Post # 1
We have been considering hiring a doula who is also a friend of ours and my prenatal yoga instructor. They are slightly expensive so I’m hesitant about the money.
What experiences do any bees having with doulas? The good, bad and ugly? Thanks for the advice!
Post # 3
In my experience as a former maternity nurse, some doulas are great, know what they’re doing, are reasonable and work well with both the patient and the nursing/medical staff. Others don’t really know what they’re talking about but think they do (unless things have changed, there’s no real standardized training to become a doula), and as a result create conflict between themselves, the staff and, unfortunately, the patient.
I think the best doulas are the ones who understand when and why medical intervention is truly necessary. They are the ones who are best able to advocate for the patient because they appropriately push for what the parents want (which they are able to get the majority of the time) but are still able to advocate for an unplanned intervention when it’s truly necessary AND they can do it while keeping the peace. I always felt bad for the patients when the doulas created unnecessary tension. You’re supposed to be making the experience better, not creating conflict!
Post # 4
My friend had a great experience with choosing to go with a doula in her second birth (after a rough c-section first birth). Everything went textbook, smooth with her doula. She was a professional (didn’t know her previously). My other friend went with a close friend’s sister as her licensed doula, had a tough birth but really liked appreciated the doula.
They both said they liked it primarily b/c hubby is limited in ability to give the support, reassurance, suggestions to help things along.
We plan to use a hospital-given midwife and OB on staff, so we won’t fork out the extra money but I’d consider it if not provided with enough support (childbirthing classes/books) beforehand.
Post # 5
My best friend is a labor doula so I might be biased but we’re totally having one (not her, she lives in a different state). I agree 100% with what @hope1275 said. When I spoke to my doctor about it she had mixed feelings so I plan on asking her for a list of doulas she has a good working relationship with. Also, there are some doulas who have little training and just call themselves doulas but most are required to be certified and attend a certain number of classes and births so be sure to ask what level of training anyone you consider hiring has.
For me, I plan to labor at home as long as possible to avoid impatient nurses who want to dope me up with drugs, so it will be comforting to have an experienced doula there at our home to support me.
Post # 6
We’re not hiring a doula, but I guess that essentially the role I’m hoping my step mom will play during my labor. She’s a nurse and knows what kind of labor and birth DH and I are hoping for. Her medical background makes me feel comfortable that she can advocate for us, but also I trust her to let me know if something is really medically necessary and not just being recommended to speed things up for convenience.
Post # 7
I have two new-mom friends who both had doulas and loved them, really positive + helpful experiences for them both. I’m not getting a doula only because I’m having a midwife instead of an OB.
Post # 8
Are those of you who will hire a doula planning on a natural (no drugs) birth? It seems like that is one of the main reasons people want an advocate in the delivery room. Is it easy to find a doula who is trained enough to be able to trust more than your doctor about the need for episiotomy or medical intervention? I am very interested in the idea but I am afraid that if it came down to it, I would have a hard time trusting the doula over a doctor and the last thing I would want would be tension between the doula (and me and DH) and the medical staff.
Post # 9
Yes, I am planning a no drugs birth. I look at the doula’s role as not so much overruling your doctor, but really making sure that you know what is happening to you and what your options are. Sometimes things happen fast and doctors make a decision based on what they think is best for you without really slowing it down to explain a procedure, what exactly will happen, what the risks are, why they are doing it and it can make women feel afraid and not in control of their birth process. Ultimately, it IS your choice what happens to your body and your baby, so doulas make sure you have all of the information to make an informed choice, not a fear based one.
If you are worried about the interaction, ask your doctor if there is a doula they work well with (and alternately if there is a doula they don’t) and meet with her and decide how you feel about them. Any doula you talk to should be able to tell you about her training and any organizations she is certified by or registered with. If she won’t tell you, then move on! Once she tells you the organizations it should be easy to verify if you feel that’s a necessary step.
Post # 10
@ladyox: Great advice – thanks!
Post # 11
How important is a medfree birth to you? I think it would be very hard to do w/o a midwife and/or doula for most women. My husband did a great job, and he took classes w/ me and read the Birthing Partner…However, the doula made a HUGE difference. Hubby was a little bit “deer in headlights” at times. The doula was able to do simple things like get me a cold washcloth while DH held my hand. They make you more comfortable, etc. My doula is also a friend that is DONA certified. It was a little weird knowing she saw me in such a vulnerable moment, but overall I think it was an incredible bonding experience and so special that she was able to be there for it. She will forever be a special part of CoWboy’s life!
Post # 12
I’m 30 weeks pregnant and I’ve hired a doula for the labor/delivery and post-partum. This is our first child and my mom is not close by to help out, so I’ve hired a doula to help out and ‘guide’ us through the last few weeks of pregnancy. I’m not looking for someone to provide medical input, but just someone experienced who will be by my side the whole time and can calm my nervous husband and me since we feel a little overwhelmed on this journey!
So far, the doula has been a really helpful in terms of just providing advice and answering basic ‘is this normal?” questions I forget to ask my ob. As for post partum services, the plan is to have her come in a few hours a week right after the baby is born. The idea is that she is more there for my husband and me to help us transition into parenthood and teach us how to bathe/feed/care for baby, rather than just take over the baby care.
I’m still 2 months away from all of this, so will let you know how my experience goes!
Post # 13
I am a doula, a prenatal yoga instructor and health coach, so of course, I think that every woman should be blessed with a doula. A doula’s job is to be the birth mother (and father’s) emotional and physical support. She should never be involved in medical decisions as she is NOT medically trained.
Some of the benefits of having a trained doula:
50% reduction in cesarean rate
25% shorter labor
60% reduction in epidural requests
40% reduction in oxytocin use
30% reduction in analgesia use
40% reduction in forceps use
If you want a doula but don’t think you can afford one, check the DONA website for newly trained doulas – many will offer their services for free or at discounted prices to fulfill their certification requirements. The first 10 births I did for free, the next 10 I charged a super discounted rate. 🙂
You should talk to you prental yoga/doula friend and express your concern about the cost and ask is she can work with you and if not ask he for a referral.
GOOD LUCK! 🙂
Post # 14
Thanks for the advice everyone!
I really would like to do a natural birth, but I’m trying to stay very open should anything else come up that has to happen (or I want to happen) at the spur of the moment. If we can work out the money, I could see us doing the doula thing.
For me, it’s either hire my friend the doula or take the normal child birthing/breastfeeding/child care classes through our hospital and go at it on our own. My husband is a pretty calm, easy going person but this is our first so who knows what is going to happen!
Thanks again everyone and let’s keep the advice coming!
Post # 15
Oh and one other point–
I’m not sure I want to forgo the epidural and go all-natural for the birth. I definitely want to have options. And the doula I hired was very keen on supporting whatever my decision will be in non-judgmental way. So, don’t think that hiring a doula necessarily means you can only have a natural/drug-free childbirth!