Why would you consider hiring a doula? Additional costs and a more crowded birthing room… Aren’t midwives, doctor, nurses and a partner more than enough?
Well, not necessarily. Some women actually feel that they could have thrown out their nervous hubby and just had the doula by their side… (Not something we recommend at all, though.) Just like mom, your partner should really prepare for the childbirth to make it an experience for you to share as a team. A doula can help both the mom and dad during childbirth!
Many studies during the past three decades have shown significant benefits of hiring a doula. A recent Swedish study investigated midwives’ experiences of doula support. The study showed that midwives experience that doulas are a facilitator for them:
“Doulas provide support by enhancing the degree of peace and security and improving communication with the women in childbirth. Doulas also provide increased opportunities for transcultural care. They may increase childbearing women’s confidence and satisfaction, help meet the diverse needs of childbearing women and improve care quality.” (Midwifery 2011 Jan 12)
Many people think a doula is only responsible for assisting with delivery. However, a doula can offer help and support during your prenatal care period too. They can also be an essential postpartum support person. Another recent US study confirmed the benefits of postpartum doulas, who help new parents with the transition to life with their new infant. This is not something that the doctors and midwives usually do at all after the mother’s discharge from the hospital.
So if you are heading towards the last part of your pregnancy or you are simply planning for giving birth; definitely take a look at these benefits (and costs) of a doula to make an educated choice whether to hire one or not.
Hiring A Doula – Benefits And Costs
Benefits of a doula
First a few measurable benefits from doula support during labor:
- 50% reduction of cesarean rate
- 25% shorter labor
- 60% reduction in epidural requests
- 30% reduction in analgesia use
- 40% reduction in forceps delivery
- Someone who really has been there, done that before, which can reduce stress for the mom and dad just knowing.
- Help you if you’re scared
- Help you and your hubby if your hubby is scared
- Help you let go of the control, and simply let your body (and the doula) guide you through the childbirth.
- Can be the only person who can keep everyone’s nerves calm and cool during childbirth. She can be integral in facilitating communication and letting your support team and midwife or doctors what you need and want. She can be your advocate.
- Your doula can assist a midwife with your examinations.
- Can provide massage, breathing help and so on during delivery as well as teach massage and breathing techniques to your partner.
- Can also help provide any emotional or physical support you need if you’re dealing with a difficult pregnancy.
- Depending on the level of training a doula has, she may attend your home labor
- If you will be at home, a doula can get in contact with the hospital if needed, as well as drive you there if you have to.
- Can answer your questions about newborn baby care
- Can answer your questions about your post-pregnancy body and emotions
- Can answer questions about breastfeeding and latching on. Don’t miss that opportunity!
- Can offer nutrition guidelines and information designed specifically for you and your personal health needs.
- Can also offer you with guidance when it comes to rest, exercise and offer support.
- Postpartum doulas also visit you in your home and provide emotional support.
- Some postpartum doulas also help you manage tasks and responsibilities as a new mother.
- Finally, postpartum doulas are familiar with postpartum depression signs, symptoms and care. They can be there to help you right away.
So as you can see, there are very many benefits of hiring a doula.
What does a doula cost?
Then what does it cost to hire a doula?
The cost of hiring a doula really depends on both where you live and what types of services you want from the doula. The cost in the United States is often somewhere between $350 and $1000 depending on geography, services and the level of experience of the particular doula.
The best way to find a doula is to call a few doulas in your area and ask them about their rates. Be sure to ask what is included in the price and what kind of training and experience they have, so that you can make an informed choice. You should also take your time to meet a couple of doulas you believe you might be interested in hiring, to make sure you like her on a personal level.
You can also check with your hospital if they offer free or low-cost doula services. Not all, but some, do. And speaking about costs; it may also be worth the effort to check both with your company and with your insurance company if either may cover part of your doula costs.
Doulas in training may also be a possibility if the price for an experienced one is too high for you. Another option is to hint to friends that a gift card for a doula would be a great baby shower present.
Why a doula video clip
Here you can watch a video explaining doula support.
Birth doula or postpartum doula?
A final tip – there is a difference between a birth doula and a postpartum doula. Not all doulas offer both services. The doula you probably think of first is a birth doula and she may very well offer home visit after the child is born. A postpartum doula is usually hired on an hourly basis for a few days or couple of weeks and will help you both with tips, tricks and hands-on help with the baby.
You can find a postpartum doula through many of the doula certification organization websites, most have a referral service or database online. As for typical cost, the rates range from $15 to $35 an hour in the US, depending on location, the doula’s experience and training level, and how many hours you decide to hire her for.
If you really want a postpartum doula, but the price seems a bit high, request gift certificates from friends. “It makes a great baby shower gift.
Sometimes insurance will help pay, so be sure to call them and ask. It’s also worth looking into local organizations that help low-income families find pregnant and postpartum help.
If you want to more doula information to help you planning for your childbirth, check out any of these books. (The links go to Amazon for more information and reviews.)
- The Doula Book: How a Trained Labor Companion Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier, and Healthier Birth
- The Birth Partner A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions
- The Mindful Mom-To-Be: A Modern Doula’s Guide to Building a Healthy Foundation from Pregnancy Through Birth
Now you hopefully have enough information about hiring a doula to get you started with planning for your childbirth. Good luck! If you want to read other mothers’ birth stories, here is the place to go.
Gruber KJ, Cupito SH, Dobson CF. Impact of Doulas on Healthy Birth Outcomes. The Journal of Perinatal Education. 2013;22(1):49-58. doi:10.1891/1058-1243.22.1.49.
Akhavan S, Lundgren I., Midwives’ experiences of doula support for immigrant women in Sweden- A qualitative study. Midwifery. 2011 Jan 12.
Campbell-Voytal K, Fry McComish J, Visger JM, Rowland CA, Kelleher J., Postpartum doulas: Motivations and perceptions of practice. Midwifery. 2010 Nov 3.
Nommsen-Rivers LA, Mastergeorge AM, Hansen RL, Cullum AS, Dewey KG.Doula care, early breastfeeding outcomes, and breastfeeding status at 6 weeks postpartum among low-income primiparae.J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2009 Mar-Apr;38(2):157-73.