9 Virtual Doula Services To Support You Through Pregnancy & Beyond
I can't imagine how scary it would be if I were pregnant right now —not being able to attend classes, and potentially not even having my husband in the room in some places if I were to labor in a hospital. Thankfully, there are virtual doula services being offered to ensure you're not alone, and to help you feel prepared to have a healthy, safe labor — whether that's in a hospital or at home, all thanks to doulas taking their work online.
So how does a "virtual doula" work? "A virtual doula can provide support via any combination of messenger support, whether it's FaceTime, a Zoom call (with more than one party if needed), etc., in addition to the standard support before heading to the hospital," says Nichole Joy, a digital doula and online childbirth educator based in Tampa. And Joy was actually a "virtual doula" before any global disaster happened. She tells Romper that she decided to be a virtual doula because "there is a gap in support for the families that choose not to hire a traditional birth doula, for various reasons. There are families in rural locations without access to a birth doula and others that simply don't want another person at their birth."
Though she's been a birth doula for nine years, Ryah Jo Silvernagel, birth doula and childbirth educator at Expecting Joy says she's been a "virtual doula" for about three weeks now. After everyone was asked to start social distancing, Silvernagel says, "This was when I and many other fellow members of my birth community decided to offer our services online. For my clients and me, the need to change and adapt was a necessity. These are scary times, but where there's a will, there is a way."
She says that while the way you receive the support is very different, the ways she and other doulas are supporting moms-to-be virtually is still the same. There's advocacy, education, encouragement, empathy, compassion, and a "working knowledge of comfort measures."
Silvernagel believes that virtual groups will continue to grow and adapt to meet the needs of their communities. So if you're a mom-to-be looking for some extra support, this list is here to help.
MotherBirth offers a childbirth virtual class, and holistic birth doula Tiffany Wyatt says the class is called "Comfort Measures," which "goes over the basics of birth — what it looks like and sounds like, what to expect based on your birth location and provider," teaches different comfort measures, tips, and tricks for partners, and "how to advocate for your partner or your self through birth so you can achieve a birth in which you feel empowered and in control the entire time, no matter the birth outcome."
Cost: FREE. Limited to 100 participants.
2. The Happiest Doulas
The Happiest Doulas offer in their virtual support package access to a membership portal, where you'll find "evidence-based information to enhance your pregnancy and postpartum experience," unlimited text and email support, a virtual "birthday planning session," the ability to discuss birth plans, and labor and birth doula support virtually by phone, video or text, anytime per the website.
3. The Nurturing Root
The Nurturing Root offers comprehensive "birth boot camp" classes, training for a home birth, training for a hospital birth, a "Comfort Measures" class for partners, a fitness and food program, a "Home Coming" class for what happens after baby comes home, a breastfeeding class, and even relaxation and visualization downloads for "pregnancy, birth, and beyond."
Cost: Prices vary depending on the class.
4. DC Metro Maternity
Certified birth doula, postpartum doula, childbirth educator, and owner of DC Metro Maternity Samantha Griffin tells Romper, “We're adapting our curriculum that focuses on preparation for birthing in the hospital and both natural and medical ways to cope with labor." Each class is private and can be tailored to what each couple needs to know, she says.
Cost: $110 for a 3 hour class, per couple.
5. Nichole Joy, Digital Doula
Nicole Joy, Digital Doula offers birth classes as either a live video call, or a self-paced online class. "Prenatal visits are via video calls, and tend to provide deeper emotional support, holding space, answering questions, and empowering families to make their own decisions regarding their care," Joy explains. Additional services are offered during labor, where "virtual support is unique to each family's needs," she says.
"It may be a live interactive video call for most (or all) of birth. Or, a combination of video calls, audio calls and messenger support."
Cost: $197 but if you use the code SAVE100, you can get the package for $97.
6. Arrivals Doula Services
Arrivals Doula Services offers via Skype, FaceTime or Zoom, a free 30 minute consultation; two prenatal meetings to discuss a birth plan, options, and to answer questions; unlimited text and email availability for non-medical questions, on-call phone support during labor to help answer questions, and a 1-hour postpartum meeting to answer questions and "talk through your birth experience," per the website.
A La Carte options include:
- One 60-minute call $75.00.
- Three 60-minute calls $225.00.
- Six 60-minute calls $425.00.
7. Jennifer Wert, Virtual Doula
Jennifer Wert, Virtual Doula offers consultations with mom, the couple, and the person who will act as the local doula (if applicable). She'll help come up with questions for your health care provider, give you "a review of medical interventions, options, risks and benefits; a review of tools to ease discomfort and help labor to progress; exercises given for deep breathing and connecting with baby; assistance writing and editing a simple birth plan; distance reiki sent prenatally as well as during labor; custom on-screen childbirth classes; consultations postpartum for processing your birth story; and calls to discuss inevitable questions during fourth trimester," per the website.
- One 30 minute call: $40
- One 55 minute call: $80
- Three 55 minute calls: $225
- Six 55 minute calls: $430
8. That’s Major! Virtual Postpartum Doulas
That's Major! offers a monthly membership "so families know they have a reliable, certified postpartum doula in their back pocket at all times," says Mandy Major, certified postpartum doula and CEO of the company.
"After signing up, you have a 1:1 relationship with your doula with a weekly video chat and 24/7 texting," she says. "We want you off Dr. Google and online forums and talking with us, because we’re going to give you evidence-based information and the most up-to-date, trusted techniques and recommendations."
"Information overload is very real, and very challenging, for new parents. We’re here to cut out that noise while we support and care for you."
Cost: $49/week, which includes weekly 35-minute video chat, daily texting, and a postpartum resource guide.
9. Expecting Joy
At Expecting Joy, Silvernagel moved her usual prenatal home visits to a virtual "mode of transportation" by using GoToMeeting. And she continues educating online by demonstrating different moves, massages done by partners, and "optimal baby positioning techniques" in the online meetings. In addition to prenatal checks and virtual home visits, her online classes include a childbirth education class, breastfeeding basics, and newborn care.
Cost: $925, which includes 3 virtual prenatal meetings, length of labor virtual support, a mini CPR class after baby is born, and a postpartum meal.