January 11, 2022

Do I Need a Doula?

Are you considering hiring a doula for your birth or postpartum? We think that’s great! Figuring out your support system is important and a doula could be the perfect addition. We have found that first-time mothers greatly benefit from the help of a doula especially. The doula is able to be present with the mother during early labor in her own home, which can help labor progress more smoothly.

What is a Doula?

While there are many different types of doulas, today we will be specifically talking about birth and postpartum doulas. Doulas are professional birth workers who provide prenatal education, emotional and physical support during labor and delivery, and usually at least one postpartum visit. They will be your advocate and will help amplify your voice.

Benefits of a Doula

Hiring a doula has many benefits, including showing your partner ways that they will be able to support you too. Furthermore, research has shown that when a doula is present for labor and delivery, women report higher positive birth experiences and are less likely to have pain medication and require a c-section.

Emotional Support

Doulas specialize in emotional support. When you are in transition and thinking “I can’t do this,” your doula will encourage you to keep going, and dispel those negative thoughts. They will lift your spirits with birth mantras and let you know how absolutely fantastic you are doing in bringing your baby into the world.

Physical Support

Doula using essential oils to help create a relaxing environment.

Doulas can provide physical support by:

  • Applying counter pressure during contractions
  • Positional changes
  • Assistance in getting in and out of the birth tub
  • Use of a traditional Mexican rebozo
  • Creating a welcoming environment
  • Bringing water to the laboring person

Informational Support

Education and information is important during labor and delivery. If you don’t understand what is happening, you may become fearful or anxious which may cause your labor to stall. A doula can help explain what is going on in clear terms. They can provide guidance during pregnancy and suggest laboring techniques. They will be able to time your contractions, follow your progression, and know when to call the midwives.

Advocacy Support

Doula performing a hip squeeze to a laboring woman.

During your pregnancy, your birth doula will go over your birth plan with you and get to know your preferences and what you would like to avoid. When it comes time for birth, they will be able to communicate with the midwives if you are not able to. They will support your decisions and help you feel confident that you know what is best for your family.

Postpartum Doulas

Postpartum doulas can help ease the transition of bringing a new baby into the world. They can offer:

  • Breastfeeding support
  • Sibling care
  • Light cleaning
  • Running errands
  • Family bonding
  • Meal preparations

Some doulas may even offer placenta encapsulation to help ward off postpartum depression.

While Searching For a Doula

When trying to find the right doula for you, ask your midwife for recommendations. During your interviews, you may want to find out:

Doula using a traditional Mexican rebozo to support laboring woman.
  • If they are certified (Doulas who are not certified can still provide exceptional service, certifications are just an added layer of confidence in their skills and education)
  • How many births they have attended
  • What their birth philosophy is
  • Ask for references
  • The cost for their expertise

If you are having a hard time trying to figure out how to afford a doula, you have a few options. First, see if your insurance provider or HSA/FSA will cover hiring a doula. Next, consider hiring a doula who is just starting out. Newer doulas have less experience and as such charge less. You can also ask your doula if they have a payment plan option to help ease the burden of paying all at once. Lastly, ask your friends and family for contributions to hiring a doula as a gift.

Can My Partner be My Doula?

Of course! What better person to cheer you on and be your advocate than your partner? However, most people still benefit greatly from hiring a doula as they can offer their expertise. Would your partner know how to do a hip squeeze or use the rebozo? Can they give you different laboring positions to try? What if they need to rest or use the bathroom? While partners are great for providing emotional support, they often lack informational and educational support.

What if I Don’t Hire a Doula?

If you don’t want to hire a doula, that is perfectly fine. Some people prefer to have close friends or family members present instead. What matters is that you feel comfortable with your support system. Many of our staff members are doulas and can provide much of the support that a doula would.

This is your birth. You can customize it to your vision, including who you want in your support system. Whether you decide on hiring a doula or not, you are in great hands with My Family Birth Center.

If you would like recommendations on local doulas, get in touch with us today.

Dakota Collins
Dakota Collins is a freelance writer and stay-at-home mother of two precious little girls who is passionate about freedom in pregnancy and childbirth.
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