Doula? Why? Is it for me?
This post is based on what BAI (Birth Arts International) teaches and trains. We cannot speak to other training organizations, but we know they all want to support and respect women, as we do. For more information about BAI please visit www.birtharts.com
1. You want additional support?
If you feel you need an additional support, education and understanding you may find a doula an excellent choice to assist you through the birth process. A doula can help you find answers, work with your specific needs, care plans and issues. Her work is to support you, not make you have a specific type of birth. At BAI we believe all women matter, and we train our students to react to all situations with dignity and understanding.
2. Can a doula really help me? How?
Yes, she can. Even if you have a supportive partner with you, and a caring care provider, you may still need additional education, support and someone who is only concerned with your needs and wishes. She can make suggestions to further the care and support your partner can provide and make the whole process easier for both parties.
Birth Arts International expects students to have completed hours of specialized education and client support. This education includes completing a 400 page workbook, reading 10 specialized books, 5 evaluated births, over 200 hours of specialized education and client care work, and much, much more. The education a BAI doula receives pinpoints how to be and practice as an effective doula working with woman in the birth they desire. BAI doulas receive the highest level of holistic doula education to include diversity, communication skills, client care, doula support, labor support, nutrition, holistic support techniques, business education, client care materials and resources and pregnancy care and support. Your doula will also have had education in pregnancy anatomy and physiology, breastfeeding care, interventions, C-sections, twins and other variations of birth and birth plans. Our doulas are trained to support mothers in all birth situations.
3. I am afraid of a natural birth, those are the only types of birth doulas work with, right?
No, a doula is trained to support you. If you are planning to be induced, use an epidural, etc.. you may find you have just as valid a need for a doula. With interventions come additional support needs. A doula can assist you with these needs, just as she supports a mother with a natural birth plan. She follows the mother’s direction. Doulas are trained to assist you with your birth needs. All women need support, and many find that by having a doula some of her planned ideas of needing an epidural, etc.. can be prevented by having the additional support a doula offers. Or on the other hand a doula can assist a mother who unexpectedly decides to have an intervention she was not planning on.
4. Why a doula?
History, love and support. Women from history from almost all cultures birth with the support of other women. These women offer support just by being in the room, women need to know they have support if needed. We are now so fractured as a culture, we have family potentially all over the world, and the women who historically could have supported us now are hundreds of miles away.
On the other hand you may have a family that is not able to be supportive in the way you need, and having a doula is a great alternative.
5. Are doulas costly?
They are worth every cent. Doulas charge between- $200-2000.00 dollars.
They have many costs associated with being your doula and are on call for you for two weeks before your due date, or until your child is born. They will stay at the hospital the whole time and birth can last an hour to 48 hours, and she is there, if you need her. She will stay through interventions, she will support you with postpartum care and questions and she will support you in your pregnancy. She is also available to parents throughout pregnancy for questions also.
If she charges $800 per birth, this is a simple breakdown to consider:
Time with parents – 6 hours (prenatal and phone calls)
Time at birth – 12 hours (sometimes much longer, sometimes much shorter, but 12 is a midline average).
Time in postpartum – 3 hours Postpartum visits if you offer 2 – 3 hours
Driving time – 3 hours average.
Prep and research time – 4 hours
$28.57 an hour is the rate.
Other expenses like websites, gas, childcare, business cards, etc.. She is running a business, and normal business overhead exists. The fee breakdown does not count time at birth.
Just a comparison to think about- a cleaning service is often $30-40 an hour, a plumber costs between $75-90 an hour., a mechanic is $45-60 an hour. A doula is a highly skilled professional and she deserves a living and fair wage for her work.
People do not think twice about paying monthly fees of $150.00 for smart phones, $200.00 a month for cable TV, $100 for a pair of shoes, or the newest must have tablet, smart device, etc.. These are all choices, like a doula is a choice. A doula can save thousands of dollars in hospital expenses, work to create a positive birth experience. A birth experience lasts a lifetime.
To save money you may be able to barter, find a doula with a lower fee than the amount I listed, or find a student doula. Student doulas often cost about $200.00
Tips for paying for a doula
- Put money away each week when you discover you are pregnancy. Even $10. a week gives you a good place to start.
- Ask family to contribute to your doula fund.
- Look at your budget and see how you can spend your money more wisely, brown-bag lunch, forgo a coffee drink, etc.. Saving for a goal is a wonderful way to also foster a positive relationship with money.
Having a doula can make your birth experience a more positive and life affirming experience.