Is a Doula worth the money?


Are doulas worth the money? with Jenna Anderson

(With Jenna Anderson, mama of 2, DONA certified Doula) Are Doulas worth the money you’d have to shell out? Can’t my husband {or someone else} give me the birth support I need?

Maybe. Maybe not.

What if you had your own personal assistant who reassures, soothes, comforts, reminds, suggests, prompts, helps, guides and basically serves you and your spouse while you’re in labor & giving birth? Those are a few of the things doulas do. We hear moms say over & over…”Doulas made everything about my birth better”.

You’ll definitely want to learn specifics on how they’ll help, and how to find ‘the best’ doula to support & serve your needs during labor & birth. Because all Doulas are not created equal.

Is a doula worth the money YourBabyBooty.comJenna Anderson, a certified birth doula, shares why doulas are not just for those mamas planning to birth without medication. She shares a fascinating point about the mind-body connection we often forget here in the U.S.- which makes a great case for hiring a doula for any kind of birth.

You’ll Also Learn:

  1. How spouses keep the lead support role & how Doulas quietly support the whole birth process.
  2. Why you’d even need a Doula if you have a doctor, midwife  or nurse present.
  3. How using a Doula will make a measurable difference in your overall birth experience.
  4. Where to find the best doula for you.
  5. If a doula isn’t in the budget, some other creative options to make it happen anyway.

Who is Jenna Anderson?

Jenna Anderson is the mama of two girls. It was after the birth of her first daughter that she realized how transformational becoming a mom was through birth. She wanted to support other mamas along their own journey. For the past three years, Jenna supported countless couples through labor & delivery to meet their baby. Jenna and her family live in Cardiff by the Sea, California. Jenna was an avid WWF fan circa 1986-1990.  Not only did she watch it on TV, she went to a handful of wrestling matches at the Brown County Arena in Green Bay, WI… and a few of them on school nights! Links: Jenna’s blogJenna’s facebook pageDoulas of North America (DONA) & CAPPA.  


Click here to listen to the Interview (audio only) 





Jenna Anderson-Is a Doula worth it? Why Doulas might be the MVP of your birth {after you of course}.


Sarah Blight:                           Hi, this is Sarah Blight from Your Baby Booty interviews, where we talk to real people who have real experiences, so that you can get real takeaways and be guided in your journey to becoming a mom. So what does a doula do? Well, here to tell us today is Jenna Anderson. She’s a certified birth doula through DONA, which is the doula organization of North America. She has been assisting women in birth for the past three years and has two daughters of her own. Thanks Jenna for being with us today.

Jenna Anderson:                      You’re welcome.

Sarah:                                      So, Jenna, it seems like when I was born, oh, about 30 years ago, give or take a few years, there were people called birth coaches. What happened to them? Where did they go?

Jenna:                                      I don’t know. [Laughter] No, I um—you know, I think it’s safe to say they’re still around, they may just be called by a different name.

Sarah:                                      Okay.

Jenna:                                      I think it’s safe to say it’s the same thing, it’s not very similar. You could—you may hear them referred to as birth support or birth assistant or labor companion or labor assistant. I say more frequently or more recently, within the last ten years, they’ve been referred to as doulas, which is derived from a Greek word, which means the woman who serves. It actually means a woman who’s a slave, but they’ve [0:01:30][fossed?] it a little bit.


Sarah:                                      That is nice, so—it’d be a little [0:01:36][Phonetic] bit more politically correct.

Jenna:                                      Yeah, I didn’t know that I was signed up for it then. [laughter]

Sarah:                                      Yeah, exact—think [0:01:42][Phonetic] going to adopt one to sign up for it. Um, can you give us an example of a client who you’ve had who hired you and tell us, you know, why she called you, what you did, if we were kind of to do a drop in on you working for her as a slave…

Jenna:                                      Right, right.

Sarah:                                      Um, what would that look like?

Jenna:                                      Well, it definitely varies from client to client. Um, you know, I’ve—the reason why women contact me is various. For some, they’re wanting—they’re hoping to have an unmedicated birth. They’re planning to do—you know, to give birth without medication, and so they want the support of a doula. For others, maybe they have had previous birth experiences that haven’t been what they would consider—what they were hoping for and may have been just something that they’re wanting to change something as for the next time that they give birth, so they may—I’ve had women hire me before that are in that situation. I’ve also had women that are not planning an unmedicated birth, but want to use an epidural or want to use some kind of medication during labor at some point, but they want to labor to a certain point with a doula and have extra support. So really it’s women for the most part, regardless of, you know, what they’re planning or what they’re hoping to plan for their birth, they’re just wanting more support than let’s say their husband or a friend. They’re wanting another person on their birth team and so, the [0:03:14][Phonetic] who calls me.

Sarah:                                      Okay.

Jenna:                                      And, um…

Sarah:                                      So…

Jenna:                                      You know—oh, go ahead.

Sarah:                                      Well, I was just going to ask how do you– husbands or spouses kind of fit into this picture?

Jenna:                                      That’s a good question. Um, and I realize I hadn’t answered the rest of your other question, so I’ll respond to that at the end, but, um…

Sarah:                                      Okay.

Jenna:                                      You know, husbands play a huge role. You know doulas definitely do not replace dad of the baby, and I don’t even replace—if grandma wants to be there, or sister wants to be there, or best friend or all of those people want to be there, I don’t replace any of those people. I’m another person on the birth team. As far as husbands go or dads or partners, whoever is in the picture, it’s not been my experience that I felt that they’ve ever felt replaced or had that kind of—I think that the question I get a lot, but never has it been the case where, you know, when all is said and  done, dad feels like he wasn’t even part of the birth. Um, my role is to support dads of babies as well as much as mom, but in a very different way. Um, another part of my role is to really help dad function on the level that he’s comfortable with. For some dads, they’re much more hands on when it comes to physical support during labor. For other dads, they want to be more emotional support and want there to be someone that’s more trained, been around birth, been around labor more, and that can be there for mom in that respect and they can be there to love their wife, to love the mother of the baby. But it’s helping dad to respond to mom’s needs. And then, you know really, a big part of what I do with dads too is to help them know that all is well, and that what mom is experiencing is totally normal, and there’s no need to freak out, and, you know, if it’s at home that she’s laboring before she goes to the hospital, it’s helping mom and dad make that decision. So it’s—it’s being another part of the team that’s working to bring about a great birth for baby, but it definitely not replacing dad at all. I wouldn’t be comfortable in that role. [Laughter]

Sarah:                                      Right, yeah, that’s good. Well, so let’s go back to the previous question. Um, kind of about what is it look like? You mentioned, you know, helping parents decide, you know, making decisions of when they’re at home laboring, so are you at someone’s house, are you at the hospital or birth center, where are you and kind of what are you—typically, just maybe give us a typical person, or I don’t know if there is such a thing, but there’s…

Jenna:                                      There’s—yeah, no…

Sarah:                                      What you’re more often than not doing.

Jenna:                                      Sure. So, you know, and I’ll say to my role would depending upon when a woman contacts me. I’ve  been contacted as early as 10 weeks in pregnancy, and I’ve been contacted as late as 38 weeks in pregnancy. And so, there’s a prenatal part to my role. That’s an addition to the actual labor and the birth and some post- partum. So, there’s definitely building a relationship with a client and her partner. Going over information—a lot of email  exchanges with my clients, phone calls, coming to a prenatal appointment with her care providers if they’d like me to. You know, just a lot of exchange on information and more of like an educational role on the prenatal side of it, as well as just getting to know each other, so that, you know, the feel comfortable with me when they’re in labor. And then when they were actually start, um, it varies. For some women, they just want to be in touch. If it’s early labor and it’s best for them to be out, you know, kind of being out and about, being distracted, kind of carrying on with their day and let labor really get into a pattern. A lot of times I’m just in touch with them over the phone, over texting, in touch with dad, that sort of thing. And then once labor’s picked up a bit, um, and they’re ready for me to come cause they’re wanting more support, I will come either to their house, or if they’re ready to go to the hospital and it sounds like, you know, from us talking that mom is in a good spot, you know, to go to the hospital and labor his, she’s—if she’s wanting to get there, house labor’s kind of, you know, more in the active phase. We’ll make that decision and I’ll meet them at the hospital. But I’m—I tell clients I’m comfortable joining them in either place and I always want them to call me when they feel like they’re ready for me to come. And then, you know what it looks like, is I’m there with her through all of labor, through the actual birth, and usually about 2 hours post- partum, I like to be there until mom and dad are ready for some alone time. If it’s, you know, sooner than two hours, I’ll leave. If it’s after two hours, you know, we kind of  take that case by case and really—it’s just making sure that they’re in a good spot. Maybe they’ve moved into their recovery room, and if not, maybe mom’s starting with breastfeeding if she’s planning to breastfeed. And then, typically we keep in touch in those weeks and early months following, I like to do a post- partum visit at some point in the first couple of months with my clients. And then, after that, it varies. Some I’m in touch with, and I hear about how, you know, the child’s growing and, um, and changing, and then for others, they move away or not, you know, we lose touch—but for most, I’m in touch with them after, so.

Sarah:                                      So when they’re in the middle of active labor and a woman is, you know, just dealing with really painful contractions, um, what do you typically say or do for moms or for couples, I should say, since you’re there to kind of support both. What—if we were to kind of peak into a room, what would we see you doing?

Doula:                                      Sure. Uh, well, again that’s going to vary from woman to woman. Um, for clients that are planning and wanting to not use medication, I’m most likely helping mom stay in some kind of rhythm that’s she’s found that’s working for her.. If it’s not working for her, then I’m suggesting some changes, maybe mom try changing positions, maybe mom gets up to go use the bathroom, cause the toilet is a magical place to labor. Um…

Sarah:                                      It is. [Laughter]

Doula:                                      Maybe it’s taking, you know, encouraging mom and dad to go take a walk down the hall. Um, if she’s just not finding a comfortable position, it’s just really working with her to try to figure out what’s going to work for that time. Um, for some women, they get really comfortable in a spot and maybe it seems like contractions start to slow down a bit, and it would be good for her to change positions, so it’s encouraging that. Um, it’s—for some, if they are kind of in their own rhythm, and they don’t really want a lot of distraction, then I’m not sitting there with my checklist of, “Okay, well this is what I need to do next, so  she better let me do it”, I’m just kind of going with the flow and watching how mom is and, you know, suggesting what I need to suggest and  then—and when I need to step back and just kind of let mom do her thing, you know, that’s the role that I take then. Um, in addition to the, you know, actual, physical, hands on helping mom change positions and helping to provide comfort, whether it’s using a hot water bottle on her back, whether it’s suggesting ways for her to use the birth ball, a lot of it too is just—it’s emotional support and just letting mom and dad know, “Hey, what you’re experiencing right now, it’s okay. I know it doesn’t feel okay, but it is okay, and this is what’s going to bring you, you know, closer to having your baby”. So, um, again, it’s just—a lot of it is reassurance and just being there as an anchor for mom and dad.

Sarah:                                      Now, how—you’re talking about, and it sounds like, it’s very comforting, very soothing, very reassuring to have a doula—you know, the right doula for you in the room. What about the doctors and nurses. Isn’t that kind of what they’re supposed to be doing?

Jenna:                                      Yeah, I think in an ideal world, it is what they should be doing, but—and some are. I am so not anti the medical establishment, I will put that out there right now, I have—we have fabulous OBs and midwives that are care providers and labor and delivery nurses that I absolutely adore, and they play a huge role in the birth—safe birth of baby and safety of mom. But, I will say also that we  are living, obviously, in a time where the amount of attention that each one should be getting during labor, isn’t possible because we’re in hospitals that have multiple patients and nurses have multiple patients, and even if they only have one or two, they’re still charting—they have a lot of other expectations on their time that they need to be doing, and that’s what their role is. So, you know, doulas bring a different part—I keep saying the birth team, but, you know, they bring a different role to the whole situation. Um, you know, care providers, like I said, and nurses, OBs, midwives and labor and delivery nurses are really vital to monitoring the health and safety of mom and baby, that’s their first and foremost concern. A doula, you know, is there to focus on mom’s emotional, physical, comfort and informational needs. It’s there to keep mom moving. If they’re—I—my experience for the most part has been that nurses love having me there, because  they know that mom’s getting the focused attention that I think they’d like to give her, but they can’t—or possibly, they’re not seeing, you know–  if a mom is wanting an unmedicated birth—we live in an area—I’m in California, and we live in an area where I would say some of the hospital are very—have nurses that have seen a lot of unmedicated births, and other hospital there haven’t, and so I think they just—they haven’t been trained in it, and it’s – that’s okay. But they’re, you know, excited that there is somebody that’s there for mom and really kind of catering to mom’s wishes. So, yeah, doctors and nurses and midwives definitely, there’s—it’s not a replacement, it’s a different—again, it’s a different role than what they’re providing.

Sarah:                                      Okay. So you talked earlier about some mamas who maybe are planning on having medication, whether the epidural or other kinds of medication…

Jenna:                                      Sure.

Sarah:                                      Or a C-section.

Jenna:                                      Right.

Sarah:                                      Um, is a doula helpful to those moms as well?

Jenna:                                      Yeah, I think so. Um, I would say that it’s probably—in my experience, I’ve probably had, maybe like 70% that are, you know, planning to not use medication and 30% that are. But in that 70% that are planning to not, I would say, you know, half of them have the door open to, “I’m planning to not, but…” you know, if labor’s long, or if… blah, blah, blah, the—you know, I’m open to it. So I’m,  you know, I tell women right off the bat that I’m definitely comfortable and supporting whatever wishes that they have. For a woman that’s planning to use an epidural or other pain medications, I mean—no, I think it’s still important for women to have—I would say, the women planning that. It’s important for them to have comfort measure that they can use, cause they’re likely going to experience labor without meds at some point. Um, you know, they’re going to be at home when labor starts, so they’re not going to have the medication readily available to them. So it’s—I would definitely encourage women to have some comfort measure and to be familiar, whether or not you’re planning to do it for the long haul or not. And then, beyond that, for women that I’m working with that say, you know, “Nope. I’m planning on the epidural, but I still want to have a doula”. I say, “Okay, well then here’s what I’m going to encourage you to do, I want to, you know—if at all possible, encourage you to try to wait until your—and is well into active labor before you get the epidural. Um, for a few reasons, it gives the woman the chance to be upright, to be letting gravity work with her, to help her baby be moving, you know, into—baby and mom’s body both to be getting baby into the best position for birth. Mom’s able to stay upright and move around to help her pelvis to shift and to open, and like I said for gravity to work with baby to move and shift into position. And so I will, you know, often encourage women that are wanting the support, but, like I said are planning to have an epidural and to try to get past four centimeters, more like to the 5 or 6 centimeter mark before they have an epidural. If they get one earlier, it’s—it doesn’t mean that, you know, her— that there’s going to be an absolute spiral of interventions from then on out, but I think the more establish you can get in labor and know that it’s going on it’s own before you become immobile, the better. Um, and then…

Sarah:                                      and when you say to the– you know, some women—and I’ve heard actually the majority I would say, and I don’t know the percentage, but a woman who get epidurals actually don’t have a hundred percent relief.

Jenna:                                      Yes.

Sarah:                                      So, even if you do get it, you know, there’s a chance that you still will have sensations of the labor and that you still, you know, that would seem like having a doula would still be a good idea for those things as well.

Jenna:                                      I totally agree, I think—my experience has been that most of my clients that have had an epidural still feel a lot of pressure, especially if they’re getting closer to the actual birth of the baby, they’re feeling a ton of pressure, and not—again, I personally have not had an epidural, so I can’t speak from experience, but what has been described to me is the pain of the contractions is gone, but I’m feeling a lot of pressure because baby’s head is in the birth canal, you know and…

Sarah:                                      Right, right.

Jenna:                                      and mom’s laying in bed, so she’s really feeling it. Baby’s head is, you know, going to be kind of toward her back because of the way that she’s laying. Um, and Sarah, I think another really important thing to take into consideration is—just because a woman’s pain  is taken away, she’s still emotionally there. Um, physically she might have a huge, you know, relief kind of wash over her, but emotionally, she’s still in labor. So what happens sometimes is when—when they get their epidural, it’s time for dad to take a nap; it’s time for her other, you know, people  that have been there to kind of go get dinner or go—make phone calls or kind of check out, the TV might come on. Well, something that I’ve encouraged clients is to still stay present in their labor. If mom needs a nap, definitely mom take a nap, but still stay present in your labor. And still—I think a doula, again, I’ve been able to focus on mom’s needs and to be able to, you know, to continue the, you know, watch the monitor at that point, and if she’s not feeling her contraction, say, “Yeah, you’re having them regularly”, you know, here they are, they’re coming in waves and kind of keeping mom present in her labor, even though she’s not feeling her labor like she was before.

Sarah:                                      That is a great point. I think that’s really important to remember that, yeah.

Jenna:                                      You know, cause I think we live in – I’ll just add we live in, you know, in Western society where we, I think, you know, we kind of divide up physical and emotional, and we don’t think about—Oh we have physical release, I’m going to be fine, but there’s so much to be said about the emotional part that, you know, you want to stay present for, so…

Sarah:                                      Right. And as well, after birth, there is like the largest drop in hormones ever…

Jenna:                                      Yeah.

Sarah:                                      known to mankind or womankind, so yeah, having support would be nice, whether or not, you know, you have pain medication or not, that’s a great point.

Jenna:                                      Yeah.

Sarah:                                      Um, so how does one go about finding a doula?

Jenna:                                      That’s a good question. There’s a lot – there’s a few different avenues, I would suggest, um, you know one would be if you have friends that have used a doula, ask for referrals. If you don’t have friends in the area that have used a doula, but you have—let’s say a friend that lives out of state, and she used a doula and loved her doula, I would ask her if she has any referrals in your state, or ways to get a hold of good doulas in your state or in your city, um, cause she very well may, she—you know, she may be connected beyond just her immediate area. I encourage women to ask local, baby- focused businesses, whether that’s like a baby boutique—I wouldn’t say Babies R Us, or something like that, but—well maybe, but probably more of like the smaller, mom and pop kind of places.

Sarah:                                      Privately owned, yeah.

Jenna:                                      Uh-huh. Um, childbirth educators in the area are a great resource, whether it’s hypno-birthing or hypno-babies or Lamaze or Bradley method or even your childbirth education classes at the hospital. Sometimes those are taught by doulas. So that’s a good place to check into. Some OBs, I would say, would have great referrals. Some midwives, both home birth and nurse midwives in the hospital would have some good referrals. And then you can always go online, DONA dot org, which is the organization that I’m certified through as I mentioned early is a great one. Um, Cappa is another organization that has doulas that are part of that organization, so they’re out there. Um, but again, I think the biggest one would be asking for referrals from friends, but definitely not the only way.

Sarah:                                      Right, okay. So what is important, um, I guess attributes, considerations if you were to complete the sentence, “An outstanding doula…” What does an outstanding doula do? Or, what should we look for?

Jenna:                                      I think—yeah, I think an outstanding doula—if I had to answer, you know, finish that sentence, and then I can maybe give you a couple of attributes beyond that, but, an outstanding doula, I would say, supports a woman and her partner as they make choices for the birth of their baby. I think an outstanding doula remembers that each woman, each baby, and each labor ad birth is unique and individual, and that there isn’t a one size fits all approach to be taken. Um, but I would say that’s an outstanding doula. Now what would make a doula like that? Um, you know, and what—I think couples should take into consideration as they’re interviewing different doulas, I definitely think experience is valuable, but I don’t think that it’s the absolute, you know, number one thing to take into consideration. I encourage couples to choose someone who they feel very, very, very comfortable with, because you’re inviting somebody into the most—one of the most intimate moments of your life, one of the most transformational moments of your life, so you may interview a doula who has 300 births under her belt, but the personality with your personality, you can tell, is just not—isn’t working. But then you may interview a doula who would say she just was trained a few months ago, and you’re going to be her first birth [Laughter] Um, you know, it may not be right for everybody, but I think, you know, if you feel like, “Man, we just are very connected and she’s trained and she, you know, she knows what she’s doing the best she can right now, we want to take a chance with her” like I would say, go with that one, because really, like I said, you want to feel comfortable with that woman. Um, things to take into consideration, I would definitely ask a doula about her training and her certification. I would add that a good doula doesn’t have to be certified. It’s possible that circumstances in her life prevented her from completing her certification when she stared it, but it’s good to know that she’s been trained though. And then I would ask how a potential doula, you know, works with hospital staff, if she’s worked with your specific care provider and what it was like. I think those are just good things to know. Um—but there’s definitely…

Sarah:                                      So you’re…

Jenna:                                      some great list you can find in books and online about questions to ask a doula too.

Sarah:                                      Okay. And it sounds like it’s important to, you know, to kind of set up like a little meeting where you and your spouse can be with—you know, together kind of—cause you want your spouse to be comfortable with them too, right?

Jenna:                                      Yeah, totally. I’d say, you know, 90% of the time I’m meeting with both mom and dad, there’s been a few times where I’ve met with just mom, but then if we do start working together, I for sure want to meet dad.

Sarah:                                      Yeah.

Jenna:                                      Most doulas will do an—they won’t charge you for an interview, and it’s good to interview—I’ve had some that I’ve interviewed, four, five of others that have just interviewed me, it just depends on the person.

Sarah:                                      You know, I know it probably varies from state to state or person to person, but how much does it cost and does insurance cover it?

Jenna:                                      Yeah, that’s a good question. Um, I would say the average, and this is going to be a pretty big span, but, um—you know, there are definitely going to be some doulas that maybe are in training, um, that aren’t charging, or special situations where it’s military family are assigned that may know some doulas who’ll give, you know, um, percentage of offer, for a vaginal birth after caesarean or different kinds of things, but I would say the average that I’ve seen is going to be anywhere from like low end of 250, 300 up to 1500 and above. Again, it ranges where—it varies on, you know, location and experience, but I would say that that’s probably the range. Um, probably more on average, if you want to give it a little bit tighter, between 500 and a thousand, I think. Um, and I—you know, some doulas will offer a certain amount of pro bono, births a year or scholarship births a year. Most doulas work on some kind of sliding scale, so um, they definitely—you know the heart behind it is, I would say for most doulas, is that they want to be available for any woman that’s wanting one.

Sarah:                                      Right.

Jenna:                                      Um, I’ve hear of some great bartering that goes on… [Laughter]

Sarah:                                      Oh yeah!

Jenna:                                      For services, you know, and that’s great.

Sarah:                                      That’s cool!

Jenna:                                      Yeah.

Sarah:                                      Yeah.

Jenna:                                      Totally, I know.

Sarah:                                      That’s great! So don’t be afraid to ask for—offer a, you know, whatever you do for, you know, some doula- ing.

Jenna:                                      I totally agree. And as far as the insurance goes, you know, there’s – DONA, the organization that I’m through, they have like a third party reimbursement packet they’ve put out for doulas to use with clients. I’ve used it once with a client, she had a – like a flexible health savings account. She actually got it reimbursed. But she’s the only one I know of, um, I’ve heard it’s becoming, you know, more of a supportive thing, but I don’t think it’s a—I wouldn’t say it’s a shoo-in.

Sarah:                                      …quite yet.

Jenna:                                      No, unfortunately.

Sarah:                                      Yeah, okay. What, um—you mentioned that you do prenatal—what is it, some kind of relationship building and then you’re obviously there and available up to 2 hours after the birth, um, you know, kind of depending and then post- partum, is that pretty standard, would you say, as far as what is included in the doula fees that you pay?

Jenna:                                      Yeah, I would say that that’s pretty standard. Um, and it ranges for some doulas, it’s, um, you know one prenatal visit, I’ve heard of others that, you know, have met with clients four or five times, and I think it just depends on the availability of the doula, how the schedules line up with each other. Usually, and a big part of what I do too, is unlimited phone and email support, prenatally and obviously during labor and then beyond. But yeah, I’d say that that’s pretty standard. Some doulas will offer photography. I’d tell clients I would love, love, love to be able to take pictures for you to the best of my ability, you know, if that’s something that you’re wanting, as long as my hands don’t have to be somewhere else, you know.

Sarah:                                      Right.

Jenna:                                      And to support you, but I—that’s something I’ve offered clients and have had some really great pictures that have come out, but they’ve—they don’t remember me taking and then afterward they see and they’re like, “Oh my gosh, you captured so much, we’re so thankful!”

Sarah:                                      Yeah.

Jenna:                                      So…

Sarah:                                      That’s cool.

Jenna:                                      But yeah, different doulas will kind of tweak, you know, how they do things differently and it just varies on the person. If they’re trained in aromatherapy, sometimes that will be part of it. If, you know, sometimes doulas hold other certifications through other sort of things, but then they’re—they need to—that’s not necessarily in the scope of their practice of the doula, but they’re also functioning as a massage therapist, as somebody with aromatherapy, as, you know, blah, blah, blah.

Sarah:                                      Right.

Jenna:                                      So…

Sarah:                                      Okay. Um, my last question, um, is—can you tell us…

[0:28:23]                                  End of Audio


  • Irene Smultea

    I assumed Doulas were only for women who wanted a natural birth. I don’t. I want an epidural. I never thought that having a doula for any birth in a hospital is important. But I guess it makes sense b/c the hospital runs according to their protocol. Having a doula helps keep you front of mind & the focus…instead of the ‘labor being managed according to the hospital’s protocol’. I need to think about this. This interview combined with Dr. Fischbein’s have taught me a lot. I’ll dive in deeper. I’m going to watch a lot more of these- better than any book I’ve read or other site I’ve been on. Thanks for this.

    • yourbabybooty

      Absolutely Irene. You are welcome! Most mamas probably don’t realize the benefit to having a doula regardless of what their birth plan encompasses. Thanks for the comment! Another great interview is this one with Michelle Collins- certified nurse midwife and Ph.D. about how women who prepare do better in labor.

    • Jenna Anderson

      Thanks for sharing, Irene. I truly enjoy supporting women who choose to birth with and without medication. For those who are planning on an epidural, I’ve noticed that my role of supporting during early labor and early active labor is crucial, since many have not prepared to have to work with their labor without medication for some of the time. There will likely be a point in labor where you won’t have the epidural yet and it’s great to have that support available. Also, I’ve found that with women who have an epidural, I’ve helped them to continue to “safely move” while they are in bed- going from side to side and lifting and moving their legs to keep some physical changes going. Glad to hear that this has motivated you to look into possible support a little more. Happy birthing to you!

  • Laura Green

    “you’re inviting someone to come in to the most important parts of your life”.. I liked that. I planned on just googling & hiring. I need to ask more questions. Sarah you keep asking us what our takeaways are…mine was sort of a big deal for me. I’ve just realized I’ve been looking at most of my pregnancy & birth stuff as a “time taker” instead of an “investment” into my baby and my health. Sitting here thinking about it, I feel kinda sad I thought that. :( I have no idea why I did. Thanks for helping me have that epiphany!

    • yourbabybooty

      Join the club sister! You’re exactly the reason our site was created:) You don’t know what you don’t know! I had spent more time researching vacuum cleaners than I did who I would entrust my baby’s birth to- hindsight makes everything so clear, doesn’t it? Happily for you, you are realizing it NOW and taking ACTION! So happy for you and your journey. Feel free to share other epiphanies as you watch the interviews:)

    • Jenna Anderson

      Yes! Great stuff Laura. Thanks for processing that.

  • Francis W

    I have to admit, I’ve been pretty skeptical of the need for a doula for a long time. I don’t doubt they’re helpful, but are they really needed? What I learned from Jenna was how many ways doulas can help during labor, birth & afterwards. I just kinda thought they were there as another person in the room (like a gopher to get things that might be needed), I never knew they could take on the role of a massage therapist & all the other examples she gave.
    And I never knew postpartum doulas even existed! I’m definitely interested in learning more how they can help with ‘everything’ after the baby comes home. I think that’s when it’d be most helpful for me. Depression runs in my family, so I’m not sure if I’ll be facing Postpartum Depression, but I wonder how much postpartum doulas help with getting through PPD. Do you know?

  • Melanie P.

    Gosh, I thinking the same thing as Laura below! I’ve been really excited about pregnancy & birth, but I’ve been thinking about it as one event. I haven’t been thinking about it like an investment. Well said Laura!

    • yourbabybooty

      Laura made an excellent point. You’ll never have a return on investment like you will with this! Time and money is well spent in preparing for childbirth:)

  • Erika B.

    Doulas made a big difference in my labors & births. Big with a capital B. The reason is I didn’t know what I didn’t know, ya know? As hard as I tried to learn everything, as many books as I read, as much as my husband & I talked through our birth…we didn’t have the perspective or experience that our doula did. And “my” doctor was incredible, but in reality you barely even see your doctor (if at all- for a million different reasons). It’s just like Sarah’s interview with Dr. Fischbein (, he said…”your provider is really the labor & delivery nurse on rotation”…so true. So you don’t end up knowing the quality of care or personality or care (that’s huge by the way- we had an overbearing nurse & I would’ve smacked her silly if I wasn’t trying to push my baby out) you’ll get until you’re there.

    I’m convinced during labor & birth it made the difference between us confidently having the 2 births we hoped for…and not. Why? Just as Jenna said…our doula ADVOCATED for us. She was active. She was proactive. She didn’t just sit there and watch me labor. She was all over it. My husband was super into the whole birth, but there’s only so much a husband can ‘get’. It’s just the way it is. It doesn’t mean they’re not supportive or doing a good job…it’s just that they’re not a woman who’ve been through labor & birth on their own & with others many times over. That difference give you a different level of support. And that different level of support you FEEL big time when you’re laboring towards birth.

    I understand that doulas are an “added” expense because most people just don’t think about them. But think about all that money people are going to spend on buying you baby gear, a lot of which you’re not going to use that much. Really. We set up a little “Doula Fund” and our doula was 90% paid for. We have coaches for everything under the sun, if you think about it, it’s kind of silly that one of life’s biggest events has been happening for so long without more doulas. Hire a doula, you’ll be really glad you did!

    • Jenna Anderson

      LOVE this perspective, Erika. Thanks so much for sharing. Can I quote your last paragraph on my doula FB page?

      • Erika B.

        Go for it!

  • BabyMama1

    Wondering if Jenna has ever seen hospital staff treat a laboring mama differently because they had a doula?

    • Jenna Anderson

      Such a good question. I have. There have been a few instances where a care provider has mentioned an intervention and then, it seemed, thought twice about it once they took into account that there was another person in the room bearing witness. In those instances, I saw them reconsider and make the decision not to go forward with the proposed intervention. I’ve also had instances where women have been given a longer time to push than what the care provider typically allowed. Of course, baby’s heart rate had to be stable and all had to be well, but these women were given a chance to give birth vaginally when otherwise it is likely that a Cesarean would have been suggested.

      I’ve only seen women being treated in a favorable manner with doulas present, though I’m guessing there are instances where a doula being present would make staff act in a more negative manner (based off either their perception of doulas or their past experiences).

  • Jenna Anderson

    Thanks for the comments and feedback everyone… I will be responding soon. (Had a birth and a few other things arise since this interview went live). Stay tuned :)

  • Emily Arters

    yes yes yes!! I had a doula with my 3rd birth and she was a wonderful advocate for me. My doc wasn’t thrilled about her presence until I cleared the air that she was there to be a mothering figure for me. My doc knows my personal history so once we established roles everyone was kosher with each other. The next year I got to help my doula coach a girl in our church who’s husband was out to sea. One of the most amazing experiences of my life. And when my littles are bigger, I’m totally gonna train to be a doula myself. LOVE being an encouragement to women bringing life into the world!

    • Jenna Anderson

      Wonderful to hear your story, Emily. Enjoy the journey :)