For as long as people have been giving birth, there have been doulas. The name has not always been the same over time, but the role has been similar throughout:
A doula is a personal guide for the powerful, emotional, blissful, and sometimes painful experience of birth.
As women of the 21st century are taking control of their births more than ever before, doulas are becoming more of an expected part of a birth plan.
But why does a doula cost so much? It’s hard to put a price on the amount of knowledge, experience, and emotional energy a person brings. But when you hire a doula you’re getting someone who is far more than just a person at your birth cheering you on.
What does a doula actually do?
- They form a relationship with the mom and partner (and other family members) throughout pregnancy. In creating a long standing relationship, doulas are able to know how to best care for each of the families they’re serving. Doulas can answer questions about pregnancy and birth, and help lessen the anxiety over the unknowns for many first-time moms. This relationship allows the mom and partner to feel much more comfortable throughout the end of pregnancy and birth.
- They know the birth plan and birth wishes of the parents. This is helpful during birth when the parents face unplanned questions and scenarios where they need to make decisions. A doula can help them make the choices that will closely align with their birth plan, and will clearly outline implications for each choice in a calm, unbiased way.
- They know hospital policies, OB’s, midwives, and how the systems typically work. Doulas are in and out of hospitals, homebirth situations, and have likely dealt with the midwives and OB’s in a certain area on multiple occasions. Especially if a mom is giving birth for the first time, the hospital experience can be an overwhelming one (on top of trying to breathe through contractions). Having a doula can help parents navigate the hospital system, which will help them stay more calm and allow for more thoughtful decision making.
- They know how to get the partner involved. Especially when people go into birth as a couple, it can be hard for the non-birthing partner to watch and experience this real-time transformation of the person they love. All at once they can see how physical, emotional, and at times spiritual the birth process is. For some partners, the instinct to jump in and be part of birth comes naturally. But for others, they need guidance and sometimes an invitation. A doula can help. By providing guidance to both parents, a doula creates an atmosphere where the partner witnessing birth can support their partner in birth in the best way for both of them.
- They are not afraid to advocate, loudly. Because doulas are hired by the family giving birth, they aren’t held to the policies and procedures of hospitals. Doulas are at births to support the mom, the partner, and the birth experience, not the OB or midwife. Doulas will fiercely advocate, without fear or apology. This is a helpful addition to your birth team especially in the throes of labor where it gets hard to make decisions or talk. Having a doula will ensure that your birth will match your birth plan as closely as possible.
- They bring the birth tools and know the spot to press on the hips. Doulas typically arrive at a birth with a bunch of items to make labor and birth feel a little better. With robozos, peanut balls, bands, and more– they are professionals at making a mom feel as comfortable as possible during labor and delivery. Doulas are also trained to know some of the best spots to press on, rub, or squeeze during different points of labor to ease pressure and help with the birth experience.
- They are non-judgmental of how and where you birth. Doulas are often associated with homebirths or unmedicated births. But in reality, doulas are for any kind of birth. Talk to any experienced doula and you’ll see that she’s attended homebirths, unmedicated hospital births, births with planned epidurals, emergency cesarean births, and planned cesarean births. It absolutely does not matter where you give birth or how you give birth, you deserve a support person by your side the entire time. Doulas understand that your choices around your birth are YOUR choices, and will respect that boundary. They want you to know your options and how to navigate each of them.
- They are multi-talented and multi-passionate. Doulas have been known to take birth photos, make art out of placentas, bring essential oils, have birth playlists ready, and so much more.
Depending on your location, a doula might cost anywhere from $850-$3000. And for the most part they have similar deliverables, but you’ll have to ask some questions and “shop” to make sure you’re getting a doula who aligns with your needs, values, and personality. If you want some guidance on asking those questions, check out this post. Hiring someone for a few grand can feel like a lot, and doulas aren’t typically covered by insurance, so they’re an out of pocket cost. We want all moms and their partners to have a support person like a doula present during birth. With the BeHerVillage registry, moms can put a doula on their wish list, and just like family and friends might contribute to a stroller, crib, or any other baby item– now they can contribute funds to help cover the cost of support providers like a doula. This way your doula is paid for and the gift-givers will know that they contributed to a really meaningful gift.
BeHerVillage is helping parents like you get the funds they need for the support they deserve! Are you having a baby and are looking for support? Create a registry for support today and get gifted funds directly into your bank account to pay for your support team. You deserve this.
Are you a birthworker who supports new moms? Use BeHerVillage to help your clients pay for your support. Create your free profile here and you can be the best baby shower gift a mom will ever get!