Doula FAQ | Facts & Questions
WHAT IS A DOULA? A doula is a trained professional labor companion who provides a woman and her partner continuous emotional support, physical comfort measures and assistance in obtaining information before, during and after childbirth. For more information regarding professional doulas, please check out the DONA website.
WHAT IS YOUR TRAINING & CERTIFICATION? I completed birth doula training and the certification process through DONA International in February 2009. I am a certified birth doula, CD(DONA), and current on my certification. I completed postpartum doula training through DONA International in May 2011. I have taken the following continuing education workshops: Advanced Doula Training, Politics Boundaries & Change, Rebozo Connection: Gena Kirby, and The Use of TENS In Labor. I am also a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), through the State Medical Board of Ohio (1998), and a member of the AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association). I have completed continuing education hours for Massage Therapy in prenatal and postpartum massage, massage labor support and infant massage.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH BIRTH, PROFESSIONALLY AND PERSONALLY? I began attending pregnant massage clients' labors and a few births soon after I became a massage therapist. I have been a birth doula since 2000 (on/off during my pregnancies). In 2009 I began attending births full-time as a certified birth doula. I have experience with As a doula I have experience with unmedicated/low-tech birth, medicated birth, induction, cesarean birth, breech position, VBAC, single mothers, older first time mothers, young mothers, surrogacy, bed-rest, high-risk pregnancy, preterm infants and families with fertility issues and health concerns. I have a special interest in working with LGBTQ families
Our son was born at Grant hospital in April 2002. Our first daughter, born July 2004, unfortunately passed away soon after her birth. She was born with Potter's Syndrome, a condition in which her body never formed kidneys/bladder. While this was an incredibly heartbreaking experience for our family, we were happy to have had her in our lives. We welcomed our second daughter on a sunny August day in 2005. My husband and I were fortunate to have a doula with us at each of our births!
WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY ABOUT CHILDBIRTH & DOULA SUPPORT? I believe that every family deserves continuous support throughout labor & delivery, as well as access to evidence-based information to make informed decisions with their consent. I am a doula because I love the birth process, but also because I believe families have the right to a supported birth experience, where they are an empowered part of the birthing team. As a doula, I do not make decisions for you or give you advice. I am there to support you, emotionally and physically, and help you access information as needed. I view the advocacy portion of doula support as assisting each client to feel confident in making their voice heard throughout pregnancy and birth. There is not one way to have a good birth - there are many different paths to that destination!
DO YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE WORKING WITH DIFFERENT TYPES OF BIRTHS AND CHILDBIRTH EDUCATION COURSES? I have experience working with the following childbirth education courses: Lamaze, The Bradley Method, Hypnobirthing, Hypnobabies, Birthing From Within, and Waterbirth International.
DO WE MEET BEFORE LABOR? During our two prenatal meetings we will get to know each other, discuss your labor and delivery options, and work together to create a personalized preference list (if desired). We will also discuss the role you would like me to play in your birth, comfort measures, what to expect at the hospital, breastfeeding/bottle-feeding, and any other questions that you might have. You can read more about my services on my doula services page.
MAY I CONTACT YOU WITH QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS BEFORE & AFTER MY BIRTH? Certainly. Normally, we will be in regular phone/email/text contact with each other in the weeks preceding labor. You can let me know how you are feeling, care provider visit updates, and ask any questions you might have. After birth you are welcome to contact me for questions or for community referrals. We will also work on scheduling our postpartum visit, within six weeks after your birth.
HOW MAY I PAY FOR YOUR SERVICES? Payment for services may be made via personal check or cash. A receipt will be provided if requested.
AT WHICH HOSPITALS HAVE YOU ATTENDED BIRTHS? I have attended births at Grady (Delaware), St. Ann’s (Westerville), Grant (Columbus), Riverside (Columbus), OSU (Columbus), Dublin Methodist (Dublin), Memorial (Marysville), and Licking Memorial (Newark).
DO YOU ATTEND HOMEBIRTHS? No, I do not attend homebirths.
HOW MANY DOULA CLIENTS DO YOU ACCEPT EACH MONTH? I accept one doula client every 4-6 weeks. In June of 2016 I accepted a position as an office manager. Due to my full-time position I am only able to accept a limited number of doula clients. My employer is very flexible and allows me to leave for births whenever needed.
HOW MANY BIRTHS HAVE YOU ATTENDED? I have been a professional doula for ten years. As of 4/05/2017, I have attended 228 births.
WHAT ARE YOUR RECENT BIRTH STATS? Please note that I support clients who have a wide variety of labor and delivery plans. Not every client plans an un-medicated or vaginal birth.
22 vaginal births
3 cesarean birth
11 epidural (includes cesareans)*
9 first time mothers
16 second (or more) time mothers
27 vaginal births
2 cesarean birth
10 epidural (includes cesareans)*
1 set of twins
12 first time mothers
17 second (or more) time mothers
4 vaginal births
1 cesarean birth
3 epidural (includes cesareans)*
2 first time mothers
3 second (or more) time mothers
18 vaginal births
10 cesarean birth
17 epidural (includes cesareans)*
17 first time mothers
11 second (or more) time mothers
22 vaginal birth
6 cesarean births
14 epidural (includes cesareans)*
17 first time mothers
11 second (or more) time mothers
WHEN WILL YOU JOIN ME IN LABOR? That is entirely up to you. I ask that you call me with your first signs of labor, even if you do not need me, so that I can line up childcare and prepare to be with you. I am happy to join you any time after early labor, when you are having progressive contractions and need my support. I am there to support you when you need me, however long it takes. For inductions I typically meet you at the hospital when you check-in to help you get started. Depending on the induction plan and your needs, I may stay at the hospital or go home until you request me to return. There is no additional fee for extended labors.
DO YOU COME TO OUR HOUSE OR MEET US AT THE HOSPITAL? It's your choice whether I join you at your home, or meet you at the hospital. Typically I come to your home first, spend time with you in labor, and drive separately to the hospital.
WILL WE MEET AFTER MY BIRTH? I will come to your home for one postpartum visit. We will review your birth together, discuss breastfeeding/bottle-feeding and your personal recovery, answer any questions you might have, and enjoy your new baby. The timing of this visit is your choice. We typically meet in the first one to two weeks postpartum. You have until six weeks postpartum to schedule this visit. I also provide a written birth timeline from your birth.
DO YOU HAVE A BACKUP DOULA? I will always provide a qualified backup doula for my clients. While I do have two primary backup doulas, there is a chance I may need another qualified doula for backup support. You are welcome to speak with either of my primary backup doulas over the phone, send an email, or schedule an in-person meeting. I do my very best to attend every client's birth, but circumstances may arise which would make me unable to be your doula (serious illness/emergency, attendance at another birth). No doula is able to 100% guarantee they will attend your birth - but we all do our very best!
WHAT DOES ON-CALL MEAN? I am on-call for your birth from 38-42 weeks. I will still attend your birth if you deliver before 38 weeks, barring attendance at another birth or serious illness/emergency. When I am on-call for a client I do not go out of town (unless previously discussed with you), stay out late, drink in excess, or do anything else that would make me less than able to quickly be ready to attend a birth. My phone is always charged and I sleep with it next to my bed. I will answer urgent/labor phone calls and texts day or night. All non-urgent phone calls and texts should be sent during normal day-time hours (7:00am-9:00pm).
ARE YOU OKAY WITH PETS? Yes. I have a large dog and three indoor cats. I love animals big and small.
DO YOU OFFER A REDUCED RATE? My fees reflect my professional training, certification, continuing education, professional liability insurance, and experience. As a self-employed individual my fees also cover taxes and business expenses. Doula work is physically and emotionally demanding, and requires my entire family to be flexible with being on-call. I do not offer a reduced rate for my doula services. If needed, I am happy to work with you to create an extended payment plan. Please contact me if you would like a referral to a lower-cost newly trained doula.
ARE DOULA SERVICES COVERED BY INSURANCE? As a doula, I am a not a medical professional and unable to bill insurance companies for reimbursement. I can provide a business receipt for you to submit to your insurance company. There are some companies which may reimburse you for doula fees. Doula services can often be paid through a flexible spending account (FSA/HSA).
DO YOU HAVE ANY REQUIREMENTS FOR CLIENTS? Yes. My contract covers the items, listed below, that I require of my clients.
- Complete and mail back contract, intake form and deposit at time of hire.
- Inform the client’s care provider that Jenn Elfner will be their doula.
- Take a childbirth education course, of the client’s choosing. If you have already completed a childbirth education course during another pregnancy that is sufficient.
- Keep the doula informed of client and baby health updates throughout pregnancy, and any changes to labor and delivery plans.
- Contact the doula before scheduling an induction and/or c-section to ensure the doula is available. If the client does not contact the doula prior to scheduling an induction and/or c-section, the doula may already have another client scheduled for that date.
- Contact the doula with any early signs of labor (as discussed during prenatal visits), and as soon as the client thinks she may be in labor. In addition to answering questions and making suggestions over the phone, I need time to make arrangements for my family.
- Allow the doula up to two (2) hours to reach the client’s home or hospital after the client requests her presence.
- Will not plan or attempt an unassisted homebirth. I do not attend unassisted homebirths. In the event of a rapid birth where there is not time to drive to the hospital, either myself or another person attending the birth will call EMS.
DO YOU HAVE REFERENCES? You can read feedback I have received from former doula clients on my testimonials page. I can also provide you with a few referrals who can be contacted via email regarding my services.
WHAT IS YOUR COVERAGE AREA? I live in northern Delaware county and provide services within a 40 mile radius of my home. On occasion I offer my services outside that 40 mileage radius, for an additional extended mileage fee. Areas of coverage include: Delaware, Ostrander, Powell, Lewis Center, Marysville, Galena, Worthington, Westerville, Dublin, Bexley, Clintonville, Campus, German Village, Downtown, New Albany, Gahanna, Grandview and Hilliard. Please contact me with any questions.