Frequently Asked Questions
What is a doula?
A doula is a person, often formally trained or certified, who provides physical, emotional, and informational support to individuals and families during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. Doulas can specialize further—some of the specialization areas are listed below. A person doing this type of work may also choose to use a different title other than doula, such as “birth companion” or “promotora.”
Community-Based Doula: Community-based doulas are birth workers serving families within varying communities that center African descended people, Indigenous families, and people of color. Community-Based Doulas understand the importance of seeing a birthing individual, baby, and partner as a connected unit. This support is responsive to the whole birth experience and considers how physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual experiences impact pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum period. Community-Based Doulas serve in a human rights framework to ensure that all people and families have access to safe, dignified, and culturally relevant care geared toward elevating the platforms of health equity, reproductive justice, and all stages of maternal health. (Source: “Advancing Birth Justice: Community-Based Doula Models as a Standard of Care for Ending Racial Disparities.” March 25, 2019)
Birth: Specializes in supporting the childbirth experiences of birthing families, including continuous support during labor. Birth doulas also provide education on and support in preparing for birth and early postpartum, as well as exploring available options and supporting self-advocacy.
Postpartum: Specializes in supporting the family transitioning with a new baby or babies during the postpartum period. Postpartum doula visits may include an opportunity for the family to review the birth experience, information about newborn care, emotional support, breastfeeding support, postpartum wellness treatments (light massage, belly wrapping, etc), and more.
Loss: Specializes in supporting families anticipating or experiencing the loss of a pregnancy or infant.
Abortion: Specializes in supporting people navigating the system to receive abortion care and during an abortion.
Fertility: Specializes in supporting people in the preconception period through education, information, and support around conception.
Full Spectrum: A full-spectrum doula supports people through all stages of the reproductive process, including miscarriage, abortion, pregnancy, birth, postpartum, stillbirth, and more.
There are also prenatal, adoption, and death/end-of-life doulas.
Can the NMDA get me a doula? Can I hire a doula through NMDA?
NMDA is an organization focused on education, access, advocacy, and social justice. We do not provide doulas to individuals. If you are looking for a doula in your area, check out our directory, which will be published later in 2019.
I want to become a doula. What should I do?
We will soon have a blog post on becoming a doula in New Mexico, but for now, the short answer is:
Find a training: There are both in person trainings (both CAPPA, DONA and Tewa Women United host in person trainings in New Mexico) and online. It is important to find a training that aligns with your goals, values, and ideas about providing support during the perinatal period.
More to come!
Can I join the NMDA as a member?
As of February 2019, we are operating as a steering committee with small committees focused on specific projects, which you are more than welcome to join. We hope to move to an accessible membership model at some point. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining the steering committee.
Does the NMDA train doulas?
Not at this time.
Does the NMDA certify doulas?
No, it does not.
Does the NMDA have any oversight over the work, care provided by, or behavior of doulas in the state of New Mexico?
Can I complain about a doula to the NMDA?
No, the NMDA does not provide oversight for doula practice.
Consider respectfully and constructively sharing your complaint with the doula themselves or working with a neutral mediator and the doula to resolve the issue. Otherwise, you can file a complaint against a certified doula with the doula's certifying organization. If the person in question is part of a group doula practice, you can also file a complaint with the practice’s director or coordinator.
Does the NMDA have a mentoring program for new or aspiring doulas?
What does birth justice mean?
The term birth justice comes out of a wider movement of reproductive justice, a term that was coined by Loretta Ross, co-founder and National Coordinator of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective from 2005-2012. Birth justice refers to:
empowering people to make healthy decisions for themselves and their babies during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period,
the right of birthing people to choose with whom, when, and where they will birth, and
increasing access to respectful, personalized care and culturally appropriate support
(see Black Women Birthing Justice, www.blackwomenbirthingjustice.org/what-is-birth-justice, and Reproductive Justice: An Introduction by Loretta Ross and Ricki Solinger, www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520288201/reproductive-justic and Tewa Women United: Birth Justice in Northern New Mexico https://vimeo.com/261015523)
Why is the NMDA an equity-focused organization?
During the years of visioning and organizing the NMDA, equity became a central point of focus in the work. Our birth equity focus is line with doulas, midwives, nurses, and physicians in New Mexico and across the country who work towards a context in which all people receiving care during reproductive experiences are treated with respect and have their wishes and experiences honored..
Will insurance in the state of New Mexico cover doula services of any kind?
Doula care is not currently a form of care that insurance providers must, as mandated by state or federal requirements, reimburse. No person providing doula care in the state of New Mexico is currently known to be contracted with insurance providers as an in-network doula provider at this time. Some families who have received doula care have successfully received reimbursement through their insurance plan or health spending account (HSA) by submitting a request and an invoice reflecting their payment to their doula.
New Mexico Medicaid does not currently reimburse or cover doula services.
How is a doula different than a midwife or a monitrice?
A doula is a professional trained to support the emotional and physical experience of the birthing family, helping them to advocate for themselves and gain access to resources. Professional doulas are not licensed or certified by any regulatory body to provide medical care. Health care assessments, diagnosis, and treatment are not part of a doula’s training. Professional doulas are not licensed care providers, but they can become certified by doula training organizations.
A midwife is a professional trained and licensed within a legal jurisdiction to provide primary medical care, diagnosis, advice, and assessment to pregnant, birthing, and postpartum people, as well as to people at other phases of the reproductive lifespan. Midwives generally provide care to those who are considered low-risk, but may also provide co-care for those needing higher levels of medical care.
A monitrice is a professional, such as a nurse or other health professional, licensed and trained to provide clinical assessments during labor to the birthing person. A monitrice is not a primary care provider.
How do doulas work with doctors, midwives and nurses?
A doula is a valuable member of a professional team made up of people who share the same goals of providing quality care to new parents and ensuring safe births of healthy babies. A doula is able to support communication between their client and their client's healthcare providers. Doulas work to build trusting and respectful relationships amongst the client, family and team of providers.