Have you heard about doulas and are wondering what all the fuss is about?
Are you curious about what they do and how they can contribute to your birthing experience?
In this article, we will discuss what a doula is, what they do, what the benefits of doulas are, and exactly how much they cost.
What Is a Doula?
A doula is a person pregnant women hire to give them guidance and support during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. Most doulas are women, although there are a few men in the profession as well. They typically begin their work a few months before a woman’s delivery date.
They are commonly thought of as birth coaches to help women through the difficult childbirth experience and the aftermath.
Support Where Needed
Although doulas don’t usually have formal obstetric training, they are often certified — some of the classes they take can take up to a year to finish. Some people mistakenly believe that doulas are only used for home births, but they can also be used in the hospital setting.
The Benefits of Doulas
Doulas can have a positive impact on the women who use them as part of their birth plan. Many of the studies done about the benefits of doulas show they can lead to safer and healthier births.
Plus, women sometimes feel better about their overall experience of becoming a mom when they have the support of a doula.
- Some studies have shown there is a 28-percent decrease in the risk of Cesarean section when doulas are used. The largest effects recorded were as high as 39-percent (1).
- Hiring a doula also appears to lead to shorter labor, which is something no woman would argue with.
- It also can cut down on the amount of anesthesia used and how long it is used for.
- With doulas, there are fewer births where forceps or vacuums are needed to assist with deliveries.
- Babies have higher APGAR scores when doulas are involved. APGAR tests measure heart rate, respiration, muscle tone, reflex response, and color.
- Women leave their birthing experience with more positive memories and a better feeling than they often do without doulas.
- Women who use doulas tend to be as much as 60 percent less likely to ask for an epidural (2).
- Those who enlist the help of a doula can be as much as 40 percent less likely to need Pitocin to start labor or speed it up. Pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin, which has been known to cause injuries in babies through oxygen deprivation (3).
- Doulas can also help women cut down on the use of pain medications of any kind.
- No matter what, childbirth isn’t going to feel like a day at the spa, but the hands-on methods employed by a doula can hit just the right muscles and spasms to help relax you as much as possible.
How Much Does a Doula Cost?
The fee for a doula varies greatly, depending upon experience levels, services provided, and even the location you live in. Bigger cities are typically more expensive for hiring doulas, just as they are more expensive for a lot of things.
If you catch a rural doula who doesn’t have much experience and is trying to get a client base, you may be able to find one for as little as $300, but you should be prepared to hear fees up to $2,500 (4).
Can a Doula Be Covered by Insurance?
Usually, doulas aren’t covered by insurance plans because they are seen as a non-medical aid for childbirth. But some insurance plans do cover doulas or at least a portion of their services. Sometimes you can pay the doula and get a detailed receipt to send to your insurance company for reimbursement. Your best bet is contacting your insurance company to find out — it doesn’t hurt to ask.