Natural, medicated, homebirth, or hospital birth; you may still want a Doula.

A doula is not only trained or experienced in homebirth or unmedicated births. Doulas are trained to support women and their partners through many different birth experiences and situations. Every woman, even if she is planning a medicated labor and delivery, should learn comfort measures for labor, because you don’t arrive at the hospital and are immediately given an epidural. In fact, many care providers, even with planned epidurals, prefer to wait until a laboring woman has developed a regular labor pattern, which sometimes doesn’t occur until the onset of active labor, which is usually around 5 cm dilation. So what happens before 5 cm dilation? Comfort measures: walking, different positions, swaying, hydrotherapy, breathing, relaxation. All these comfort measures is what a doula is an expert in.

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2 Responses to Natural, medicated, homebirth, or hospital birth; you may still want a Doula.

  1. Wendi says:

    This is so true. My husband and I so wanted to have a natural child birth and though I read lots of books (Thinking Woman’s Guide the a Better Birth, Ina May’s Guide to Child Birth, and Spiritual Midwifery), I still had lots of questions. That is why my husband and I decided to hire a doula. Our doula not only helped us prepare for our birthing center birth, but she bonded with us and supported us. She met with us in our home many times before the birth of our son. She suggested positions to help me sleep better and get comfortable during my pregnancy, she helped us write our birth plan, she tried to prepare us for what the birth experience would be like, and when my labor and delivery got closer, she helped me practice positions and movements that would help progress the labor and give me some relief during contractions.
    My husband and I were so happy to have her with us not only because she had become a friend, but because her experience was invaluable. My husband was able to be a support partner both physically and emotionally without the stress of being everything I needed. He knew that Marva was going to take care of us and that all he had to do was focus on me. Our doula gave us that opportunity. Because she was there, I knew I didn’t have to worry about being rushed, making decisions I knew that I wasn’t ready to make, or dealing with medical staff (though my midwives were wonderful). She was my mediator.
    Also, she came to our home when my contractions were 5 minutes apart to help us figure out when to go to the birthing center. She knew we didn’t want to go too early and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to make that kind of decision while dealing with contractions. Finally, our doula gave us confidence. She prepared us the best way possible and then guided us through each contraction and each push til our baby boy was in my arms. I know I wouldn’t have been able to have a natural child brith without her. I would have given up. She helped me get what I wanted.
    I would recommend a doula to be a part of every birth, not just natural births. A doula is the mom and dad’s mediator. A doula will ensure that the mom and dad have he space and time to make tough decisions. It is not the mom or dad’s job to fight with hospital staff for the right to have a birth the way they want to. A doula can also free up the dad (the way our doula did) to be an emotional support to the mom without fearing that he is going to do something wrong. The doula is there every step of the way if only to slow your breathing and keep you on track, reminding you that you have the power to do this and that you will have your baby when this is over. Having a constant reminder of that goal is a great motivator. Doula’s have the experience and passion to make every birth exactly what you want. They are a great resource.
    Go Annie!!!! (sorry i wrote so much, i’m kinda passionate about this stuff too)

  2. Annie says:

    Just a note expounding on ‘dealing with medical staff’ comment. As doulas, the scope of our practice does not include mediating between laboring mothers, their partners and their care providers. We encourage partners, and remind clients of their priorities, and benefits and risks of suggested procedures. This can be a gray area for some, and in some instances doulas and midwives or doctors may have great relationships in which communication is free and open about labor and birth progress. Yet, in most hospital settings doulas may or may not have worked with the care providers (nurses, doctors) before. Women and their partners must make their own decisions and communicate with their care providers. Doulas can be privy to conversations, and remind clients of their priorities and birth plans, but do not speak to doctors or midwives on behalf of their clients. For more details/clarification on this, please ask!

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