Frequently Asked Questions
I want my birth to be a private, intimate event. Will a Doula take away from this?
A Doula is aware of the changes that take place in a woman’s body during birth and the stages of labour she must go through. Creating a safe protective, undisturbed atmosphere around the birthing woman is a big part of the Doula’s role. This experience can be invaluable, especially for first-time moms. A Doula provides an environment that allows a woman to go within, while receiving moral support.
What does a Doula do for my partner?
The role of your Doula is to support the entire family. This means your partner can go to the bathroom, grab a bite to eat, or if the birthing process is particularly long, even take a nap without worrying about leaving you unsupported. It means your partner can fully participate in the birth of your child at whatever level they are most comfortable. If your partner would prefer to take pictures and leave things like massage up to your Doula, they can. If they would prefer to be the one massaging or holding your hand, the Doula can take the pictures, get water, hot or cold packs etc. Often, she is handing water to your partner to hand to you – making it easy for him/her to know what to do. Your Doula tends to the details, leaving your partner free to focus on you.
Will a Doula advise against an epidural if I want one?
No, it is not a Doula’s place to decide the path your experience will take. A Doula’s job is to provide you with resources, information, and moral support so you can make your own choices about your birth. Your Doula can act as an advocate on your behalf if you like, and encourage you to discuss all choices with your significant other, but again, it is not for her to make any medical decisions for you.
I really want a Doula at my birth, but my partner is still reluctant.
This is probably the most common reason that women are hesitant to hire a Doula. Partners often feel their role is to protect the mother and baby – and minimizing outsiders is one way to do that. Oftentimes, reluctant partners will feel more comfortable with the idea once they have met the Doula and had an opportunity to address their needs and concerns. The interview process is the ideal time to ask the hard questions. It should be said too that partners who were reluctant at first are often the biggest supporters of having a Doula after experiencing the benefits of her presence at the birth. Dads are Doula’s biggest referral source after the birth!
I am planning on having a home birth, does a Doula still have a role?
Yes. Doulas have a special role in home births. Midwives are not always at your home during the early stages. They often join you once you are considered “active” in the birthing process. Sometimes many hours have already passed and coping techniques, positioning and eating and sleeping advice could help the mom be in a more rested and ideal place to take on the active phase. At home births it is also important to have an extra pair of hands since things are sometimes needed from all areas of the home. After your home birth, a Doula often helps with clean-up too. A service beyond value when you have a newborn to care for.
Do you have a back up doula in case you are not able to attend the birth?
Yes, a backup Doula is available in case of emergencies. It is important to note, however, that the backup Doula would only be called due to an unforeseen circumstance. For example, if your Doula is in the rare situation where she is at another birth when your birth begins or she has fallen ill. We rarely use backup, as we schedule our clients based on due dates to ensure there’s no overlap. Births, however, can be unpredictable – but we do our best to avoid this.
Are Doulas covered by BC Medical?
No, Doulas are not covered by BC Medical and are paid directly by the client. Some second party insurance companies have been known to cover Doula costs but it is rare. You may want to check with your extended health plan to see if they will cover it.
On what basis do Doulas set their fees?
A Doula is on call for four weeks, two on either side of your due date. If your doula has children, this often means that her partner is on call too, to ensure someone is able to be with the kids. When doulas are on call, their whole life is adjusted to ensure they are available when their clients go into labour.
A Doula spends anywhere from 5 to 30 hours providing support during a birth. It is impossible to know how long a birth will be, but when prenatal visits and postpartum follow ups are included, many doulas will spend at least 20 to 40+ hours supporting a family.
During a birth, it is not uncommon for a doula to spend hours on end on her feet, providing hands-on support such as massage without a break! It is this continuous support that doulas are well known for, and for which they are so valuable a service during a long labour.
A Doula’s fees often vary depending on experience, education and certification. In Metro Vancouver the rates range from $600-$1200. Other factors might be additional related skills, services or supplies offered. These will be present in her support making her a valuable resource during birth and in the weeks following.