-I wanted to post this to address a common misconception about the idea that having a Doula means you're having someone else take the place of the Dad.
What Specialized Knowledge Does a Doula Have?
One thing to realize is that a Doula is very schooled in the knowledge of Childbirth - labor, all its phases and stages, its nuances. She knows what labor positions to use when, to help keep labor moving forward, to help keep the baby in an optimal position, to alleviate some of the pain you're feeling in labor as well as to help keep the stress off of the baby. It's nothing against the husband. He is there for intimately personal emotional support. That can never be replaced! ;)
A Doula also knows many tips and tricks to use to help keep you focused away from the pain and stay informed and educated fully on what is actually going on so that you can truly make informed decisions when you need to at a critically emotional time. She can help you find a way to put together a polite and compact list of Birth Goals that seem non-invasive to the Doctor/Midwife & Hospital Nursing Staff but still serves your needs as well. She can also help you become more of an informed advocate for yourself, by teaching you how to talk to your Doctor/Midwife in an assertive but diplomatic way.
Doula's Support both of you emotionally, educationally, physically, and mentally! True no one knows exactly what will happen during labor. But the deck will be stacked in your favor with a Doula, leaving your husband to focus solely on you and the baby, knowing you have your own labor support person to stay with you from early labor in your home-where you should labor as long as you can, throughout the entire birthing process and even a little after to make sure you get started off on breastfeeding and bonding well! No shift changes! She's there for all 3 of you and serves your interests, not the Doctor's or the Hospital's.
Edited by DoulaGinny - 9/4/12 at 7:16pm