Frequently Asked Questions

What do doulas do?

Doulas support families in the childbearing year; during pregnancy, labor/birth, and the postpartum period (after baby joins the family).

Birth doulas are trained to understand the normal process of labor and birth. A doula provides informational and emotional support, re-assuring both the woman and her support person.  A doula helps a woman cope with labor by helping with relaxation and breathing techniques, and offering suggestions for positions and other comfort measures. Birth doulas help women understand what is happening and her options during her birth.

Postpartum doulas are trained to assist in the period following the birth, providing education and non-judgmental support to help facilitate the transition to parenthood. Doulas may also provide hands on support with newborn care and feeding, meal preparation, household tasks, and care for older siblings so that a mother may rest and take care of herself.

Will the presence of a doula make my partner or family feel excluded?

Doulas are trained professionals who assist the family with evidence-based knowledge, experience and non-judgmental support. They do not replace your partner or family, instead they work as a team with your chosen support system.

Do doulas replace medical professionals?

The support from a doula is different from the care provided by a doctor, nurse, baby nurse or midwife. Doulas offer non-clinical support and care during pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum. Doulas do not do physical exams, perform medical tasks, nor asses vital sign of mother or baby.  If medical interventions become necessary, a doula can help a woman get the information she needs to make informed choices for her birth or baby.  A doula does not make decisions for clients nor intervene in their clinical care. 


More Birth Doula Faqs

 

Are doulas only for women who are planning a natural birth? 

No- A doula offers physical comfort and emotional reassurance regardless of a woman's plan for pain medication. Doulas also offer informational support which can help a woman make decisions that are right for her birth.

What sort of training or qualifications do birth doulas have? 
There are many organizations who train and certify doulas. Birth doulas are trained in the normal process of birth, comfort measures for labor, and supporting the emotional needs of a laboring woman and her partner. Most will also have recent and evidence based information about choices in childbirth and basic breastfeeding.

How much does a birth doula cost?

There is a doula for every budget! Birth doulas generally offer their services in a “package” which includes prenatal meetings, the actual labor and birth, and postpartum follow up visits, all for one fee. In Austin, the average rate is $1000 with fees typically starting at $700 and going up to $1,500. When interviewing doulas, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask a doula for her fee as well as when and how she expects payment. Many doulas will offer payment plans or a sliding scale fee. For those families truly "in need" Giving Austin Labor Support is a community resource.

What are Benefits to having a birth doula?

Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula's presence at birth:

  • tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complication
  • increases satisfaction with one’s childbirth experience
  • reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction
  • reduces the requests for pain medication and epidurals, as well as the incidence of cesarean sections

In addition, long-term benefits of labor support include:

  • Improved breastfeeding
  • Decreased postpartum depression
  • Greater maternal satisfaction
  • Better mother-infant interaction

Source: Continuous support for women during childbirth. Hodnett et al (Cochrane review) 2012

 

More postpartum doula faqs

 

Are postpartum doulas only for moms who have postpartum depression?

No- Postpartum doulas support all families who are bringing home a newborn and would like information and support with feeding, sleep, newborn care, family and sibling adjustments, emotional and physical recovery from birth, and managing the home. 

Do postpartum doulas work days or nights?

Both! Daytime doulas offer emotional, informational and physical support with breastfeeding, newborn care and sibling adjustment as well as assisting with light housekeeping tasks such as simple meal preparation and laundry, to allow the mother to rest or take care of herself. Overnight doulas focus on caring for the baby, allowing the mother to get much needed sleep while supporting breastfeeding and helping the family learn healthy sleep habits. 

What sort of training or qualifications do postpartum doulas have?

There are many organizations who train and certify doulas. Postpartum doulas have specialized training in breastfeeding and newborn care as well as the emotional needs of the mother during the postpartum period, including helping the family recognize signs of postpartum mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. 

How much does a postpartum doula cost?

Postpartum doula fees vary based on the experience/training of the doula, and number of babies to be cared for. Typical fees in Austin range from $20-35/hr. Some doulas offer reduced rates/sliding scale fees for families in need.  If you are in need and cannot afford the going rate,  please put in a special request.

What are the benefits of having a postpartum doula?

Research of existing literature, shows that women who are properly supported during the postpartum period experience

  • bond better with their babies
  • improved breastfeeding success
  • greater self-confidence
  • fewer cases of postpartum depression
  • a lower incidence of abuse

Source: DONA International Position Paper on “The Postpartum Doula’s Role in Maternity Care”, 2002, 2006