Frequently Asked Questions

What does a doula service include?

Doulas can offer different kinds of support depending on the mother needs.

A birth service includes, as a minimum, two pre-natal meetings (generally within the third trimester), telephonic support from the 38 week, the onset of labour and right through to the end of the birth process ( always with the correspondent medical assistants), as well as two visits during the week following birth. If the doula service is for post-partum, includes several meetings at home, with a frequency and duration established by the mother’s needs and during the 15 days following birth approximately. This is a flexible proposal subject to the mother’s needs and her arrangement with her own doula.

Who substitutes the doula if an unforeseen event takes place during labour?

It is practically impossible to know the exact moment when labour will start. It is for this reason that doulas will arrange for a second doula to be on call as a preventative measure.

Does the Catalan Public Health Service recognise the figure of the doula?

At the present moment the figure of the doula is not recognised by the health system in Catalan Hospitals. Despite this, the role of the doula is becoming more popular and widespread and its acceptance will depend on every particular medical team. Different hospitals have different birth plans and may stick strictly to its regulations.

During a Hospital birth, is the doula allowed to be with the woman? If I’m not allowed to be with her, can I be made to choose between her or my partner?

The current system in Hospitals in Catalunya usually limits the number of people who can be with the mother to one only, who will be choosen by her, without specification to the relationship between them.

The flexibility on this rule varies depending on the Hospital, with some of them allowing only one person with the mother (in which case the mother has to choose who she wants by her side), and others accepting more than one person as long as the birth progresses without any complications.

It is important to know beforehand the Hospital’s birth protocol, to plan accordingly. It is not advisable to add unnecessary stress at the last moment.

The doula´s role is not limited to the moment of birth, but includes the period before and after it. In the event of not being allowed to go into the delivery room, the doula can stay in the waiting room until the baby is born and continue accompanying the mother as long as she might wish.

Is the presence of a doula allowed in a home birth or a Birth Centre?

In a home birth, it is the mother who decides whom she wants to be with during labour, except for medical decisions which are the competence of the midwife or the obstetrician. The presence of a doula is therefore the couple’s decision and one they should discuss beforehand with their midwife.

In a Birth Home or Centre, the doula is generally welcomed and accepted as part of the support system necessary for the mother. Some birth centres even have doulas as part of their team, or require their services on a regular basis.

I have a midwife. Do I also need a doula?

Midwife and doula fulfill different roles, each with their own characteristics, which are not opposed or excluding, but complementing and never a substitute.

I have a doula. Do I also need a midwife?

Absolutely. The midwife is always necessary for birth and the most experienced and qualified person to assist it. In case of giving birth at hospital there is already the pertinent medical team.

What are the doula´s competences? Can she listen to the baby’s heartbeat or perform vaginal examinations?

The competences for a doula basically consist of continuous emotional support for the mother, during labour, the post-partum period and the puerperium at her home.

Doulas from DoulasBarcelona.org follow an ethical code which you can look up in our website.

It is not a doula competence to make medical checks of any kind (vaginal examinations, listening to the baby’s heartbeat, giving medicines, etc.), diagnosis, performing any physical intervention or giving medical advice, even if she is also a medical professional.
Photo by Maria Prestamo, lapelaia(@)hotmail.com
Could my partner feel threaten by the presence of a doula during labour and birth or with her presence at home during the post-partum period?

The reason for having a doula is to make things easier. It is the doulas responsability to explain her role clearly so that the partner can understand that he is never replaced.

Usually, the doula is very welcomed by the partner because he can enjoy much more calmly the childbirth and her partner’s labour.

It is important that all the decisions taken regarding birth and the post-partum are made by both partners in agreement, even though it is of paramount importance for the mother’s needs to be respected at all times.

The doula joins an intimate event, as the process of childbirth and the fragile family balance following the days after the birth, and her loving and discreet accompaniment to the mother and to other members of the family tends to bring serenity, contentment and confidence in all of them.

I am not going to have a physiological birth because I prefer a standard medicalized birth. Can I still have a doula?

Yes. The doula´s role is to accompany the mother and fulfill her needs during birth, regardless of her choice of birth or her specific beliefs on motherhood.

If I know I will have a caesarean, is there much sense in having a doula?

Yes. The presence of a doula is not limited to a specific choice of birth, or the basis on which a choice is made, be it medical or personal reasons. A doula will accompany any women who needs her or wishes to have her in order to experience this event in the best possible way, both for her and her baby.

Doulas Association of Catalonia

Is a space where doulas from Catalunya who share common views and objectives can have a voice and jointly spread their work. However, each doula takes full responsibility for her own work.