“Your doula is more important than your place of birth or your provider.”
– Dr. Morrison
What is a doula?
A birth doula is an experienced trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during, and just after birth, and provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period. Doulas are not medical professionals and they are not there to replace partners, family, or friends.
A doula recognizes birth as an experience the mother will remember all her life, and respects the individual choices parents make surrounding the birth of their child. A doula is trained to understand the physiology of birth with an understanding of the process of labor and birth, and is prepared to give assistance, guidance, and provide comfort measures and support in every possible scenario. Your doula will encourage you, offer suggestions to aid labor along, and remind you of your goals. Partners often benefit greatly from having a calm and reassuring doula at the birth, and doulas can also allow a tired partner to take the ever-important snack and bathroom breaks!
It is a doula’s role to help you prepare for birth and then to help carry out that plan with an objective viewpoint. Your doula will then provide guidance and resources throughout your pregnancy, be with you during your entire labor and the hours after, and be there to provide whatever assistance is needed during that time. Your birth doula will also follow up with a postpartum visit to talk about the birth, offer guidance for recovery, and with newborn care including breastfeeding, offering referrals if necessary.
Some doulas offer extra services. A postpartum doula offers education, companionship, and nonjudgemental support by providing evidence-based information and assisting with newborn care and family adjustment. Other services doulas provide may include massage, individual childbirth education classes, or placental encapsulation. They may specialize in or have experience with certain kinds of birth and families: young mothers, queer & trans families, VBACs, or parents who are planning to place their children for adoption.
How do I find a doula?
Most doulas have their own websites that can help you get more information and find the right match. Additionally, the Buffalo Doula Collective offers a free referral service that is designed to help connect you with a wealth of birth and postpartum doulas in WNY offering the full spectrum of care. The doulas with the Collective offer a wide range of experience and skills. They will also help with referrals for child birth educators, yoga instructors, chiropractors, birth photographers, birth pool rentals, placental encapsulation, and a variety of classes to fit your needs.
The Buffalo Doula Collective wants to make this a simple process and provide you with as many options as possible. Please visit their website at www.buffalodoulacollective.org for more information or simply email firstname.lastname@example.org. A member of the Collective will contact you within 24 hours to schedule a free consultation with one or more of the doulas.
The doulas in the Collective, while maintaining their individual practices, work closely together and provide backup and support for each other. When you hire a doula from the Collective you are accessing the skills, care, and knowledge of an experienced and passionate community of birth professionals.
What if my doula is not in the Collective?
We are excited to meet your doula! We just ask that you set up an appointment with all members of your birth team, including our clinical staff, to ensure everyone is aligned with the mission of the Birthing Center of Buffalo and has the same goals for your birth.
What is the cost of a doula?
All doulas offer different rates and packages. The average cost for a birth doula is $300-$800 depending on the level of experience. The cost for a postpartum doula is between $15 and $30 an hour, with package rates being offered as well.
What if I can’t afford a doula?
Ask your doula about payment options or a payment plan. All of the doulas in the Collective offer options for payment. The Collective will work with you to match you with a doula that fits your needs both financially and on a personal level.
What is included in the doula fee?
While each doula offers different services designed to meet your needs, you can expect your birth doula to offer:
- A free consultation to get to know each other and discuss your needs
- Two prenatal meetings to help plan for your birth, offering options, education, and guidance to help you feel prepared for your birth
- An optional visit along with you and your care provider
- Email and phone support during your pregnancy
- Support during your birth and the hours after
- A postpartum visit
Included in the fee for a doula from the Buffalo Doula Collective are monthly support groups and educational opportunities. They offer the option to have your prenatal meetings done privately with your doula or in a group setting. As with Centering Pregnancy, the Collective has found that meeting in a group with other families due near the time you are creates a sense of community and a strong support network that benefits all families from birth to parenting.
Doulas are required for a Birthing Center of Buffalo birth. Please keep in mind that there will be an additional fee for patients who do not hire a birth doula.