Is hiring a doula really a valuable investment? Here are answers to some common questions to help decide.
Are there really benefits to having a doula?
Yes! There is quantitative and qualitative data that supports the presence of a doula (vs hospital staff or family/friends) at births. And there is no evidence of harm from partnering with a doula.
Clinically, women working with a doula have about 30% reduced use of pitocin (induction drug), are 30% less likely to have a c-section, will typically experience a shorter labour, and be 30% more satisfied with their overall birth experience!
Emotionally, mom has decreased anxiety about the birth, increased confidence in herself, improved postpartum health, and better bonding with baby and family.
*Cochrane Database Syst Rev - Meghan A Bohren , G Justus Hofmeyr , Carol Sakala , Rieko K Fukuzawa and Anna Cuthbert
Online Publication Date: July 2017
What does a Doula "Do"? Will you replace my spouse or other support person?
A doula intuitively and practically does whatever may be needed for mom and partner during labour and birth. The focus is continuous support - mom is never left alone and there are a lot of encouraging words along the way. In addition, a doula acknowledges and encourages the unique experience of your spouse watching your child be born. Here are a few examples of realistic situations which illustrate how a doula can support and enhance your birth team:
A. You go into labour Friday night after dad has worked a 40 - 60+ hour week and it's going to be an all-nighter! He needs a nap, a meal, a break; doula steps in as your immediate support to let dad rest, refresh and re-energize so he can step back and be your best support. You are not left alone. You are 100% supported.
B. You have had back labour for several hours and your partner needs a physical break from applying the counter-pressure you really need. Or, you need a drink to stay hydrated, a cold cloth, your feet rubbed AND someone to hold your hand at the same time. Viola, another set of hands! I step in where needed.
C. Your spouse really wants to be there to support you, but doesn't really know what to do or say (or forgets everything he learned in the childbirth prep class) and is overwhelmed by seeing you go through the extremes of a normal labour. Many men, as natural protectors, really struggle with seeing their spouse experience the physical demands of labour and delivery. A doula gives suggestions and models technique he can use to ease your labour, as well as reassurance of what's happening.
Does having a doula mean only natural/ un-medicated birth? Can you help me in a home birth?
Your ideal birth is about your choices. My job is to support you in having your most satisfying, medically-possible, labour and birth; a healthy outcome for mom and baby is what I am most "biased" about! I am not against medical interventions, because regardless of your preferences, sometimes interventions are necessary for the best outcome. That may be because you want interventions from the start or it may be due to the progress of your labour.
If you have an attending midwife or doctor, I would love to be a part of your birth team at a home birth or birth center. My role as a doula is completely non-medical and I am not a primary caregiver, unlike both a midwife or doctor. If you have the opportunity to work with a midwife, it is very important to start this plan early and make opportunity for your birth team to meet together prior to your due date.