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, including:
Meet the Doulas
Birth doula postpartum consultations
Peer support circles
Movement/infant massage sessions
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)
create opportunities for group gatherings and community building
Some of the ways that we have adapted for virtual learning include:
Convenient options for pre-recorded or live learning
Supplemental resources, including short video clips modeling positions (conveniently available to re-watch during early labor!)
Virtual learning tools and games to facilitate accessibility and engagement
Expanded timings and offerings to fit your busy schedule and interests
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 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.
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!), 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 with our lactation counselors, 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.
How do I hire you?
The first step is to sign up to attend our Monthly Meet the Doulas information session with this form. You can also watch a recording of a previous session if you do not want to wait for our next session. You can also call the Birth Doula phone line (301-338-8143) Monday-Friday between 9am-5pm to talk to the doula on-call if you have questions.
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. Once home, your postpartum doula will be there to help care for you and baby during your physical recovery.
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.
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.
Are your doulas vaccinated?
Yes. As health care workers, 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.