Hampton Roads Doulas: Providing emotional support to mothers

When a woman finds out she’s pregnant there’s a lot of information to learn and not a lot of time to figure it out.

Some turn to a doula for support.

A doula is someone who has gone through a certification process to either support a mother through pregnancy and birth or postpartum and newborn care, said Lacey Bauer, owner of Hampton Roads Doulas.

Bauer has been a practicing doula since 2012 and has worked with mothers through hundreds of births over the years.

She said the primary focus of a doula is to provide informational and emotional support for the mother as they either go through pregnancy or postpartum recovery.

There are two different types of doulas that a mother can work with: a birth doula or a postpartum doula, Bauer said.

The birth doula is there to work with the mother, the doctor, the midwives and any other support services the mother might have.

“We’re experts on options,” Bauer said, adding doulas help the mothers learn about all of the options they have available to them and give them the tools they need to make their own decisions.

A postpartum doula is there to primarily support the mother and newborn during the time after birth and give them the help they may need, she said.

Becoming a doula

It costs around $600 to become a doula, this includes the 18-month certification process and classes, Bauer said.

Men can also become doulas, although the Hampton Roads Doulas are all women.

The main difference between a doula and a midwife is the midwife is a clinical care provider.

A midwife will be able to deliver the baby but mothers need any surgical methods they would have to see an obstetrician, Bauer said.

A doula works with both of those providers, offering support to the mother while making sure she has the information she needs to discuss with her doctors.

Doulas do not have any sort of clinical training, Bauer said.

“We have those deep and meaningful conversations with the mothers about what they want for their birth and what their goals are,” she said.

Another perk of working with a doula is the mother gets continuous care during their pregnancy.

While a mother might have to see multiple doctors throughout the pregnancy, the doula will be that constant support to help them out, Bauer said.

Hiring a doula

Bauer said mothers can hire a doula for anything from $1,000 to $1,300, it all depends on what the company a mother is working with charges.

If you were to work with her practice, Bauer said they provide 24-hour assistance by having two doulas take turns being on-call throughout the pregnancy.

“This provides a sense of security,” she said, adding the mothers know they will always have access to one of those doulas for assistance.

Right now about 6 percent of people in the United States are hiring doulas, Bauer said, and families from all backgrounds are hiring them.

“I think the birth culture has shifted,” she said, adding more people are open to learning about the other methods of support they can have during a pregnancy.

To learn more about Hampton Roads Doulas and the types of services available, click here.

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