In the past couple of years “labor doula’s” have become a popular term! When I was pregnant I had heard of them; I even had a close friend who told me she was going to school to become a doula… but I still had no idea what it was.
When I was 41 weeks pregnant I won a free doula in a drawing. I was pretty unsure about it, as was my husband, but we ended up going for it after meeting her (you can read the entire story here.)
If you are unsure about whether or not a doula is worth the investment, I get it. I originally thought it was a strange idea. I didn’t want anyone with me except for my husband and my mommy.
It wasn’t until after the labor when my husband told her he wanted her to be there for all of our other children that I realized just how important it was that she was there. So here are 3 reasons that a doula is absolutely worth it!
You have someone 10000% focused on YOU.
Yes, the doctors and nurses care about you – that’s the reason they’re in the field they are in. However, their MAIN priority during the labor and delivery is keeping you and your child physically safe. Your emotions take a backseat to the lives of you and your baby, obviously.
But some of the most traumatizing experiences for many women is when their emotions and fears are not validated or taken care of. This is what a doula is for! They spend time with you before you have your baby to get to know your whole story – your past health, you prenatal health, your birth plan, your hopes/dreams/expectations, your fears, any issues that may need dealt with.
They are there for the ENTIRE labor. I’ve had a lot of people ask me what does a doula even DO? Here’s just a run down:
- They suggest different positions to make you more comfortable. Doctors may do this as well, but doula’s are pros at knowing the little changes that can make all the difference in making you comfortable.
- They have a “bag of tricks” full of things to help out. Birthing ball, ice packs, heating pads, essential oils, motivational quotes… you name it, she’s got it all and she will pull them out right when you need them.
- They hold your hand when everyone else is rushing around worried about your baby. Some births go smoothly and everything is truly easy. Other births, like mine, go a little crazy. When things go wrong or not as planned and everyone is rushing around doing logistics, you’ve got a woman sitting besides you looking at YOU and telling you that you can do this and it will all be okay. Honestly, that was worth something you can’t understand unless you’ve been through a traumatic labor yourself.
- They advocate for your wishes, as well as what you really need. For example, if you have decided you don’t want an epidural and there comes a point when you ask for one… the doctor’s will just give it to you. Your husband may just keep telling you that you can do it and that’s not what you wanted. As a woman, fellow mother and expert in birthing who is 100% focused on you in that moment, a doula will be able to read what you are experiencing and help advocate for you in a moment when you may be so delirious that you have no idea what you want.
- They provide prenatal, postnatal and breastfeeding support. My doula literally talked to me about EVERYTHING. Yes, you can call your doctor’s office and get a “by the book” answer from the receptionist or wait a day to hear back from your doctor. But a doula often will give you 24/7 access to her personal contact info so you can ask ANYTHING. That is priceless, especially as a first time mom. They also usually include a postpartum visit and lactation consulting.
- They are more like friends than medical supervisors. And that’s because they are. A doula is similar to a CNA. They can get their license in a very short amount of time with not a lot of training, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know anything medical. However, the main goal of their job is not to do medical things, it’s to support you and give you assistance when you need it the most. The best doula’s will be a friend and helper during the whole 10-12 months that you are needing them.
- They can answer your questions about things you don’t understand. When the doctors, nurses and midwives are running in and out of your room checking your cervix, your monitors and contractions, you will have someone next to you that you can feel free to ask the questions that seem stupid. Maybe you’re worried about that postpartum belly, or you’re scared to breastfeed. Maybe the doctors are barking orders to each other and moving too fast for you to know whats’ going on and you are wondering what all the code words mean. Whatever it is on your mind you can feel confident asking to your doula and she will know.
- They take pressure off of your hubby. This was honestly my husband’s favorite part of me having a doula. He was there the entire time, but the truth was that he was overwhelmed and had no idea what was happening. It was also very hard for him to watch me go through so much pain. My mother was also there and she wasn’t a great support because she was so emotionally involved. My doula didn’t personally know me before, so she was able to be totally invested but unemotional and that was so helpful in the hardest parts of my labor. My husband really utilized her support as well by asking her questions about what he should be doing and how he should be involved during different parts of the labor.
Have you ever had a doula? Are you thinking about hiring one? Why or why not? Comment below!