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To hire a doula or not?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

We're planning a homebirth, and my midwife (very experienced) and her assistant (newer midwife who used to be a doula) will both be there. In a hospital setting I would definitely want a doula, but with two midwifes and my dh there, I kinda feel like it's all covered. I'm wondering if less people might make it easier to concentrate and relax--plus my house is on the small side.


What are your plans for hiring a doula? Where are you delivering, and who all do you plan on inviting to the birth? What experiences have you had with doulas?

post #2 of 13
We're planning the same, midwife plus her assistant, my DH, and we haven't decided yet if we want a doula. It's our first so partly I'm thinking of a doula in case DH gets overwhelmed or tired, or so she can help make food or do things if everyone else is busy with me.

On the other hand I have the same concern that it will just be crowded, so I don't know yet.

My mom would like to be there, but after reading Ina May's books, I feel like having it private for just me and DH will be really important for me.
post #3 of 13

We're in the same boat... well covered!  :)  Midwife used to be a doula, her new midwife assistant is a doula.  They're both willing and able to perform doula services for me at home and have the philosophy that doula support is completely worthwhile in a hospital setting, but shouldn't be needed at a home birth if the midwife does her job right. 


Now, postpartum doula... THAT might be worth the money!  :)

post #4 of 13

I've heard doulas are worth their weight in gold, it's great you have such talented women to be around you for your labor/birth.  I'd imagine they would make a great team for you without needing to hire anyone else.  


The postpartum doula sounds fabulous!  I could use someone to take photos too lol! 


We prefer as few people as possible.  When we had family around for the first 2 births I think it was distracting and more for them then for me.  My unassisted birth was awesome and freeing.  I just wish we had more photos or a video. 

post #5 of 13

I've had 2 home births and had a doula for both of them. I also have my 2 wonderful midwives there and my DH. I really liked having a doula there, especially for my first birth. DH was pretty nervous and having some one else there just for me took the pressure off him. She also coordinated with my midwives giving them info over the phone so they would know when I needed them. She was a wonderful support for me and for DH. She also took pics while DH was supporting me and took turns with him when he needed a break.


We didn't really need to have a doula for our second home birth but that was just because my labor was so freaking fast. But I don't think we would have any pics of it otherwise. Thankfully she remembered to pick up our camera :)


We are planning on hiring my wonderful doula again for this birth mainly because DH feels like he wants to have some one else there to help him. I also want her to be there for my DD's if they want to be in the room with me. My dad or MIL will be there watching them but I don't want them in my room during labor or birth. I don't feel like having one extra person there was inhibiting in any way but I'm really not concentrating on anything going on around me during labor.

post #6 of 13
I hire for the 'in case' situation. It always puts DH to ease but the last two births (our UCs) they missed it they were so fast... but we were still glad we had hired them. I plan to hire someone again though I think we're fine and could do without probably... what if it was a malpositioned baby and a 20 hour plus labor? I'd rather be prepared and not need the emotional support for DH (or me), than wish I had. Plus my doula friends are great women... I don't mind supporting what they are doing. As a Doula (mostly not practicing as I work FT out of home), I'm a believer.

And if we want to be left alone with our bigger Littles while we labor, I doubt our doula would care. I'd love a middle of the road 4-6 hour labor/birth vs our last barely-over-30-minute one.
post #7 of 13

Have you asked your midwife?  We are planning our first homebirth (first two were at the birthing center) and do not plan on using a doula.  There will be two midwives, my husband, our two children and hopefully a friend or my mom will be able to get there mainly to keep an eye on the kids.  I talked with my midwife and she said that with my fast labours and there being two midwives already coming that a doula was only necessary if I wanted one.  She did recommend a postpartum doula, but we have a lot of support from family and friends so I am feeling covered!



post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

I haven't talked to the midwives about it yet. I'll definitely do that as well. My mom wants to come stay with us after the birth for a week, and I'm definitely going to let her! Last time she was only about to stay for a couple of days because my baby daddy's mom was flying in soon after the birth. (she had purchased her tickets in advance and my dd was overdue) Having to entertain his family was a nightmare, and probably contributed to my extremely difficult recovery. My mom was an angel though, so I'm definitely cool with her staying as long as she can.

post #9 of 13

I having a homebirth for baby #3 and will be hiring a doula. I've had a doula for my two previous births (scheduled c/s for breech and very, quick and easy Hypnobabies VBAC) and I loved having a doula. I could have gotten by without one, but having the doula was wonderful. I expect this next birth will be fairly quick and easy as well, but having the extra support will be great.


I am a doula myself and have attended births at home, at birth center and in the hospital. I think it is important to remember that a doula's job and a midwife's job are different.  Not all midwives have the view that a doula is unnecessary at a homebirth. Many appreciate the help of a doula. Asking your midwife how she feels can give you valuable information about whether or not you should.


When does your midwife come? A doula comes when you feel you need her to be there. Midwives often come to check progress and leave if you are in early labor. 


How many clients does your midwife take each month? If your midwife has another birth that is happening faster than yours, she will not be with you. If there are two births going on, she may be going back and forth. You may also have a back-up who doesn't have the same philosophy of a midwife's role. It is important to ask YOUR midwife what she thinks about doula support at home and when she normally comes.


Is this your first birth? Your first unmedicated birth? Your first VBAC?  Your first homebirth? If so, you are more likely to benefit from a doula. 


How many kids have you had and how have your labors been? This isn't fool-proof because you can be surprised, but if you've had several kids and tend to have fast births, you may not need a doula. If your births tend to be long or if you haven't had enough to have a pattern emerge, maybe you do want a doula.


How is your partner during birth? I've taught childbirth classes and showed birth videos where the birth partner is behind the mom in the birth pool as she gives birth. Almost all of the moms thinks this is wonderful, but not all of the dads/partners do. Be honest about who your birth partner is and listen to your birth partner. If your partner is telling you that he wants a doula or needs help or doesn't think he can handle it, listen to him. Doulas can help the partner be more involved by keeping him calm and giving him guidance. Doulas can also allow partners to get some rest and stay fed so that they have the energy to really be present when they are needed most.


A doula can help with other children, but this is outside the normal scope of doula services so it should be discussed with the doula in advance. 


Choosing the RIGHT doula for you is very important. Stating your expectations and being as clear as possible about how you want her to help as well as just the basic personality match can help you chose a good match for you. Most doulas know how to help and stay out of the way. Doulas can also take pictures so that your partner can experience the birth directly instead of behind the camera.


I would say that if you aren't sure, go ahead and meet with a few doulas and see if there is anyone you click with and discuss how they can help you. Listen to your gut.


Hope everyone has wonderful births with or without a doula!

post #10 of 13

If my midwife didn't have an assistant with her I would be hiring a doula. However I think that I'll be in good hands between the midwife and her assistant (who is also trained as a doula) and my hubby. Plus our house is tiny so I think three birth attendants will be enough! :)

post #11 of 13

I realize that helping with the other kids is outside the scope of doula services but my doula is not just my doula but a friend too. My kids and I see her every week and she knows them and they know her. So if my other kids want to be in the room with me, she can provide support for them if they need it. This works for the both of us.


Great advice though!

Originally Posted by cairomama View Post

A doula can help with other children, but this is outside the normal scope of doula services so it should be discussed with the doula in advance. 


post #12 of 13

I had a doula at my first birth with DD in a birthing center and we have all remained friends.  I couldn't imagine her not being at our homebirth!  She was amazing and worked so well with my husband.  They were my "dream team" and I couldn't have done it without either one of them :)  This time there will, of course, be our midwife and she does have an assistant who will be with her as well.  My doula also offers sibling support so that is something that will be huge for us.  I like knowing that, in addition to my husband, I will be surrounded by these women who are all there to support me in whatever way I need.     

post #13 of 13

I don't plan on hiring one b/c I have 2 midwives, one of whom is a doula. I don't feel the need for any extra people there. I'm sure between my husband and 2 midwives they'll be able to take care of me and keep the kids occupied.

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