In the past when babies were born families would come together and care for both the mother and help with the newborn. In other cultures there is still a great coming together to help a mother recover and heal after giving birth. In most Modern Cultures and especially in the U.S. the postpartum experience is much more lonely. New parents are often left alone to figure out the ins and outs of parenthood while the mother is healing from either a vaginal or c-section delivery.
There has been a great rise in PPD and anxiety as women are expected to “bounce back”, “do it all”, and “get back to work.” Often many are going back before their 6 week postpartum appointment with little resources to support them. Learn what does a postpartum doula do to combat the pressures and lack of support for women in America. In this article you will learn:
- What is a postpartum doula?
- What does a postpartum doula do?
- What will a postpartum doula cost and how can you afford it?
Table of Contents
What is A Postpartum Doula?
Postpartum Doulas have many roles to help support a family after a new child is born. The Doula’s main goal is to take care of the mother and support the entire family as they adjust to the new changes. The three categories of assistance they provide are practical work, informational, and emotional.
This will include activities such as light housework, cleaning, spending time with a small child while the baby and parents nap. It may also include running errands, preparing small meals or snacks, grocery shopping, infant care both night and day, setting up and organizing the nursery, and meal prep.
They have a wealth of knowledge about newborn and postpartum changes (recovering from a vaginal tear, c section delivery, etc). They can help with diaper changes, feeding (including some light breastfeeding support), and bathing. They can also give great referrals to lactation consultants, pediatricians, parenting classes, and other support groups in the community.
A Doula can be a safe person to share your birthing experience without judgment, They can help you explore your emotions and feel safe to talk through the things you may be feeling as you have added a new member to your family. They will also help to ensure that you are bonding with your child and that the new child is integrating well into the family. They will help your children and your spouse adjust to the new changes as well.
How Much Does a PostPartum Doula Cost?
The cost of a postpartum doula will vary depending on where you live, the doula’s skill level, what type of services you need, and time of day(night vs day). On average the cost is between $30-45/hour. Some may allow for a sliding scale based on your income or give discounted rates if paid in advance or a certain bulk amount of hours.
Are Postpartum Doulas Covered By Insurance?
Unfortunately in most cases Postpartum Doulas are not covered by insurance. As most insurance companies do not see them as “essential care providers” they will not include them in their coverage. There are some insurance companies that have begun to pay for doula services, but this will require you to reach out and see if your insurance company participates.
You will have to work with your insurance company to determine if your doula has to be certified or if they meet the requirements for reimbursement. It is a little upfront work but be worth it in the end.
Instructions on how to get your insurance company to reimburse you for services.
Can I Pay for Doula with FSA/HSA Funds?
Yes, doula services are eligible for reimbursement with flexible spending accounts (FSA), health savings accounts (HSA), and health reimbursement accounts (HRA) with a letter of medical necessity. Again this may vary depending on your FSA, HSA, or HRA. But in most cases you should be able to be reimbursed. Make sure you call and confirm before hiring a doula.
Letter of Medical Necessity
In order be reimbursed for your doula costs you will need to have your doctor fill out a letter of medical necessity. You can find this form typically on your FSA, HSA or HRA company website. Once this is filled out you will submit the form along with a receipt of services.
Benefits of Postpartum Doula
Postpartum doulas can greatly improve the postpartum experience for new mother. They are not your family members or friends, which is really a good thing. They are professionals who are there to fulfill you and your family needs when a new baby arrives. They will help you adjust to this new life, and are a non judgemental source of support during this difficult postpartum period. Here are a few benefits that you may see when hiring a doula:
- Real physical support and help: They won’t just sit around and hold your baby. They are there for you so they will get down and dirty and do your dishes, lightly clean your home, do your laundry, and make you a nutritious meal so you can rest and bond with your new child.
- Emotional Support: They can be a nonjudgmental listening ear as you are navigating your new postpartum body and newborn. They can give you expert advice, resources, and referrals when needed.
- Increased chance of successful breastfeeding: This doesn’t always come naturally and that is perfectly normal. It is an art and not all babies and moms learn on the same curve. Even if you have had a child before you may need help learning how to do it again with a new child.
- Improved Sleep: They will help you get more sleep during this often sleep deprived time. They can bring the baby to you in the middle of the night to feed, then burp, change and put the baby back to sleep. If you have ever had a new baby this can be lifesaving!
- Less Chance of Postpartum Depression: As they fill those gaps of support and education after birth they decrease the risk of heading into postpartum depression.
- Less Anxiety about going back to work or your partner going back to work: They have taught you how to manage all the daily tasks and work a schedule that fits your family. You have a greater understanding of your newborn’s needs and behaviors and how to navigate through them. You will often be feeling more prepared and confident!
Frequently Asked Questions
No matter if you are a first time mom or a mom of 5, a postpartum doula can be a great benefit to you and your family. Hiring a doula is something I wish I would have done in the past and plan to do in my future pregnancies. An investment in your health and recovery and your families health will never be a choice you regret.
Jess is a registered nurse with over 6+ years of critical care experience for patients young and old and is the mother of two small children. After having her own children she felt inspired to provide mothers with real actionable guidance and education to make informed decisions throughout their pregnancy and postpartum experience.