The Nurtured Birth Doula Services, LLC
Dana Kunze, BS, CLC, HCHI
Serving Fort Collins and Northern Colorado
Frequently Asked Doula Questions
Home . Doula Services . Frequently Asked Doula Questions

Why might I want a doula?
Will a doula interefere with my partner's role at the birth?
Will my doula force her ideal birth on me?
What comfort measures can a doula provide?
What if I'm planning on getting an epidural or having a scheduled cesarean birth?
How does a doula interact with hospital staff?
Does insurance cover the cost of having a doula?
Why should I consider paying for a professional doula service?
How should I go about hiring a doula?

Why might I want a doula?

Research studies have shown that the type of support provided by a doula can result in many emotional and physical benefits for the laboring mother and new baby, including fewer medical interventions and improved mother-infant bonding.

Having a doula means you'll benefit from continuous emotional and physical support from someone trained and experienced in assisting birthing women. In today's busy hospital environment it is unlikely that a nurse will be able to provide this type of continuous support. A doula will get to know you and your wishes before the birth and can help you advocate for your choices during the birth. Every baby's birth is the birth of a new family as well and a doula can support all members of the family, including fathers, siblings, and grandparents, as they welcome their newest addition. Lastly, every woman deserves a doula - an extra heart and helping hand as she births her baby.

Will a doula interfere with my partner's role at the birth?

A doula never replaces a woman's partner if he chooses to be present at the birth.

While a doula can be very helpful for single women or women who must be separated from their partners at the time of birth, doulas are also valuable additions to the birth team even when a birthing woman has a loving and enthusiastic partner. A doula can suggest ways for your partner to offer you comfort and support during labor and offer him/her much-needed breaks for food or rest. With a doula you will never be left alone! Birth partners may find the physically and emotionally intense nature of the birth experience overwhelming and will appreciate the support and experience of a doula as well.

Will my doula force her ideal birth on me?

A doula's job is to support your ideal birth.

While most doulas are enthusiastic about natural childbirth, studies show that a woman's satisfaction with her birth experience has less to do with the circumstances of her labor and delivery (location, interventions, etc.) than with whether or not she felt included in the decisions being made during her birth. A doula helps you advocate for your decisions and goals. Her only goal is to help you have a satisfying birth experience, whatever that means to you.

What comfort measures can a doula provide?

A doula is trained to offer many non-medical comfort measures.

Physical support techniques include hot and cold compresses, changes in position, massage, use of a birth ball, and counter-pressure for back pain as well as others. Doulas provide emotional support through close physical presence, words of encouragement and understanding and an absolute belief that you can do it! For women using childbirth hypnosis for pain elimination, a doula trained in those methods can provide verbal and physical cues that will deepen her relaxation and hypnotic anesthesia.

What if I'm planning on getting an epidural or having a scheduled cesarean birth?

A doula can still be very active at a birth that includes a planned epidural or cesarean procedure.

At a cesarean birth a doula can offer a description of the birth as it occurs or record the birth with a video or film camera while the birth partner sits near your head to provide emotional support, or vice versa. After the baby is born either the birth partner or doula can accompany the baby to the nursery while the other person stays with you in the operating room while the surgery is completed. A doula can also write a birth story of the cesarean birth, helping to reinforce your memory of a beatiful birth experience.
Many women intend to receive epidural anaesthesia at some point in their labor. Research shows that the chances of having a forceps/vacuum-assisted delivery or cesarean birth decrease if the epidural is not administered until a consistent active labor pattern has been established. Many doctors allow a laboring woman to receive her epidural when she reaches 4-5 cm dilation. It may take hours of labor before a woman reaches this point. During this time a doula can offer the many comfort measures in which she is trained. Once the epidural has been administered a doula can ensure you are in an appropriate position to protect your back and hips and help you feel more connected to your birth experience by talking ith you about your baby's arrival.

How does a doula interact with hospital staff?

A doula is trained to work with your medical care providers to give you a safe and satisfying birth experience. Her role is to help you more effectively communicate with your care-givers but she does not make decisions for you or speak on your behalf.

Does insurance cover the cost of having a doula?

Some insurance companies are starting to reimburse the cost of doula services.

Hopefully this trend will continue as more insurers realize that women with doulas have fewer interventions and therefore less expensive births.  Your doula can give you the required forms to request reimbursement from your insurance provider.

Why should I consider paying for a professional doula service?

The money you pay when you hire a doula guarantees that she is available for you 24 hours day for two to four weeks surrounding your due date.

That means she is available at three a.m., during Christmas dinner, and when she's only slept five hours out of the last 36.  A doula also gets to know you and your wishes for your birth ahead of time and can therefore more easily facilitate communication during your birth. In addition, your doula will meet with you at least once during the first few weeks following your birth to offer breastfeeding support and to help you adjust during the immediate postpartum period.

How should I go about hiring a doula?

The most important thing is finding the doula that is right for you.

Ask for recommendations from friends and family if they've had a doula at their birth. Ask your doctor or midwife if they've worked with doulas in the past and get recommendations for doulas with whom they've had good experiences. There are several ways to find doulas online. You can begin by searching the websites of the associations that certify doulas. There are some clearinghouse-type sites where doulas can post their information and you can search based on where you live. Interview more than one doula to find someone who feels right to you. Remember that as you interview her she will be interviewing you as well to make sure that you will be a good team while preparing for the birth and in the delivery room. Here are some questions to ask your potential doula during the interview process:

Why did you decide to become a doula?
What is your philosophy of birth and supporting women and their partners?
What is your favorite thing about being a doula? Your least favorite?
Have you been certified as a doula? When? By whom?
How long have you been a doula?
How many births have you attended?
How many clients do you take on per month?
How can I contact you?
What do your services include?
What services do you provide or not provide?
Do you have a back-up doula? Can I meet her before the birth?
What is your fee structure?
Can you provide references?
When do you join us in labor?
Where do you join us in labor?

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