A postpartum doula is a newer trend in postpartum care but offers many benefits for new mothers.
The term doula seems to be synonymous with labor and childbirth. But what many mothers don’t realize is that the first few months in the postpartum period can be even tougher than childbirth itself. These are the times when mothers need the most support. A postpartum doula is not just for first time mothers either. Those with other children at home often need even MORE support to get the rest they so desperately need.
Having help in the first few months after having a baby can greatly reduce the risk of mothers developing postpartum depression.
In an effort to learn more about what a postpartum doula does, I interviewed Lenamarie Gorski, a birth and postpartum doula from Birth With a Voice Doula Service and fellow postpartum depression survivor.
1. What is a doula?
A doula is a person that assists a woman in labor. We support the women emotionally, spiritually and through the pain. A doula also assists women in the postpartum period because “it takes a village” to care for a newborn.
2. What is the difference between a birth doula and a postpartum doula?
A birth doula usually ends after the birth. There is typically one follow up appointment but then the contract ends. The focus is on the birth, pain management and supporting the birthing mom and her partner.
A postpartum doula is strictly for the period after the birth. The focus is on helping with caring for the infant AND mom! I personally try to keep life as normal as possible during my time with a client.
3. What kind of training do postpartum doulas have?
We typically do workshops. You also are trained in infant CPR as well as breastfeeding for help with the new mom. Certification follows up after the training with work to complete from the accrediting company.
4. What tasks does a postpartum doula do?
A postpartum doula typically does light housework, laundry, preps meals and helps with the infant care as well as breastfeeding. Sometimes we go shopping for the client, anything to keep life moving while the new mom is recovering and adjusting to life with a newborn.
5. What type of shifts does a postpartum doula work?
It really depends on the client. The typical shift is nighttime form 7pm-7am. I have had clients change me from night to day as the baby grew/slept longer at night. I sometimes help them until they can find a nanny (I also have trained nannies to the everyday happenings in the home) or it is time for the baby to start daycare.
6. How many months after birth does a postpartum doula provide service for?
Its typically 12 weeks but we can be there up to 6 months with a client depending on the baby’s sleep patterns. The four month sleep regression can sometimes have clients call us back since it can be rough, especially for two parents expected to be at work or when there are older children in the home.
7. Approximately how much does a postpartum doula cost?
It varies. It can be anywhere from $20.00 an hour to $45.00 an hour. You just need to shop around.
8. Are doula services ever covered by private health insurance?
Currently, no. Unfortunately, this has not yet caught on. In NYC they are going to be covering birth doulas with insurance so I’m hoping this is the beginning of an important trend. However, you can always try! You can submit the bill of the doula to your insurance company and see if they will reimburse.
9. What is the best way to find a postpartum doula where I live?
DoulaMatch.net is a great way! Also, word of mouth! Postpartum, birth groups of your area on Facebook or going to a local birth center. Also, Facebook! You can search “doulas” and Facebook pages of local doulas should come up.
10. How can a postpartum doula help a mother with postpartum depression?
Doulas are not medical professionals but we have resources for moms with PPD. We also help them by listening and supporting them through that time to tell them that they are not alone! Whenever I start with a client I always share my story of PPD, to tell them that I am a safe place and I am not here to judge the. Motherhood is hard, sometimes you just need a safe and understanding place to go to and often times doulas provide that safe place.
Any additional information you would like to provide about postpartum doulas?
A postpartum doula is not a nanny, we often get confused by that. We are infant specialists; this covers swaddling, sleeping, nursing, bottle feeding, etc. We are a valuable resource for moms and I really encourage everyone to spread the word and get some help in the postpartum period.
Lenamarie Gorski is a birth/postpartum doula and mother of five from Philadelphia, PA. Before finding her passion as a doula, she finished her degree in biology with a minor in chemistry, while raising her first two children. Feeling like she was pushed into c-sections, as well as her struggle with postpartum depression, encouraged her to begin her training to help other women.
“When you have a baby you need support, love and guidance no matter if it is your first or your fifth child. Never be ashamed to ask for help, it is a sign of strength not weakness.”
If you’re interested in hiring a postpartum doula in the Philadelphia, NJ, or Delaware area – you can contact Lenamarie via her website: www.birthwithavoicedoulaservice.com
You can also purchase her New Mommy Box & Breastfeeding Box online.