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Frequently Asked Questions

Quick answers to questions you may have.

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What support does a Birth Doula offer?

Labor and Birth Doulas provide health education, advocacy, and physical, emotional, and non-medical support before, during, and after childbirth. Their continuity of care includes support during stillbirth, miscarriage, and abortion.

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I have a partner supporting me. Do I need a Doula?

A Doula does not replace your partner! Quite the contrary: we empower them by providing an extra resource so your family can feel confident in your progress, rest as needed, and participate in the labor & delivery to the degree they feel comfortable.  We find that partners are more involved in the process when they have a Doula there to guide them on how to best provide support.

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Is it too early/late to hire a Doula?

Enlisting the help of a Doula earlier in your pregnancy can help make you feel less nervous about the birth and can provide a safe space to share about the pregnancy, ask questions and feel supported. But it’s never too late to sign. I offer a Labor and Birth Support Only package for clients who are finding me late in their pregnancy but still want support during labor. 

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What are the benefits of hiring a Doula?

When people receive support from Doulas, there are measurable improvements in their health and the well-being of their newborns. These benefits include a higher rate of bodyfeeding initiation, a decrease in low-birthweight babies, and a reduced rate of Cesarean births. Doulas play a crucial role in mitigating the negative impacts of racial bias and discrimination within healthcare by offering personalized, patient-focused care and advocacy.

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What's the difference between a Doula, a Midwife, and an OB?

A Midwife is a primary health care provider, while a Doula is a non-medical care provider acting as a childbirth coach. Midwives often replace the role of an OB and deliver babies in various settings for medically normal births, and OBs take the lead on medically complicated births. 

Birth, Doula, Labor,  abortion, BIPOC, Birth center, C-section,  certified, cesarean,  consultation, due date, Epidural, evidence based, fertility, family, Full-spectrum, Gay, GC, Gestational carrier, Guerneville, Healdsburg, home birth, homosexual, Hospital, IUI, IVF, Kaiser, Karen DeCarlo, lesbian, LGBTQ+, marin county, Marin General, Memorial, Midwife, Mill Valley, napa county, Natural, Novato, petaluma, Perinatal, POC, postpartum, Pregnant, Providence, Queer, Same sex, San Francisco, San Rafael, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, sonoma county, Surrogacy, surro-doula, Sutter, UCSF, Ukiah, Unmedicated, woman

What if I am giving birth in a Birth Center or at home?

While I work primarily in hospitals, my priority is meeting my client where they are. I support birth center and home births as a part of a larger care team.

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Can I still work with a Doula if this isn’t my first birth?

Absolutely! Because you’ve done this before you know a bit more about what you want, along with how difficult it can be to speak up and advocate for your decisions while in active labor. If you had a birth experience that was challenging, working with a Doula can help reframe that experience.

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Do you support medicated (ie epidural) births? Cesarean births?

Whatever my clients choose, I support. A Doula can be an incredibly valuable part of your care team during a medicated birth if you’re assessing different induction options or are using an epidural. I can guide you through the epidural placement, and then help you get into positions that are hospital-bed-friendly that can reduce the length of your labor. Doulas also help in a Cesarean birth, working as a support person in the room to keep you and your partner(s) calm and informed.

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I’m a gestational carrier for a surrogacy birth. Can I still work with a Doula?

I offer a specialized birth package for surrogacy births. It includes extended support for both gestational carrier and intended parents, with a fully customized contract based on your needs. This can include assistance in creating a birth plan, prenatal meetings, and of course continuous labor support at your birth location. Doula support is often covered by your agency so be sure to ask! 

Birth, Doula, Labor,  abortion, BIPOC, Birth center, C-section,  certified, cesarean,  consultation, due date, Epidural, evidence based, fertility, family, Full-spectrum, Gay, GC, Gestational carrier, Guerneville, Healdsburg, home birth, homosexual, Hospital, IUI, IVF, Kaiser, Karen DeCarlo, lesbian, LGBTQ+, marin county, Marin General, Memorial, Midwife, Mill Valley, napa county, Natural, Novato, petaluma, Perinatal, POC, postpartum, Pregnant, Providence, Queer, Same sex, San Francisco, San Rafael, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, sonoma county, Surrogacy, surro-doula, Sutter, UCSF, Ukiah, Unmedicated, woman

Is there a charge for our first meeting?

There is no charge for our consultation as this is a great way to meet and find out if you feel comfortable moving forward working together. 

Birth, Doula, Labor,  abortion, BIPOC, Birth center, C-section,  certified, cesarean,  consultation, due date, Epidural, evidence based, fertility, family, Full-spectrum, Gay, GC, Gestational carrier, Guerneville, Healdsburg, home birth, homosexual, Hospital, IUI, IVF, Kaiser, Karen DeCarlo, lesbian, LGBTQ+, marin county, Marin General, Memorial, Midwife, Mill Valley, napa county, Natural, Novato, petaluma, Perinatal, POC, postpartum, Pregnant, Providence, Queer, Same sex, San Francisco, San Rafael, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, sonoma county, Surrogacy, surro-doula, Sutter, UCSF, Ukiah, Unmedicated, woman

Do you accept insurance?

I take Medi-Cal insurance, which is currently the only carrier covering Doula services. Be sure to check with your employer, as Doula services are often covered through them directly, or external benefit platforms like Carrot.

Birth, Doula, Labor,  abortion, BIPOC, Birth center, C-section,  certified, cesarean,  consultation, due date, Epidural, evidence based, fertility, family, Full-spectrum, Gay, GC, Gestational carrier, Guerneville, Healdsburg, home birth, homosexual, Hospital, IUI, IVF, Kaiser, Karen DeCarlo, lesbian, LGBTQ+, marin county, Marin General, Memorial, Midwife, Mill Valley, napa county, Natural, Novato, petaluma, Perinatal, POC, postpartum, Pregnant, Providence, Queer, Same sex, San Francisco, San Rafael, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, sonoma county, Surrogacy, surro-doula, Sutter, UCSF, Ukiah, Unmedicated, woman

What if I go into labor early? 

As soon as we sign our contract I’m your Doula and accessible by phone/text/email whenever you need. My hard call for your birth starts at 38 weeks, and at that time I’ll always have my phone on and will be quick to respond - even if you call at 3am. My commitment is to support you in your birth, so an early labor only impacts how quickly I respond and can get to you. 

Birth, Doula, Labor,  abortion, BIPOC, Birth center, C-section,  certified, cesarean,  consultation, due date, Epidural, evidence based, fertility, family, Full-spectrum, Gay, GC, Gestational carrier, Guerneville, Healdsburg, home birth, homosexual, Hospital, IUI, IVF, Kaiser, Karen DeCarlo, lesbian, LGBTQ+, marin county, Marin General, Memorial, Midwife, Mill Valley, napa county, Natural, Novato, petaluma, Perinatal, POC, postpartum, Pregnant, Providence, Queer, Same sex, San Francisco, San Rafael, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, sonoma county, Surrogacy, surro-doula, Sutter, UCSF, Ukiah, Unmedicated, woman

What if you have an emergency or are pulled away when I go into labor?

My commitment to my clients is to be available on hard call from 38 weeks until the baby arrives, getting to you within 2 hrs of your request for me to join (depending on birth location). That being said: life happens! I might get an injury or have a family emergency that would impact this timing or my ability to serve you. I work with a backup doula for just these cases, who can cover for me until I am able to join. Backup is something I arrange, so as to remove the burden from my client, and I’m happy to set up an intro meeting with my backup Doula at any time during our prenatal meetings. 

Birth, Doula, Labor,  abortion, BIPOC, Birth center, C-section,  certified, cesarean,  consultation, due date, Epidural, evidence based, fertility, family, Full-spectrum, Gay, GC, Gestational carrier, Guerneville, Healdsburg, home birth, homosexual, Hospital, IUI, IVF, Kaiser, Karen DeCarlo, lesbian, LGBTQ+, marin county, Marin General, Memorial, Midwife, Mill Valley, napa county, Natural, Novato, petaluma, Perinatal, POC, postpartum, Pregnant, Providence, Queer, Same sex, San Francisco, San Rafael, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, sonoma county, Surrogacy, surro-doula, Sutter, UCSF, Ukiah, Unmedicated, woman

What if my birth goes long? Will it cost me more?

No. My work during labor is very physical, and I might need to tag in my backup to help in the event of a long labor so I can rest and return to you refreshed. For unusually long labors, clients are encouraged to consider additional compensation, but I do not charge by the hour after your birth hits a certain time threshold.

Phone: 508.364.8424
Email: karen@fermatabirth.com

Sonoma | Marin | Napa


 



 

2024 BY FERMATA BIRTH. DESIGN BY SAMANTHA FERGUSON

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