Q: Is a doula meant to replace a woman's husband or spouse?
A: No. Although a doula can act as a mother's primary support person if the mother's spouse won't be present at the child's birth, the doula is not intended to replace that person. A doula is there to compliment the couple and together they form a strong team. A doula provides support to both parents and often fathers or spouses get to stay more intimately connected to the mother as the doula provides supportive care and an extra set of hands to allow for that connection between mother and her spouse.
Q: Can my doula give me medical advice or prenatal classes?
A: No. If a couple's doula were also a Childbirth Educator then clients may hire the doula separately to provide them prenatal classes, however giving any medical advice or specific training falls outside the scope of the doula.
Q: Can I claim the costs of doula care through my health insurance plan?
A: Some insurance plans will cover doula care, however you should inquire with your company's Human Resources department and/or insurance company to be sure. Employers sometimes provide their staff with a Health Spending Account (HSA), which can potentially be used to cover doula care costs. If you're unsure, consult your employer about the benefits covered under your plan.
Q: What if we do not end up requiring our doula at the time we go into labour?
A: Moms/Couples can choose not to have their doula attend their birth. However, if the couple has not notified the doula before the doula is on call for their birth, the full fee for the doula's services is still owed. This is because the doula has made herself available to the couple during that time and has potentially forfeit income from other clients she could have taken if she was not on call for the couple's birth. Also, a doula often schedules personal committments such that it does not impact her ability to attend the couple's birth.
Certain medical reasons can arise before labour begins that make it impossible for the doula to attend the birth and in those cases the deposit is retained by the doula, but the remaining fee is not required to be paid by the couple.
If the doula is present throughout active labour, however complications arise during the woman's labour and make it impossible for the doula to attend the birth (Cesarean Section), the full fee amount is still owed to the doula.
Q: What if we do not like the back up doula? Are there alternate doulas that can act as the back up?
A: Absolutely. The couple needs to be comfortable with the people who may be attending their birth. The couple should discuss with their primary doula that they'd like an alternate back up doula and give an indication of the type of person they'd prefer as their backup so that the best backup can be selected.