A birth doula is trained to provide professional support for the family during pregnancy and childbirth. A postpartum doula is professionally trained to support the family after the birth of the baby. This post covers a birth doula's role. A future post will cover the role of a postpartum doula.
When you hire a doula you get:
-non-judgmental support and guidance.
-practical hands-on support (such as, but not limited to: massage, pelvic squeeze, birth ball, peanut, dance, and other comfort measures during childbirth).
-emotional and mental support, helping you work through any emotional barriers causing a delay in
-continuous support from the time you sign the contract to the time you breastfeed your baby for the
What a birth doula does not do:
-does not provide medical care.
-does not provide clinical tasks such as cervical checks and fetal heart tones.
-does not speak on behalf of the client but does advocate for the client.
What are some common objections to hiring a doula and why you should think again?!
Objection #1: My midwife will be with me during my entire labor. I don't need a doula too.
Your midwife is only going to be at your labor once you have reached 5-6 cm during active labor in most cases. Obstetricians are notorious for being at the labor even much less time, typically just enough time to deliver the baby (you are left to the mercy of the hospital nurses from the time you are admitted until your OB arrives). On the other hand, a birth doula's role is to support you from the moment you call her to come to your labor, whether you are 1 cm or 7 cm. A doula will typically arrive within 2 hours of when she is called to attend the labor. A doula is also always available via phone, text, and email 24/7, as soon as she is hired. Since doulas are with women much earlier in the labor process than midwives and obstetricians, they may have other techniques that a midwife or OB is not aware of to get the mother ready for active labor sooner, speeding up delivery time naturally.
Objection #2: I can't afford a doula.
There are doulas who work for reduced fees, work on a sliding scale based on income of the client, and take clients on a voluntary basis (though they appreciate a small monetary donation to pay for childcare of their own and gas expense during labor). Some doulas also have an NPI (National Provider Identifier) which allows you to submit a claim form to your health insurance company for reimbursement. See our other blog post below: How to Get Reimbursed by your Insurance Company for Doula Services and Breastfeeding Support!
Objection #3: I am a seasoned veteran when it comes to birthing, I don't need to hire a doula.
As a woman who has birthed before, you probably know every baby is different. And no two labors are the same. A doula is professionally trained to meet the challenges that may arise unexpectedly but also give you complete support and reduce your labor time. What woman doesn't want that?!
Objection #4: I just want to have an induction or cesarean and get this baby out! I don't need a doula to help me with that!
Inductions typically lead to cesareans because they stall labor, not speed it up, and then the baby is at risk and the OB or midwife says it's time to move to a cesarean birth. A cesarean will cause greater discomfort and longer recovery when you have just had your baby. You want to be in the most optimal condition to care for your new baby when he/she arrives instead of having just come out of major abdominal surgery that takes at least 6 weeks to recover, not to mention more difficult to birth another baby in the future. A birth doula reduces induction and cesarean rates considerably.
Objection #5: A doula would just get in the way and wouldn't respect my husband as my labor coach.
A birth doula's role is to support the entire family, not just the birthing mother. She works alongside the husband/partner to ensure the most loving and comfortable birth experience for both. If anything, she nurtures the relationship between partners. For a man's perspective on a doula, check out this article: https://goodmenproject.com/families/tmb-heck-doula-need-one/
Agape Doulas is here to support you at your next birth. Call us today for a free consultation!