Frequently Asked Questions about Doula Care
Pictured below Kathy Voigtsberger, CD(DONA), AAHCC, is speaking at Parker University to a group of chiropractic students about the importance of doula care for the birthing woman.
What is a birth doula?
The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek language and is now used to refer to someone experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother and father before, during and just after childbirth.
Why should I have a doula for my birth?
- Recognizes childbirth as a key experience a mother will remember all her life.
- Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor.
- Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for her child’s birth.
- 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 a laboring woman, her partner, and medical care providers.
- Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman’s memory of the birth experience.
- Allows the woman’s partner to participate at their own comfort level.
Will a doula make my husband feel unnecessary?
Today’s father-to-be is expected to become familiar with the process and language of birth, to understand medical procedures, hospital protocols, and advocate for his partner in an environment and culture in which he is usually unfamiliar. A doula can provide the information to help parents make appropriate decisions and facilitate communication between the laboring woman, her partner and medical care providers.
At times, a father may not understand a woman’s instinctive behavior during childbirth and may react anxiously to what a doula knows to be the normal process of birth. He may witness his partner in pain and understandably become distressed. The doula can be reassuring and skillfully help the mother to cope with labor pain in her unique way. Many fathers are eager to be involved during labor and birth. Others, no less loving or committed to their partner’s well being, find it difficult to navigate in uncharted waters.
With a doula, a father may participate in the birth at the level where he feels most comfortable. The doula’s skills and knowledge can help him to feel more relaxed. If the father wants to provide physical comfort such as back rubs, helping her change positions, and guiding her to stay focused during contractions, the doula confidently suggests what may work best.
Why do I need a doula when I have a midwife at my birth?
Even when you have a midwife attending your birth at home or at a birth center, a doula is still a great advantage to having a treasured birth experience. You will be expected to labor at home until active labor is well established before the midwife comes to attend your birth at home or you go to the birth center. It is common at a birth center for the midwife and her team to give you lots of freedom once you are there.Your midwife is primarily caring for your medical needs and safety. She may not stay in the same room with you around the clock. A doula is the one professionally-trained person that will stay with you and give you 100% support throughout your ENTIRE labor, birth and postpartum experience. A doula is there to serve YOU!
Why did you become a doula?
I became a doula because I love helping couples make their dreams become reality. Because I treasure my own birth experiences and realize how they empowered my confidence as a mother and a woman, I enjoy sharing my knowledge and skills with expecting mothers and fathers. Not many people can say that they LOVE their job. But I am able to say that I LOVE MY JOB, even when I am awake for 24 hours straight or am awakened in the middle of the night. Being a doula has truly enriched my life!
What qualities do you have that make you a good doula?
I have always been told that I am a warm, friendly person. I have the ability to be empathetic with others giving them a sense of security. I am enthusiastic and knowledgeable about birth. I also have a compassionate, caring nature. I find it easy to get along with others in many different circumstances. I am not overbearing with people. I am a good listener. I can easily remain calm and be flexible in tense situations. I also persevere and have the ability to “go the distance” with my clients. I am fully dedicated to the needs of my clients.
Because my children are grown, I do not have a restrictive schedule. I have always been able to stay with my clients even when they have had long labors. Many women are looking for a doula who is a mature woman with life experience in her favor. Being the mother of 3 married daughters and Nana to 9 grandchildren, I am the perfect fit.
What if I just cannot make it through labor without the pain medication? How will you react?
For some women, there is a point when the normal pain of childbirth, changes to suffering. If this is the case and you decide you need pain medication, I will always continue to work with you in whatever way possible. I will always be devoted to my client’s needs and wishes. Being flexible is also very important with labor and birth. Every labor is an individual event just as every woman is different and every baby is different. Even if a woman has 5 births, each one takes on a life of its own.
How many births have you attended?
I began my professional doula training in October 2006. My next birth will be my 172nd birth!
Do you have a back-up doula?
I have several other Doulas that I coordinate with for back-up. So far, I have only had to call for back-up on a few occasions in 13 years.
Is doula care covered by my insurance?
It will depend on your individual insurance company policy. Some have been reimbursed by an HSA or FSA account. Some of the shared medical expense companies like Medishare, will cover a significant portion of Doula fees.