A doula provides emotional and relational support, helping you through labor. Here are 100 things she will do to make birth easier for you and your family.
1. She will stay with you for 40 hours, if that’s what it takes.
2. She works for YOU, not the hospital or provider.
3. She helps your partner be more involved.
4. You choose her, and she is who shows up. No ‘on call’ lottery.
5. Having a doula in addition to your significant other ensures you’ll never be left alone.
6. She is masterful at keeping calm.
7. She provides a reassuring presence.
8. Your partner can pee without guilt.
9. She can run errands for you.
10. She will answer all your pregnancy questions.
11. She is quick to reply to texts about your concerns.
12. She knows the birth world, and can help you find the resources you need.
13. When you have a doula, you don’t have to ask questions on those forums.
14. The prenatal meeting helps you focus on your personal wishes and preferences for the birth.
15. She’s an excellent, trained listener.
16. During the birth experience, she helps make sure you understand all your options.
17. Meeting with your doula reinforces the idea that your birth is worth planning for.
18. She is an expert in birth, your partner is an expert in you. Together they make a great team.
19. Having a knowledgeable doula means you don’t have to read all the books.
20. Doulas have seen enough births to know things, but not so many that it’s not special anymore.
21. HOW YOU FEEL WHEN YOU GIVE BIRTH MATTERS.
22. How you feel when you give birth matters physiologically.
23. Birth works better when you feel loved and supported.
24. It’s normal to have the presence of a sympathetic, non-medical woman.
25. She can give you references for professionals and groups in the area.
26. She knows comfort techniques and when to use them.
27. She can suggest changes to help labor progress.
28. She may know techniques to help baby descend easier.
29. A doula can act as a human birth plan, reminding you of your preferences at the most opportune times.
30. Your doula probably knows the hospital, their rules and amenities.
31. A doula lessens the intensity of birth.
32. A doula lessens the isolation of birth.
33. A doula takes the pressure off of your partner.
34. Doulas are trained to offer empathic comfort, not pity or sympathy.
35. Doulas are trained to be unbiased, and support you wherever your birth goes.
36. Studies show doula-supported births are easier. They are:
37. 31% less likely to need Pitocin
38. 28% less likely to end in cesarean
39. 12% more likely to have a spontaneous, vaginal birth
41. Less painful
42. And less often require the vacuum or forceps.
43. Studies also show that the babies of doula-labors have higher APGAR scores and
44. Are less likely to go to the NICU.
45. Families who received doula care are more than twice as likely to report satisfaction with their care and their birth experience.
47. Having a doula means you can have support to labor longer at home.
48. Doulas are trained in the importance of parent/infant bonding and will help facilitate this, especially in a hectic hospital environment.
49. A doula provides emotional support and does not think your worry is dumb or unworthy of her time.
50. Doulas will answer all your questions or help you find the answer.
51. Doulas can ensure that you have true informed consent and informed refusal.
52. Doulas remind you of your options at every juncture.
53. She can take pictures during and after.
54. She can take care of things you might forget because you are in the heat of the moment.
55. She will tell you that you’re beautiful, and mean it.
56. She will support you no matter what happens.
57. She may offer payment plans or fees on a sliding scale if you really can’t afford the care.
58. A doula helps other support people see ways to be of help.
59. She reminds you to drink, so you don’t dehydrate.
60. She makes sure you eat, so you don’t run out of calories.
61. She knows when to give you space.
62. She’s not your mom. Your mom is lovely. But she’s not your mom.
63. She’s not a stranger, so she won’t trip your neo cortex.
64. She knows tricks to help epidural births keep moving.
65. Telling your provider you have one is a good way to gauge his or her ability to provide mother-baby friendly care.
66. With a doula, you’ll have less fear.
67. A doula will help you through pregnancy and birth with special attention to healing if last time was traumatic or disappointing.
68. She is trained in massage techniques.
69. She will walk you through your options if you are facing an induction.
70. She will remind you what you learned in birth class.
71. She will tell you what is happening even when the staff doesn’t.
72. A doula means more hands and more pressure for hip squeezes.
73. She comes to your house to check on you.
74. A doula is a confidence boost.
75. She is someone to laugh, cry, and reminisce with postpartum.
76. She trusts birth.
77. She believes in you and your body, even when you don’t.
78. No one knows it all — a doula is more knowledge and wisdom present.
79. She answers texts at 3 am when you think your water has broken.
80. She will suggest or lend books for you to read.
81. She can lend or rent a TENS unit.
82. She has a rebozo, and knows how to use it.
83. She’ll discusses pros and cons with you for interventions.
84. She’s up to date on current birth and pregnancy issues.
85. She brings a magic bag of things that help in labor.
86. Doulas work with medical staff to foster positive teamwork.
87. If baby is on the warmer or in the NICU, the doula stays with you.
88. She brings things to make the room smell nice.
89. A doula provides phone triage in early labor.
90. She can help you tell the difference between your water breaking and losing your mucus plug.
91. You can text her pictures of it.
92. She helps you write your birth plan.
93. She won’t get offended if you get upset or yell.
94. She’ll offer lip balm and other little comforts that make a big difference.
95. A doula will help a shy partner feel more confident in being involved.
96. She’s on your side and by your side.
97. She reminds you that you can do it — that you are doing it.
98. If it’s not working out you can always ask her to leave, but you can’t hire someone mid-labor.
99. You can’t have this baby to birth again. You can’t do-over this labor.
100. Birth is a big deal. There is no bigger deal. You deserve it.
One Reason Not to Hire a Doula
1. If you’ve had a baby before and you feel very comfortable and confident, you may not want a doula. My rule is that if you implicitly trust your provider AND you feel that you’d actually rather have this baby at home by yourself, a doula probably isn’t right for you.
We birth best when we feel unobserved. So even though most of us don’t plan unassisted birth, if you feel you could be perfectly comfortable closing yourself in your room to have a baby AND you have a provider you 100% trust, adding a doula may not be best. This describes approximately 0.5% of people. If that’s not you, interview until you find one you love.