tools she has experience with and help you have those difficult conversations with your provider.
"I trust that my doctor/nurse/midwife/medical team and they will help me" -
It is very important to have a team on your side that you trust. You chose your doctor because you believed that they had your best interested in mind and it is very important that you feel that they do every step of the way. Unfortunately, even your nurse will not be in the room with you the whole time. Their shift will eventually end and you will get a new amazing nurse that will also have other patients to care for. They will have a lot of medical stuff to do and will not be able to focus on you for long periods of time. Most nurses are amazing but some may not be a good fit. Over all your nurse is dedicated to making sure that both mom and baby are healthy. She is wanting you to have your baby the way that you want, but may make calls based on her protocols or accessibility that may not put you in the position that can help you get your baby out, but will help her to monitor the baby better. She is in direct contact with your doctor every step of the way relaying what your doctor wants when they are not in the room.. Your doctor will be in and out of the room depending on how many other patients they have, so you may not see them a lot or it may not be the doctor you wanted to be on call when you go into labor.
The one constant in the room is your doula. They may need to take a pee break or grab you some food, but they are there the whole time you want them to be.
In your pregnancy you can decide how you feel about certain things and know what you want to avoid, but during your birth decisions may need to be made on what to do, even if you wanted to avoid everything. Your doula can help you remember why you wanted to avoid those things but also help you to understand why your doctor may think it is necessary based on how your labor is going or to see things that could help you to avoid because she has been there the whole time and your doctor has not.
Your doctor may say that babies position is not quite optimal and then leave the room. It would be in that moment that your doula would start helping to you get in better positions to help encourage your baby to move into a better position. Your nurse needs to monitor the baby so she will offer suggestions based on that, but your doula will make suggestions based on optimal fetal positioning to help encourage your labor.
Doctors, Nurses, Midwives and Doulas are all apart of a team helping to take care of you. Your doula helps with emotional and physical support when needed. The other parts of your team make up the medical aspect of it. Sometimes there needs to be a discussion or a difficult decision made but we are all working together for the good of Mom and Baby.
The cost of having a doula varies widely here in Austin because of the different types of doulas you will find here.
Kinds of doulas:
Private doulas -
A private doula is someone who works alone with a selected one or two back up doulas for emergencies and limits the number of clients they take a month depending on their practice.
The reason they limit the number of clients they take is to avoid risking being at a birth when another client goes into labor and then having to use their back up doula instead of being available.
In this case.. you have 2 doulas that potentially could end up at your birth.
You get one on one support with someone you can bond with over the course of your pregnancy so that you know who will be there to support you in birth. Most people choose this option because their care provider could end up being anyone in their practice and they seek the stability of knowing who will be on their side. Private doulas do all the appointments with the clients and you get to know each other.
My practice size is limited to two clients a month so the risk of having to use my back up doula is very low. It is a good idea to ask the doulas that you are interviewing how many clients they take a month because each one has their own policies.
There are some doulas who charge specific fees for services and some doulas who charge a fee by the hour.
Consultations are always free.
Doula collectives -
There are also different types of collectives.
Some collectives are a just a group of private doulas who back each other up and you would choose an individual doula to be on call for you.
Other collectives work in an on call model that has a group of doulas who each take a different day of the week to be on call. You are able to choose one specific doula to work with for an extra charge.
Some may have a mix of experienced and newer doulas alike and all have different, but similar ways of practicing.
If you were to choose the on call model, the doula who is on call is the one who comes to you in labor. Each appointment during the pregnancy is done with a different doula so that you are able to at least meet a couple of them before you go into labor, but it does not guarantee that you will have met the doula who attends your birth.
Doula Association -
A doula association is a place where doulas can find support for each other, they all collectively agree to abide by the same practice philosophy to care for their client. You can find a large selection of doulas here to research each individual one to find your fit.
Events hosted by the association gives clients a chance to view meet many different doulas and attend free information sessions or classes.
Doulas in the association will work privately or with a collective.
Every doula or doula collective charges based on their own reasons.
Each deserving their weight in gold for the caring and nurturing work they are doing.
Some doulas charge based on their experience, some doulas offer specialty services as well as regular labor support. You can contact each doula to find their prices or look on their websites.
It is always a good idea to interview a few doulas to find the right fit for you.
**Read our blog post on questions you can ask during your consultations!**
There is a doula for every budget, but hiring based on connection is always recommended.
Most doulas offer payment options and will work with you in whatever way you need to make sure you get the support you need and not break your bank account.
I require 50% upfront payment and the remaining balance can be paid over time depending on your budget and the remaining balance needs to be paid before 34 weeks of pregnancy. I also offer a discount for paying the total balance at once.
Some doulas offer individual services and some offer them as a package. Most will be easy to customize for your needs.
On average you will find the price of doula care to be between $500-$1000
and more specialized care to be between $900 - $1800 depending on what kind of support you are looking for.
We have such a great community of doulas in Austin.
There is always someone available for every couple.
It is never to late to find a doula!
Some book up months in advance and some will be available to take last minute clients.