Doulas are professionals who assist with childbirth and women’s reproductive health. The primary function is to provide support to the mother before, during, and shortly after delivery. They never deliver the baby. They do not replace a qualified nurse or gynecologist during pregnancy.
Table. The average salary of a doula in different cities of the United States
San Francisco, Washington DC, Boston, Los Angeles, New York
$1600-$2000 per birth
$35-$65 per hour
Cincinnati, San Diego, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Austin
$900-$1400 per birth
$35-$45 per hour
$600-$1200 per birth, depending on the clientele
$25-$35 per hour, depending on the clientele
What is a doula?
A doula is a trained professional who supports the mother and her family before, during, and after childbirth. A doula provides physical, emotional, and informational support to families. There are three types of doulas:
- Birth doula: They remain with the mother during birth. They offer relaxation, breathing technique support, and services, such as massage and assistance with labor positions.
- Antepartum doula: They support women who are advised bed rest to avoid preterm labor. Doula mainly helps with household tasks and childcare.
- Postpartum doula: They provide evidence-based information on breastfeeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, mother-baby bonding, infant soothing, and newborn care.
Doulas are aware of the physiological needs and the more common things expectant mothers may encounter during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.
Does a doula require certification?
A doula does not have to undergo any medical training or have any formal licensing required. However, doulas have started to choose training and certification by organizations that oversee doula training programs, such as DONA International and the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA).
What does a doula exactly do?
Before childbirth, a birth doula will typically:
- Connect with the expectant mother during her second or third trimester to familiarize themselves.
- Demonstrate relaxation and breathing techniques to the expectant mother.
- Solve the mother’s queries about delivery.
- Help the mother understand birthing and delivery procedures, as well as possible complications.
- Help the mother develop a birth plan.
During labor, the doula will:
- Be with the mother constantly to provide relaxation and support.
- Help the mother relax and rest using massage and touch.
- Help the mother get into comfortable positions.
- Monitors the mother continuously for adequate nutrition and fluids.
- Help communicate the mother’s preferences to the medical staff.
- Involve and reassure the father.
After delivery, a doula can:
- Provide support and encouragement to the new parents after bringing the baby home.
- Teach the new parents about baby care.
- Help with breastfeeding education.
- Support the family and teach them how to help the mother.
- Make sure the mother gets plenty of rest, eats regularly, stays hydrated, and is comfortable.
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What are the benefits of doula support?
Many studies reveal the benefits of doula support. However, doulas do not replace a need for a qualified gynecologist or regular visits to the gynecologist.
The limited studies show that doula-mother engagement can cause:
- 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin for labor induction.
- 28% decrease in the possibility of cesarean delivery.
- 12% increase in the chances of spontaneous vaginal birth.
- 9% decrease in the medication used for pain relief.
- 14% decrease in the risk of a newborn being admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
- 34% decrease in the risk of being unhappy with the birth experience.
- Most notably, doulas help stabilize the whole pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience.
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MedicineNet. Doula vs. Midwife: Which One Can Deliver Your Baby? https://www.medicinenet.com/doula_vs_midwife/article.htm
International Doula Institute. Doula Salary. https://internationaldoulainstitute.com/doula-salary/#:~:text=If%20a%20postpartum%20doula%20averages,%2472%2C800%2D%24135%2C200%2Fper%20year.&text=Postpartum%20Doulas%20in%20smaller%20towns,be%20about%20%2448%2C000%2D%2472%2C800
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