Frequently Asked Questions About Doulas
"Continuous support by a doula during labor is a risk-free, low-cost
method of reducing cesarean delivery rates that should be available to
- Susan K. McGrath, PhD & John H. Kennell, MD
What is a doula?
word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves." It is now used to refer to a trained and experienced non-medical professional who
provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to
the mother before, during & just after birth. Doulas also provide
emotional and practical support during the postpartum period. I am trained and certified by DONA International as a Birth Doula.
What are the benefits of having a doula?
Having a doula means that you and your partner, if present, have your own personal birth support person with you from start to finish. The nurses and doctors that will be in and out of the room are responsible for your clinical care and usually are not able to provide the consistent physical, emotional and informational support that birthing mothers need. Every woman deserves a doula. Having a doula at my first birth made a huge difference. I would never give birth without a doula!
What does a doula do?
A birth doula:
- Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life and assists with making it a positive experience.
- Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor and helps the partner to as well.
- Assists the woman in preparing and carrying out her plans for birth.
- Stays with the woman throughout the labor.
- Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decisions.
- Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers (OB, Midwife, Nurses)
- Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience and keeping it positive.
- Allows the woman's partner to participate at his/her comfort level.
Is a doula a medical professional?
Doulas are not medical professionals. Doulas do not
check blood pressure or fetal heart rates, do vaginal exams, check the
cervix, administer or prescribe any medications or treatments. You will
always be advised to check with your care provider regarding any
medical concerns. Physicians, midwives and nurses are responsible
labor, assessing the medical condition of the mother and baby, and
treating complications when they arise.
Will my insurance cover this?
Although it varies from one insurance provider to another, some
insurance providers do cover/reimburse the cost of doula support. If you would like more
information we encourage you to contact your provider to review your
coverage details and to read the handout on seeking insurance reimbursement for doula services. If you would like assistance in filing claims for
reimbursement please let us know and we will provide you with the
If you are seeing Full Circle Women's Health, I am on the list of approved doulas that are covered by their stipend program and your doula services will be completely covered.