Doula Companion. . . *SHSB
A doula is an assistant or coach who provides emotional, physical, and educational support to an expectant mother during prenatal care, labor and delivery and/or postpartum. The doula's purpose can be a 3-fold mission:
#1) to be involved as much or as little as the parents-to-be deem necessary. Some expectant mothers prefer to have a doula accompany their prenatal visits from the beginning of their pregnancy to determine if that particular doula is going to be a good personality fit for the potentially stressful labor and delivery stage. While other parents-in waiting only require a 24 hour information and educational support up until the birthing.
#2) to comfort the mother and if he's part of the plan, coach and encourage the participation of the father during labor and delivery phase and to ensure an overall safe and memorable birthing experience.
#3) to provide postpartum emotional support, education and assistance regarding infant feeding, bonding, soothing and continued education and resources for the new parents in those first days and weeks after the arrival of a new baby.
Naturally the cost of this service can be a concern for expecting parents. Some doulas charge upwards of $550-$1000 just for the birthing alone. Doula Match can give you the cost of services and available doulas in your area. Insurance coverage for doulas is becoming a more common occurrence in the birthing world. Over twenty insurance companies have begun paying for doula services and now that there is a CPT code covering doula services, this is more of a possibility than ever before.
Although no longer in service, Bassett Baby Planning has provided a partial list of insurance companies who have reimbursed, in whole or in part for doula services. They also have very helpful resources for all phases of the pregnancy and birth for parents in waiting.
Although there are no licensing or certificate requirements for obtaining a doula title, many doulas choose to get certified by organizations that provide training programs, such as DONA International and the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA). Doulas, like any other business, need a competitive edge. Certification enhances credibility which then qualifies them for higher fees to sustain their services.
Lastly, as a doula you are making a commitment to parents-in-waiting from the first trimester until a few weeks or months after delivery. It is incumbent upon you to thoroughly educate and equip yourself with foresight regarding all the challenges that lie ahead of the expectant parents. Essentially, at times, you maybe the only one to bear the weight of holding their hands through this very personal event of their lifetime, be it happy or sad.
Many life-long friendships are developed in this profession that organically promote repeat and word of mouth clients. Once you get started as a doula, the momentum of happy clients will naturally build your business with very little marketing effort.
So, if you are by nature a companion type personality with comforting and supportive qualities that exhibits a calm composure and maintains a clear-minded to direct others in a stressful situation, then a doula service may be your calling.
Be sure to check out the links in this blog post for further direction.