Miscarriage Doulas: How They Work, Costs & FAQs

Updated

So many parts of life get swept under the rug, especially some of the most challenging things a person can go through. Pregnancy usually isn’t as straightforward as it can seem from the outside. There can be ups and downs, twists and turns. 

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An estimated 26% of all pregnancies result in miscarriage, a pregnancy loss that occurs before 20 weeks gestation. Despite miscarriage being a relatively common pregnancy outcome, it’s not discussed very often. 

This leaves people who experience a miscarriage left in the dust with little to no support. Their family members, partner, or close friends might not know how to support them through their loss.

Luckily, some people specialize in perinatal bereavement care, including miscarriage doulas. We’re here to give you insight into what a miscarriage doula is, what they do, and how to find one. 

Definition of a Miscarriage Doula

To clear up any confusion, a doula is not a medical professional. While most doulas have gone through training and have experience in the field, they are not nurses, midwives, or OB/GYNs, unless they have separate licensing or certifications. 

People typically think of a doula as someone who supports pregnant people and their partners through labor, birth, and sometimes postpartum. But that’s not all they do. 

There are many different types of doulas: birth doulas, postpartum doulas, death doulas, and of course, miscarriage doulas. Some doulas identify as “full-spectrum doulas.” These practitioners typically serve their clients throughout their reproductive journey, including if they face a pregnancy loss.

A miscarriage doula is someone that supports, holds space, and comforts a person and their partner through the journey of miscarriage. Typically, a miscarriage doula also serves as a general pregnancy loss doula, supporting people through abortion or stillbirth, too.

What Does a Miscarriage Doula Do?

The great thing about doulas is that they fit in where you need them to. They know how to mold their skillset to their particular client’s needs at any given time. A miscarriage doula understands that while they’re there to comfort their client through their miscarriage, this experience is about the pregnant person and the family, not about the doula.

People reach out to miscarriage doulas at different points in their pregnancy. Sometimes people can anticipate a miscarriage or know that it is coming within the next week or so and can plan ahead a little. More often than not, miscarriages take the pregnant person by surprise.

People who learn ahead of time that they’ll face a miscarriage can find a miscarriage doula beforehand. In this case, the doula can create a plan with their client beforehand. That can include anything they might need during and after their miscarriage, possibly meal prepping and planning, emotionally preparing them for what they’re about to face, and just being there for them.

Still, doulas are used to acting on the fly. They know that their clients may need them at the drop of a hat and are prepared to meet them no matter how much time they’re given beforehand. When a miscarriage doula is contacted last minute, they can meet their client, either virtually or in person, and provide what comfort they can through the miscarriage.

Another vital role of miscarriage doulas is aftercare. Doulas can check in with you the next day, the next week, and even the next month to make sure you’re healing OK, both physically and emotionally. They’re there to help make the transition to “regular life” a little easier after such a jolting loss. 

What does a miscarriage doula actually do before, during, and after their client has a miscarriage? Here are just a few of the many roles a miscarriage doula can fill:

  • Making sure their client stays hydrated and fed 
  • Emotionally supporting the partner or family members if any are present
  • Easing discomfort through heat packs, massage, acupressure, and other modalities 
  • Virtual support if they can’t be there in person
  • “Holding space” so their client can move through their miscarriage
  • Helping their client emotionally process the miscarriage
  • Being part of their emotional support system 
  • Creating a calm space during the miscarriage
  • Providing them with resources and information about any medical questions they may have and referring them to a specialist when appropriate 
  • Watching for signs of postpartum depression or other mental health warnings

Just like doulas aren’t medical professionals, most of them aren’t mental health professionals either. Postpartum depression and other mental health disorders can be triggered by miscarriage and pregnancy loss. A miscarriage doula knows how to watch for these signs and refer them to a mental health provider when their client’s needs are outside their scope of practice.

Some doulas have further certifications, such as acupuncture, bodywork, yoga, and nutrition. When appropriate, they can combine these skills with their doula practice to further support their clients. 

Who Typically Uses a Miscarriage Doula?

Any person who has experienced a miscarriage may use a miscarriage doula. While doulas are growing in popularity, many people don’t realize that some doulas also specialize in pregnancy loss. 

Even then, doulas are typically more readily available for people who have the resources to pay for them, as well as the knowledge that they exist. This is why it’s essential to have these discussions so that people know their options and get the support they need through their most difficult moments. 

What Are the Benefits of a Miscarriage Doula?

Having a miscarriage doula can be the difference between having a difficult yet manageable experience and feeling lost through the process. Whether or not you’ve experienced a miscarriage, think of your most difficult experiences in life. How much of a difference would it have made if you had a trained professional who was adept at helping you navigate through that experience? 

That’s the importance of a miscarriage doula. The benefits of having a miscarriage doula are having emotional, physical, and sometimes spiritual support through one of your most difficult experiences. 

Here are some other benefits of a miscarriage doula:

  • Lowering the risk of developing postpartum depression and anxiety
  • Having a resource who can answer your questions about your body and the process of miscarriage
  • Helping to ease the physical discomfort of a miscarriage
  • Helping you feel less alone after your loss

You now understand the importance of having a miscarriage doula, but how do you find one, and how much do they cost?

How Much Do Miscarriage Doulas Cost?

Doula care is not a regulated industry, meaning that there is no set cost for hiring a doula. That being said, most doulas in certain areas have a unanimously agreed-upon price range that reflects the cost of living of their area.

A miscarriage doula can range anywhere from free to $1,200 and sometimes more. The average amount a miscarriage doula charges is around $500. They might charge a separate hourly rate for any postpartum hours they then provide. 

While the price of a doula can seem high, most doulas are not making tons of money. Their price reflects the training they’ve been through, the experience they have, the fact that most own their own business and pay for their own supplies, and that most doulas can only take on a couple of clients at a time since they’re on call. 

Quite a few organizations provide pro-bono or sliding-scale doula support for miscarriages and pregnancy loss. Many doulas also have a sliding-scale system built into their payment structure so that they can provide care to those who need it. 

How to Find a Doula That Helps With Miscarriage

Finding a miscarriage doula can be tricky, especially since you often need one last minute. If you’re pregnant, it can be helpful to know what your options are ahead of time or hire a birth doula that also provides loss support just in case. 

A quick internet search can help you find a doula in your area. You can also try one of these directories where doulas post their services and whether or not they specialize in miscarriage.

Another way to find a doula is through social media and word of mouth. Try finding pregnancy loss or doula groups in your area. If you can’t find a local doula who meets your needs and you feel drawn to, most also offer virtual services so they can support you from wherever. 

How Do You Become a Doula Who Helps With Miscarriage

If you’re someone who loves to nurture, support, and be there for people through life’s most intense and intimate moments, this might be the job for you. A miscarriage doula is one of the many jobs that deal with death

It’s challenging work, and many people shy away from it. But if you feel drawn towards becoming a miscarriage doula, you have something valuable to offer in the field.

So how do you become a miscarriage doula? Some people never go through training. They might have experienced a miscarriage of their own or supported a family member or friend through a miscarriage and then created a career out of it. 

While training isn’t necessary, it certainly is valuable. Here are a few resources you can check out:

You’ll notice that most of these courses say “full-spectrum doula.” Many trainings are geared toward preparing doulas for supporting their clients through birth and any outcome of pregnancy, including miscarriage.

Here Through it All: Miscarriage Doulas

If you’re facing or have faced a miscarriage, know that you will get through this, and your experience will be that much easier if you can give yourself the support you need and deserve.

For people looking to become a miscarriage doula, your skills and passion are so needed in this field. Pregnancy loss is something no one should face alone. You never know what difference you can make in someone’s life by taking the time to answer this call. 


Source:
  1. Dugas, Carla, and Valori H Slane. “Miscarriage.” Stat Pearls Publishing, NCBI, 29 January 2021. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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