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hire a doula?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
We are trying to make the decision of whether to hire a doula for the birth of our first child.

I will be giving birth in a hospital with a great midwife, I like her a lot. This is her own practice, she doesn't partner with anyone usually, so she will be there for the birth for sure (ie: it's not between a practice of a few OBs, or it won't be up to the on call OB . . ). I would like to have a completely natural, unmedicalized birth. I am planning on staying home as long as possible to help prevent unneeded interventions. I am fairly sure that I don't need/don't really want a doula to come to my house. Why do I need one at the hospital? My partner will support me and he is ready to advocate for me when I cannot do so and the midwife will be there - what will she be doing if not advocating for me? We will have a birth plan too (although I do realize that sometimes the nurses and doctors disregard them).

My main questions are: What will a doula do that will not be covered already by my partner and midwife? What am I missing? And what will the midwife be doing that I don't know about? (like will she just be too busy with the medical part of the birth to take care of me?)

I'm not really against a doula, I just want to make sure that we really need one since it is expensive.
post #2 of 10
How many clients a month does your midwife take? If she does not partner up, she is very likely to have another woman at the hospital the same time you are there. Which means that the "with woman" part of the midwife you would expect...may not be there. The ideas for comfort measures, for dealing with staff, for changing things up if they are starting to drag on...might not be available. It is completely possible that you and your husband can be quite capable of handling it on your own. If you would so choose, I would suggest a Bradley class, hypnobirthing practice, and reading Active Birth (you) and The Birth Partner(your husband). Doing those things will give you many of the tools that your doula would have if your midwife is not around.

Still...if you have a long labor, difficult staff, a midwife who isn't around as much as you figured she would be, if you have a super intense labor, if you hvae a malpositioned baby, many many ifs...it is really VERY helpful to have that doula with you.

We know that statistically just having her in the room will make you less likely (with statistical significance) to get an epidural, narcotics, cesarean section, pitocin, forceps or vaccuum birth. It will mean that you are more likely to bond better with baby, to initiate breastfeeding sooner and breastfeed longer overall, and to have an overall better opinion of how the birth went, even if you didn't have outcomes that you were expecting.

Is she worth the money?...that is up to you. Statistically, yes. But your birth may be different. Problem is...hind site is 20/20. You won't know for sure till you've been there!
post #3 of 10
Hire a doula. Always. They rock. You can never imagine their role or impact until you have one.
post #4 of 10
courtenay_e said: "Still...if you have a long labor, difficult staff, a midwife who isn't around as much as you figured she would be, if you have a super intense labor, if you have a malpositioned baby, many many ifs...it is really VERY helpful to have that doula with you."

:

Having a doula at my own birth was the best part of my entire experience. Her support and expertise made me feel at ease and relaxed. I love my doula, and couldn't imagine birthing without one.
post #5 of 10
the others have already given some reason why, i just have to put in my vote, yes! hire one.
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by mysticmomma View Post
Hire a doula. Always. They rock. You can never imagine their role or impact until you have one.
yes!!!
i initially thought my doula might be in the way, but as it happened she was my rock during labor. i loved her being there. my midwife was busy with the technical stuff, my doula was free to hold me. and she was a loving presence to my dd when we transferred. doulas are excellent!!
post #7 of 10
Also, you mentioned that you want to labor at home as long as possible. This is one of the best ways to have a natural birth. But even very well read/prepared parents will have some questions about when it's really "time" to go the hospital. Keeping in touch with a doula via the phone or by having her come to your home during labor can be a huge help.

Congrats on your little one!!!! Best wishes for a beautiful birth.
post #8 of 10
As a doula I have seen some really awesome dads, very knowledgeable, very supportive, everything their wives knew they could be. But this is still the birth of his child and he will still be seeing you in pain. It can be disconcerting to them. Even the wonderfully involved dads have been happy to have me there. I remind them to eat and drink and that "this is normal". They are glad to have someone who is not invested emotionally in attendance. A quote I have on my website is from a dad who said "it's like getting lectures on how to play football and then being asked to play in the superbowl." A doula is for both of you.
post #9 of 10
I would hire a doula. It's really nice to have another woman around who isn't freaked out seeing you in pain. She can give your partner a break if you labour through the night and he gets totally exhausted.

If paying fees is a problem you may be able to get a reduced fee by choosing a doula who is working towards certification.
post #10 of 10
I am also in the hire a doula camp - being a doula this is the obvious answer though. I have worked with couples who said nearly word for word what you have said here and wondered what use I would be to them. These couples always tell me afterwards how invaluable the help was. If you interview someone, you can even ask them for some past clients numbers - talking to women who have just come through the experience might help.

And as for cost, it is a lot in many cases but it is money well spent. Many doulas will work out payment plans or reduce fees depending on need. Also, the price range is very wide. Some doulas charge $1000 and some charge $3000 and everywhere in between, so you can also find someone who is closer to your price range perhaps. And, there are also always doulas in training looking for certifying births if you'd like. They often work for free or cost (about $200 usually). I have a list of doulas in training looking for certifying births that I keep if you'd like to PM, I'll happily give the list to you.
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