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FAQ

Why are you providing some of your services virtually?

As with many aspects of life, the COVID pandemic provided an opportunity to rethink how we do things. While our initial shift to virtual services was in response to the pandemic, we quickly discovered that many of our services could continue to be delivered best over a digital platform.


Over the past three years, we have adapted each of these offerings to provide high-quality services that protect everyone’s health, contribute to environmental sustainability (reducing carbon emissions, traffic, and time commuting), facilitate communication (enabling us to see one another face to face and speak without the barriers of a mask), increase convenience and accessibility (join us at home, work, over lunch etc) and create opportunities for group gatherings and community building that would otherwise be unavailable due to schedule, geography and other restrictions.

Why are your services bundled?

We bundle our services to provide the best support possible to the families we serve. While we are happy to provide you with excellent traditional birth doula support (it’s what we’re known for!) or postpartum doula support, we find that our clients feel more prepared for birth - with more integrated skills - after participating in our bundled classes, circles, and movement sessions. We also find that our clients feel more confident entering postpartum knowing that they have support lined up for help at home with our postpartum doulas, help with feeding from a certified lactation counselor, and a dedicated space for processing birth and all the other changes they are going through with our postpartum circles. Bundled services help us help you meet your pregnant body’s changing physical, mental, and social needs to set you up for the best start possible - on your birth day and beyond.

What's the difference between a postpartum doula and other night support specialists?

Postpartum doulas provide education and support after birth. If you are looking for overnight support, you might be wondering how they differ from night nannies and newborn care specialists. Night nannies and newborn care specialists are trained to focus specifically on the care of the infant, whereas postpartum doulas are trained to focus more holistically on the wellbeing of the entire family/household. While all three specialists will be great at swaddling, soothing, and preparing bottles for your infant, that is where their similarity ends. The postpartum doula will include a focus on your postpartum physical recovery and emotional wellness, the new parent/infant dyad relationship, lactation and latching support, and help with small household tasks that often get neglected during these early days.

When should I hire a doula?

While you can hire us at any time, we recommend you hire us as early as possible to ensure that we are available to support you, and to take full advantage of all of our bundled services. Our classes, pregnancy circle and pregnancy movement sessions are appropriate for clients at any stage of gestation. We provide information throughout your pregnancy and our birth doulas are always available to answer phone calls  and emails to help you navigate this time of change in your life.

Are your doulas vaccinated?

Yes. As health care workers, all of our doulas maintain all CDC recommended vaccinations, including COVID-19 and annual flu shots, and continue to wear masks while working in health care settings and while working with vulnerable populations in your home.

Can I hire a specific doula?

No. We are a group practice. When you sign a contract with us, you hire the whole team, and not an individual birth doula. Much like your care providers, we collaborate and work as a team using an on-call schedule. On the day you go into labor, one of our team members will be on-call to provide phone support during the early part of your labor, and join you in person at your home or hospital once you are ready for in-person support. 


After your birth, our postpartum coordinator will reach out to schedule your first few postpartum appointments. We will assign a postpartum doula to support you based on availability and geography. You may continue to work with the same postpartum doula for your remaining appointments or work with our postpartum coordinator to book with another team member. 


We believe that the group model provides our clients with the highest quality support. You have access to a broader range of experience and training with a team. While solo doulas only guarantee availability between 38-42 weeks, we are available to support you as soon as you sign your contract - even over the holidays. With a solo doula, if another client is in labor, if the doula just got back from another birth, or if your doula or their loved one has an emergency, you may end up with a backup doula. We don’t need backup doulas because we have a deep bench of doulas on our team - ready to support you. Solo doulas also often charge an overtime rate for births that last longer than 12-24 hours. We charge a flat rate no matter how long your birth lasts, and will send another doula from our team to continue to provide you with seamless unlimited support.

How do I hire you?

Please fill out our client info form here and either watch a recording of our monthly Meet the Doulas information session or attend our next live session (second Tuesday of every month). 

Do you have a doula who is familiar with a specific hospital?

Our doulas have supported births at all of the hospitals and birth centers in the DC Metro area and are familiar with the providers and practices in each of those hospitals. If you have a specific question about your birthing location or are trying to decide on a provider or birthing location, our doulas are happy to talk through those decisions with you. Give us a call!

Will my birth doula advocate for me?

Yes, your doula - and the rest of your DC Birth Doulas team - is your advocate.  During your pregnancy, our team works hard to get to know you and how to best advocate for you. We also help prepare you to advocate for yourself during the birth and postpartum prep classes, support circles, and your private prenatal consultation. Our advocacy style centers first on helping you identify your needs and then creating space to help amplify your voice so that you will be able to clearly express what you want to providers and staff. We facilitate communication and may help you (and others in the room) remember your preferences or restate your concerns when you are very focused on other things.

Will hiring a doula help me avoid a C-section? What if I have a c-section, how will my doula support me?

Numerous studies confirm that the support of a birth doula does indeed reduce the odds of both a cesarean and/or an instrumental vaginal delivery. However, that does not mean that we can guarantee you will have a vaginal birth. We can guarantee that you will receive excellent emotional, physical, and informational support no matter how your birth unfolds and no matter how you ultimately bring your child into the world. And, we can help you reduce your risk for a cesarean birth by helping you select a low-cesarean-rate provider and by helping you learn about and advocate for avoiding unnecessary medical interventions.


In the event that you give birth by a cesarean section, your birth doula will be with you to help prepare for the procedure, filling in what to expect beyond the clinical explanations of your provider. If permitted, they will be by your side during the procedure, and help support you immediately afterwards as you both recover from surgery and meet your baby. Our goal is to help you feel human - with a focus on your emotional and physical needs while your care provider team attends to your clinical needs. Once home, your postpartum doula will be there to help care for you and baby during your physical recovery.

Can I pay with my FSA/HSA/Insurance? When do I submit for reimbursement?

We do not bill your insurance or take FSA/HSA forms of payment directly, but will provide all of the itemized receipts and forms you need to submit for reimbursement. You will need to wait until after your baby is born so that we can include your baby’s date of birth in the documents as the date of service. We encourage you to take full advantage of the increasing number of insurance providers who have doula, lactation and perinatal education benefits!

Do you do sibling doula work?

We do not do sibling doula work but can refer you to other sibling doulas.

Do you do placenta encapsulation?

No, we do not do placenta encapsulation but we can refer you to a provider and can help deliver the placenta to the provider post birth.

Early labor support - will you come to my home?

Early labor is a nebulous period that can last from a few hours to a few weeks. We encourage you to call the doulas when you feel changes in your body that may indicate labor is starting. During early labor, the best plan is to move, rest, stay nourished and continue with regular activity - until labor requires your full attention. Over the phone, text or video conference we will provide guidance on ideas for early labor. Once labor has picked up and you find that you need more support, the doula can join you at your home or hospital.

Can you drive me to the hospital?

No, our doulas are not able to drive you to the hospital. If you do not own a car, we are happy to help coordinate an Uber/Lyft/Taxi.

Can the doula deliver my baby?

Doulas are not medical providers. If you are birthing at home, you must have a midwife to provide your medical care. If you have a precipitous birth, we always recommend that you call 911 and request an ambulance.

What is the difference between a daytime and overnight postpartum shift?

Postpartum daytime shifts tend to focus more on education and hands-on teaching while postpartum overnight shifts focus more on sleep support for the whole family. Daytime shifts can be scheduled in 4 hours increments, and overnight shifts can be scheduled in 8 hour increments. If you are unsure of your needs or you are looking for specific timings, please fill out our client info form and request a consultation. We are happy to work with you to put together a customized package that meet your needs.

What is the difference between a birth doula and a postpartum doula?

Birth doulas provide emotional, physical and informational support during your pregnancy and birth; postpartum doulas provide emotional, physical and informational support during your postpartum period.


Postpartum doulas also work differently than birth doulas. Birth doulas have a more unpredictable and variable schedule: they are available to answer questions over email, phone, and text throughout your pregnancy, and are on call and respond to clients 24-7 when they are in labor. A birth doula is prepared to respond to clients with short notice. You pay a birth doula a flat fee to answer questions and be on call and available to support you no matter when you go into labor and for no matter how short or long you need birth support.


In contrast, postpartum doulas operate on a more fixed schedule, often created before a client gives birth, and are paid an hourly rate. For example, a client may book a package and commit to two morning and two overnight shifts a week for three weeks. The postpartum doula would then build a schedule based on this and the needs of several other clients. This ensures that each client’s needs are being met. This approach also works well with the fluid and unpredictable nature of postpartum - providing some structure to the postpartum recovery period so that clients know ahead of time when they can look forward to postpartum support.

FAQ: FAQ
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