Doula? Planning your birth team
Should you hire a doula?
Well, would you like the support of a doula? A doula is a non-medical support person and their job is provide emotional support through your labor and birth. A doula is not the same as a midwife, but the roles often compliment one another well. If you and/or your partner have never been through labor and birth before, you may want to strongly consider hiring a doula to provide labor support and to help your partner feel confident in supporting you. We strongly encourage the addition of a doula to your birth team if you are having your first birth or first natural birth. Even if you have given birth in the past, you should consider if additional emotional support sounds beneficial to you.
How to find a doula
You can start by asking friends for recommendations and searching online. DoulaMatch is a fantastic resource as you can put in your estimated due date and zip code of birthing location (RVBC zip is 56082) and you will be provided with a list of doulas who are available when you are due and willing to serve this area. Most of the time the doula's experience level, education, and fees will be included in their profile. You can also ask your midwife if they have any recommendations.
If you are on a Minnesota Medicaid plan
If you have insurance through Minnesota Medicaid you should be made aware that Minnesota Medicaid will pay for a doula! There are some additional requirements, though! The only program we are aware of that has been successfully billing Medicaid plans for doula services is Everyday Miracles. You can submit a request for a doula to Everyday Miracles and they will see if they have a doula match for your due date and birthing location! (they also have childbirth education courses that can be billed to your insurance!). I recommend putting in a request right away if this is something that interests you as the availability of a doula around your due date may be limited.
How to pick the right fit
Who you hire to be your labor support is a very personal choice. You will want to select a doula who feels like a personal fit... the emotional support does not work well if you don't like the person providing it. Probably the absolute most important factor in selecting a doula is comfort... does this person make you feel comfortable? You can start by looking over any business social media accounts and/or websites to get a sense of what each doula is offering and a bit about them. If you are interested in learning more after you have reviewed any online presence the doula has, see if you can schedule a call or interview.
There are some things to consider:
Do their general views on birth compliment your own?
Are they supportive of your chosen birth location and provider? The type of birth you envision for yourself?
Are there any conflicts of interest? Examples of this could be things like: receiving kick-backs or benefits for referring clients into another practice for care, employment by the practice you are getting care from or employment in a competing organization, commissions or profits on any recommended services unless this is disclosed to you, ownership or vested interest in other businesses that are being recommended without disclosure of that personal interest, etc. Basically, if they are giving advice to you or making recommendations that are primarily to benefit themselves.
The role of the doula should be supporting the client in the birth the client is seeking and assisting the client in finding resources and/or working through how to best communicate their own preferences to their provider. A doula should not be providing medical care, medical advice, communicating on behalf of the client, or discouraging a client from communicating with their healthcare team regarding questions or concerns.
They should be able to provide clear information about what services they provide and what the client can expect from them.
If you dig in a little bit, you should be able to figure out fairly quickly if that doula is the right fit for you and your birth.