Queer Affirming Doula Care
LGBTQ+ Affirming Doula Care

Queer Affirming Doula Care

Families are made of love! And queer families often face challenges that require a lot of intention, creativity, resourcefulness, and planning. Birth First Doulas is committed to providing queer-inclusive doula care for any family who feels they do not fit into the cis-hetero-monogamous-normative box. We love working with families who identify as lesbian parents, gay parents working with a surrogate, bisexual parents, trans parents, poly parents, and non-binary or gender non-conforming folx. Several of our Birth First Doulas are queer identified, sensitive to the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ people, and dedicated to helping every family feel honored and respected in reproductive spaces.

What Is A Doula, Portland

What Is Queer Affirming Doula Care?

Doula care is all about forming a trusted relationship with a birth professional who works just for you, is dedicated to improving your experience, and will respect and celebrate your family. Our doula services provide your family with individualized emotional, informational, and physical support, and we advocate for your unique needs and desires. Queer-affirming doula care includes all of these benefits but goes a few steps further to help ensure a positive experience as your family navigates reproductive spaces and cultures that tend to be very gendered and heteronormative. The advocacy aspect of doula care can look different for queer families depending on their identities, the configuration of their partnerships and families, and the types of biases and assumptions they may face in birthing spaces. A doula can also help locate resources and practitioners for pregnancy, birth, and postpartum services that are inclusive, accepting, and affirming. Everyone has a right to feel supported and respected during the childbirth journey.

Queer-Inclusive Doula Care Focuses On:

  • Understanding your family’s hopes, goals, and preferences for the labor and birth experience.
  • Getting to know your family and how each person identifies if that’s something they want to share.
  • Learning about challenges or harms your family has faced or anticipates facing while in the midst of reproductive spaces and working with medical providers.
  • Informing medical providers of who your partner/s is/are to avoid assumptions or harmful questions.
  • Asking permission before touching and making sure informed consent actually happens.
  • Using the pronouns and vocabulary that you use.
  • Helping to make sure medical providers use the pronouns and vocabulary you want them to use.
  • Gently shutting down medical providers who are inappropriately curious about your family.
  • A focus on providing safe, responsive, affirming treatment.

How Do Doulas Work With Partners & Family?

The role of the partner during labor is essential. Laboring people need to know that their partners are there for them and that they are on this journey together. A doula encourages partners to be the primary source of emotional support and do not attempt to replace the partner’s role.

Most partners are inexperienced with childbirth and unsure of how to offer their loving support during this unique experience. Even the most attentive partner may be overwhelmed by the hospital environment, the changes unfolding in the laboring person, and the emotions that surface in anticipation of the baby’s arrival.

While childbirth educators do their best to equip partners with useful information and techniques, it is just too much to expect partners to remember everything and to know how to assist a person through labor instinctively.

A doula’s knowledge, skills, and expertise allow partners to be less pressured and more present. The doula will offer practical suggestions, information, and techniques as needed, which enables partners to be much more relaxed, loving, and emotionally present. A doula can provide partners with helpful tips along the way and make it possible for partners to take much-needed breaks.

There are also times when the labor or birth process can get intense or when things may take an unexpected turn. In these circumstances, partners may need as much emotional and informational support as the person in labor, and a doula can step in to reassure and care for the entire family.

How To Find A Doula?

The Portland and Vancouver metro areas have a rich and thriving doula community with lots of wonderful doulas to choose from, but all of that choice can be a little overwhelming when you’re unsure of how to find the right doula for you and your family.

That’s where our Birth First Doulas Matchmaker comes into play! Our free matchmaking service gets to know your preferences and helps you narrow down the options, so you can save you time and energy by only interviewing with doulas who are likely to be a great fit!

When interviewing a doula it’s always good to have a list of questions ready and to ask about things that are important to you (e.g., experience level, number of births attended, specialty areas, doula style, etc.), but the level of connection you feel with a doula is equally important and trusting your gut and intuition can be especially helpful in the decision making process. The doula relationship is one of connection and trust, so notice who makes you feel most comfortable, confident, and respected.

What Is A Doula, Portland

Will A Doula Be On-Call For My Birth?

Yes, our Full Doula Package includes on-call services so you can get support right when you need it! When you reach out, your doula will promptly reply. It’s so simple but so important to know that a compassionate and knowledgeable doula is just a text, phone call, or video away.

Being on-call means your doula has her cell phone on at all times and she’ll answer your communications 24/7 once you reach 37 weeks. It also means she is available to show up for in-person, hands-on doula support whenever you go into labor.

Queer Affirming Doula Care

How Do Doulas Work With Medical Providers?

A doula does not perform any medical procedures but does work collaboratively with the hospital staff to create a supportive team atmosphere during your labor and birth.

An experienced doula knows how to create a good rapport with your nurses, midwives, and doctors while simultaneously advocating for your choices, needs, and desires.

A doula helps you to voice your needs and wishes without becoming confrontational or disrespectful, and works to maintain the delicate balance between respecting hospital protocols and ensuring your autonomy.

Are Doulas Covered By Insurance?

Oregon is the only state in the nation that reimburses doula services through the state Medicaid system/Oregon Health Plan. At this time, doula services have to be provided through a Coordinated Care Organization in order to qualify.

While doulas are non-medical providers without specific insurance billing codes, some private pay insurance companies also reimburse for all or part of doulas services depending on the insurance provider and individual plan.

We hope that private pay insurance coverage becomes standard for doula services in the future, but in the meantime families can use their Health Savings Accounts (HSA) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) to pay for a Birth First Doula.

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Many of the photographs on this site were taken by Portland Birth Photographer: Natalie Broders and She Saw Things

Birth First Doulas is proud to be in alliance with Bridgetown Baby & Community Doula Alliance

Doula Service Locations: NW Portland, NE Portland, N Portland, SW Portland, SE Portland, Sellwood, Beaverton, Hillsdale, Tigard, West Slope, Sherwood, Hillsboro, Gresham, Tualatin, Milwaukie, Lake Oswego, West Lynn, Happy Valley, Oregon City, Wilsonville, Oregon, and Vancouver, Camas, Washougal, Washington

Hospitals & Birth Centers We Serve: Kaiser Sunnyside, Kaiser Westside, OHSU, Legacy Good Samaritan, Legacy Emanuel, Legacy Meridian Park, Legacy Salmon Creek, PeaceHealth, Providence Portland, Providence St. Vincent’s, Adventist, Hillsboro Medical Center, WHA Midwifery Birth Center, Andaluz Waterbirth Center, Alma Birth Center, Canyon Birth Center, and Home Births in Portland, Oregon

Doula Service Specialities:  birth doula service, childbirth & parenting classes, newborn classes, certified doulas, natural birth, unmedicated birth, vaginal birth, water birth, epidural assisted birth, birth advocacy, cesarean birth, vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), high risk birth, induction, twins and multiples, previous miscarriage and loss, LGBTQ+ families, body positive, single parents, surrogacy, hospital birth, birth center birth, home birth, and a variety of additional doula services in Portland, Oregon