What is a Birth Doula? | Memphis Doula FAQs

You might have heard the word birth doula and thought “A do-what? What is a birth doula and what’s the point?” The word doula comes from a Greek word that means “woman who serves” and refers to a trained person who provides physical, emotional, and educational support to families during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. This definition leaves much unanswered, so here are some Birth Doula FAQs so that you can answer the question, “What is a birth doula?” with confidence!

Birth Doula FAQs

Are doulas like a midwife? Do you deliver babies?

No. Both midwives and OBGYNs are medically trained to deliver babies and are responsible for a healthy mother and a safe delivery. Doulas are completely non-clinical and do not deliver babies, and are concerned with the emotional health of the mother and attending to other non-medical physical needs.

Are doulas only for home birth?

While there are doulas who attend home births, Doulas of Memphis currently works exclusively in the hospital setting for births. Our doulas carry professional liability insurance and are currently only covered for labor incidental to a planned hospital delivery.

Are doulas only for natural birth?

Absolutely not! While the rise of the modern doula was rooted in the natural birth movement, our doulas are equipped to support women through all types of birth, from unmedicated vaginal birth to cesarean, and everything between.

But what does a doula actually DO?

“Support” is a bit ambiguous but doulas support pregnancy and birth in lots of tangible ways. A doula is the one person who is there exclusively for you. We major in the minors and meet all of the small needs that make a big difference. Read this post to find out how we do just that.

I’m getting an epidural. What’s the point of a doula?

A doula can help make your epidural a more pleasant experience by tending to your and your partner’s needs while your labor progresses. Doulas there to help you cope with the unexpected if your epidural does not go as planned. We are also there to support the physical work of pushing baby out and facilitate bonding in the time after delivery.

Do you work with my doctor?

Absolutely! It is our wish at Doulas of Memphis that every woman feels confident in her choice of physician and hospital for her pregnancy and delivery. As amazing as your birth team is, they cannot meet all of your needs. They are mainly responsible for your medical well-being and may be attending to other patients during your hospital stay. Read this post to find out how our doulas work together with doctors and hospital staff. 

Do doulas take insurance?

Currently, we are unable to accept insurance. If you have an FSA or an HSA, you may be able to seek reimbursement from your insurance company. If your insurance company allows doula reimbursement, we’ll send a detailed invoice for you to submit.

I value modesty and privacy. Will a doula be in the way?

Real talk: there is very little that is modest or private about giving birth. Birth is intimate, but in a hospital setting there will be people at your birth that you do not know. A doula is a familiar and reassuring face that knows you and your partner and can help facilitate as much modesty and privacy as is possible in the moment. Doulas facilitate bonding and can help you make the most out of this special time with your partner.

Can my husband be my doula?

Your husband or your partner can be a lot of things, but he cannot be your doula. They are distinct roles and each has their purpose. Your partner knows you in an intimate way that your doula does not. He is emotionally connected to you, while your doula is attuned to your current needs and the needs of your partner. Your doula knows about birth in a more nuanced way than a husband or family member and draws upon her training, wealth of knowledge, and intuition to support you through labor. Doulas enable husbands to be what they need to be for you without having to be something else as well.

Now that you’re in the know, visit our Birth Doula Services page to learn more about hiring Doulas of Memphis for your birth!