Is a birthkeeper(aka doula) the same thing as a midwife? What's the difference?
No, they are actually two completely different roles, but they work great together. A midwife is a healthcare provider who has medical training and is focused on the technical aspects during the birth process such as fetal heart tones and your vitals, etc.
As a birthkeeper(aka doula) I do not perform any medical tasks but instead offer mental, physical, and emotional support during the birthing journey to you and your partner. I can focus on your needs and support at all times without the interruptions of having to do the medical tasks. This is why a birthkeeper can be a great addition to your birth support team, even if you're birthing with a midwife.
How can hiring a birthkeeper/doula be beneficial to my birth?
As a birthkeeper, my primary responsibility is you, and I am focused solely on your agenda. My physical support can help you maintain control, comfort, and confidence. Emotional support helps you feel cared for and helps you feel empowerment in your birth. Informational support helps keep you informed during labor and provides you with evidence-based information on your birth options. A birthkeeper's advocacy can help you be heard and supported in your right to make decisions for yourself and your baby. In 2017, a study proved that having continuous support during labor experienced:- 25% decreased risk of a c-section, the largest effect was seen with a doula (39% decrease)- 8% increased likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth, the largest effect was seen with a doula (15% increase)- 10% decreased use of any pain relief medications- shorter labors by an average of 41 minutes - 38% decreased risk of low APGAR scores for baby - 31% decreased risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience
Do you attend freebirth(aka unassisted births)?
I fully believe in autonomy and unhindered physiological birth and support freebirth. I have served other freebirth families and would be honored to support you at yours. It is important to note that while I will provide physical, spiritual, & emotional support during pregnancy, birth, and the fourth trimester, I am not a medical provider and do not perform clinical tasks.
Does a birthkeeper replace a dad's or partner's role at the birth?
A common fear is that hiring a birthkeeper will regate the partner to minor role, but birthkeepers can actually can support the couple by meeting their needs with snacks, reassuring words, and encouragement so the couple can work more intimately together. The birthkeeper may be the only other person beside the partner who is there solely for the emotional well-being of the birthing person. The partner may feel unsure or shy if this is uncharted territory, and I can offer encouragement and ideas of how the partners can participate at their level of comfort by suggesting useful tasks, supporting her in a particular position, or massaging her. I may be an expert about birth support, but your partner knows your personality, likes/dislikes, and needs more deeply and intimately than I ever could.
Does insurance cover the cost of a birthkeeper?
This depends mostly on the insurance company as well as the doula/birthkeeper. Unfortunately, most insurance companies do not cover doulas at this time. There are, however, rare occasions where you might be able to talk with their insurance company and get some of the cost reimbursed. I have dealt with clients that had healthcare share and were able to have my service fee partially covered.