Doula: FSA Eligibility
What is a doula?
A doula is a trained and experienced, but non-medical, professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother in the entire process of childbirth. Doulas will have completed some training to prepare for the role, and typically certified from a formal education program like DONA International. Doulas charge several hundred to a thousand dollars for their services.
There are birth doulas that understand the physiology of birth as well as the emotional needs of a woman in labor. Birth doulas assist in preparing for and carrying out the plans for birth, providing all the information needed for the mother to make informed decisions during labor. Postpartum doulas offer education, companionship, and support in the postpartum fourth trimester. They help with newborn care, family adjustment, emotional and physical recovery from birth, infant soothing, and more (American Pregnancy Association).
Why hire a doula?
Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, the time spent in labor is typically shorter and there are fewer complications (National Center for Biotechnology Information). Additionally, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily. From an emotional health standpoint, a doula helps you before labor and delivery by answering your questions about what to expect, easing your fears, helping you develop a birth plan.
If you give birth at a hospital, hiring a doula may be the only way to make sure an experienced coach will be with you throughout labor. Doctors, midwives, and nurses will not usually stay with you continuously throughout labor since they have to split their time between several patients.