How much do birth and postpartum doulas charge for their services? The answer to this question typically revolves around the doula's experience and location. Postpartum doulas typically charge around $25 dollars an hour for their services; however, those who are still working towards certification may charge a lesser amount. Some birth doulas offer free services, whereas others may charge up to $1,000 dollars per birth.
Does the birth doula replace the nursing staff? No. Doulas do not perform clinical or medical tasks such as taking blood pressure or temperature, monitoring fetal heart rate, doing vaginal examinations or providing postpartum clinical care. Doulas do, however, provide support by suggesting comfort measures and techniques that alleviate the mother's discomfort. They also enhance communication during labor and birth between the mother and medical professionals.
Does the birth doula replace my partner? No. The doula supports not only the laboring mother, but her partner as well. Rather than replacing the mother's partner, the birth doula encourages the partner to get as involved as he/she would like. The doula educates the partner about labor and birth, provides reassurance of normalcy and adequacy, brings forth her insight from previous experiences, and aids communication among those involved with the birth. She also provides an extra set of helping hands and may suggest various comfort measures and positions that the mother and her partner can use during the labor and birth experience.
How long will my family need a postpartum doula's assistance? Postpartum needs can vary greatly between families. Are you expecting multiples? Is this your first child or your second? Do you have family and friends that are able to help out during the first few weeks after the birth? Everyone experiences the postpartum period differently. Some families may only need assistance 2 days a week for 3 weeks after the birth whereas other families may request 24 hour care for 8 weeks.
Remember that nothing is necessarily "set in stone." If you initially decide you need a postpartum doula for 2 months and realize you can take care of things on your own after 1 month, do not hesitate to let your doula know. The postpartum doula's goal is to help ease the mother and her parter into their new roles as parents. As this goal is met, the parents' need for extra support will disappear and the doula's services will no longer be needed. On the other hand, you may find yourself on the other end of the spectrum: You may originally think you only need a postpartum doula's help for the first week after the birth. If the first week is nearing its end and you still feel that you need assistance, please talk to your doula. If she cannot assist your family because of other obligations, she will find another doula who can.
How can I become a doula? Visit DONA's website to further research the prerequisites and materials needed to become a doula. DONA provides a list of training workshops being held all over the US. Talk with other local doulas in your area as well. Both actions will help you get a better idea of the doula's scope of practice as well as the demand for doulas in your community.
Questions? If you have any questions about birth or postpartum work, feel free to contact me at Blissful.Transition@gmail.com.