why would i need a doula if I have a midwife and assistant? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 07-29-2010, 11:46 PM - Thread Starter
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im sort of looking into it, but i guess i am wondering what everyone's roles are. The midwife is focused on medical care, but most of the labor is sort of just labor and i assume little intervention and if there is any midwife can explain it..

I think what i really want is someone to help manage my household so that i can focus on labor, I will have dh, mil, mom, and bf at the labor and i have a very detailed plan including roles and jobs, birth projects etc

I intend on being around and helping but i just really dont want to be stressed out and i know i will be on edge and cranky

the best part of my labor with dd was when i was alone! dh was driving me crazy and my mom wouldnt stop giving advice nurses where coming in and out (hospital birth) I just wanted peace and quiet

so i am picturing me alone in the bedroom where tub will be set up.. at least int he last hours of labor up to pushing time then probably just dh and my mom will be allowed for the brith and dd if she's up to it.

i dont want too many people around

so i guess i want someone to advocate for me with family and attendants and make sure my plan is followed, things like no flash photos, no cell phones, take conflict outside etc. I am more worried about everyone else freaking out than me. I dont feel i will need a doula... but i might who knows I also have no support, dh is not capable of it and my mom doesnt know how. The nurses that held my hand through contractions with dd's birth where great I couldnt accept that type of help from my mom or dh they just pissed me off haha no reason really just tha tit was them...

but couldnt the midwife do a lot of that advocating and explaining and holding my hand through the process, metaphorically and physically if needed?

most of the doulas in my area want 1000 - 1500$ for 1 prenatal visit and birth is it worth it? I dont want to pay that if i wont be using the services at all
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#2 of 18 Old 07-30-2010, 10:32 AM
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i don't think you need a doula if you don't want one. Talk to you midwife about how much hand holding she or her assistants can be expected to provide. But it sounds like you don't really want all the people you have coming either. Can you knock some of those out? Are you wanting someone there just for the other kids? Can that be one of those people? Taking care of kids and getting towels or making food is not too many jobs for one person. Or if you don't really want DH to actually support you in labor, he can do that stuff too. If you had fewer people there, it seems like you'd have less potential for conflict. Maybe then you'd better to determine if you actually want a doula.

yeah, re-read your your post. No flash photography, no cell phones? These are things you hear in theater performance! When you don't have a crowd at your birth you don't need someone to enforce those rules.

Banana, doula wife to Papa Banana and mother to Banana One, Banana Two, Banana Three, Banana Four...

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#3 of 18 Old 07-30-2010, 11:41 AM
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I chose not to have a birth doula at my son's home birth because my midwife and her backup were both going to be there. The birth went very well, but I will be looking into getting a doula for the next one. It is probably the closest thing to a regret that I have about his birth.

First, I expected my husband to be able to provide physical support. My labor was very fast and DH never ate breakfast. He nearly fainted and ended up breathing into a paper bag in another room so I wouldn't realize he was freaking out. My midwife was supportive, but couldn't provide the physical massage/pressure I needed while also doing her job. That's not true for every midwife/birth, but was true in mine.

Usually midwives don't want to come too early in labor. If I wasn't dilated enough, my midwife would have left and told us to call her back when I was further along. So, for early labor support, a doula is priceless because they can come and support you before you call your midwife.

My labor came on so quickly that my midwife was only there 60-90 minutes before he was born and her apprentice walked in 30 minutes beforehand. I'm very lucky they were both in my town that day because they live 40 and 60 minutes away and probably wouldn't have made it from their homes. A doula who lives closer than my midwives is a priority to me for next time.

Also, we just had us and the midwives there. Next time we are hoping to invite our mothers (if they have time to make it!) as well. I'm hoping a doula will be a good buffer between me and them while I'm laboring because I can imagine one or both of them disturbing or annoying me even though they are very respectful and supportive.

As far as price, if you can hook up with someone who is still attending births in order to get their certification, you can pay much much less. The doula-in-training I recently talked to was charging $150/birth and providing the same services as other doulas, just with less experience. Experience matters to me with my midwife, but with a doula, it's more her personality and not how many other moms she's attended.

Those are just a few things for you to chew on. If you are feeling like you don't want one, don't get one. If you're unsure, look around, interview a few doulas, and see if anyone clicks with you. Good luck!

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Finally diagnosed with APS after 3 s (11/09, 3/10, 7/13)
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#4 of 18 Old 07-30-2010, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Banana731 View Post
i don't think you need a doula if you don't want one. Talk to you midwife about how much hand holding she or her assistants can be expected to provide. But it sounds like you don't really want all the people you have coming either. Can you knock some of those out?
Ditto that whole post.

I had a doula for my first birth, but labor went so fast I felt the urge to push before she even arrived at my house (& it was a planned hospital birth!) I enjoyed laboring mostly alone. DH tried to do counter-pressure on my back & it just hurt or was uncomfortable. I didn't want to be touched.

I'm not planning on a doula for this homebirth.
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#5 of 18 Old 07-30-2010, 02:46 PM
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I want one but DH will be gone so it will be me, the midwife, and my kids.I have older ones to keep an eye on the younger kids.
If DH or even a family member/friend would be here I might not want one. None of my family can make it when I am due and I only really have 1 friend in the area I would be ok with being here and I can't see her being ok with a homebirth.

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#6 of 18 Old 07-30-2010, 03:09 PM
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With our last baby, we had a midwife and assistant and no doula and it was fine. Dh was no good at the precise type of backrub I needed, but the midwife and assistant were great at it. They also came as soon as I called b/c I have 2-3 hour labors so there was no time to wait and see. I don't see having a doula this time, either.

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#7 of 18 Old 07-30-2010, 05:23 PM
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You are having child number 2 so you know labor and what you need. If your instinct is to not have a doula, then you probably should follow it.

My midwife's practice gently requested that I have one because I was a first time mom birthing at home. I know myself pretty well and having to pay a stranger that money for massage and compassion was not something I'd be into. I chose to have my DH and Mom there. However, things got complicated and my midwife came early and had to keep a doppler on me every 30 min. Labor ended up being induced by natural means and aggressive, and I didn't want my Mom to see me that way---I just wanted to be alone w/ my husband.

It sounds like you do have a lot of people planning to be there. I only had planned for 2 plus my 2 midwives and ended up w/ just DH and midwives. I also was present at my brother's home birth and all you need is someone to care for your daughter and someone to care for you if the midwife isn't going to come right away. Let others come post-birth to help w/ food and cleaning. So what if the baby is an hour old when they arrive?

Everyone is different, so just my 2 cents--but go withyour gut. You probably already know what you can handle.

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#8 of 18 Old 07-30-2010, 06:18 PM
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It's neither your midwife nor your doula's role to "manage your household". Midwives provide clinical care, doulas provide comfort and support. You might be able to find a doula who will agree to those tasks even though it is really beneath her training. Sounds to me like you need to do some preemptive household management to keep these things from being an issue during labor.
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#9 of 18 Old 08-03-2010, 05:24 PM
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Can I ask a frank question?

What purpose do you have in mind for your mother at the birth? It doesn't sound like her presence is peaceful or helpful.

If her role is to watch the other kid(s), then you can have her take that child(ren) out for the labor and bring them back for pushing/post birth (whatever your preference).


For our HB in September '09 with ds2, we decided to hire a doula, because dh could not offer the kind of assistance and support that I would need him to (he became disabled in an accident last year). We were very glad to have the doula, because she not only played a vital role in helping me with the labor & contractions, but she also was a terrific sounding board and buffer. When dh (who is normally supportive but is needy now post-accident) and I were a bit tense about something, she deflected it and took me out for a walk (to get labor going) - but she also listened and just helped me clear my head and ease the outside non-labor related feelings so I could focus on the labor and birth. (It helped that she knows us well, so she could sense these issues).

(Don't get me wrong, DH and I love each other a lot, but the birth was at an extremely stressful time in our lives, as DH had become disabled after a traumatic accident when I was 6 months pg).

We also had my MIL around for the birth, but I purposely didn't want her in the room, as I knew she's not 100% supportive - and I didn't need her energy. So I assigned her the job of being with ds1 (age 4.5 at the birth) - she took him to the park, and brought him back up after baby was born.

My point is that if you feel that a doula would provide something your Dh cannot, then discuss that with her. Otherwise, find a way to remove that unhelpful energy from the house before labor so you can focus on laboring productively.

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#10 of 18 Old 08-03-2010, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by nashvillemidwife View Post
It's neither your midwife nor your doula's role to "manage your household". Midwives provide clinical care, doulas provide comfort and support. You might be able to find a doula who will agree to those tasks even though it is really beneath her training. Sounds to me like you need to do some preemptive household management to keep these things from being an issue during labor.

It sounds like you have a lot of people involved that you don't want, but frankly it sounds like you're also "planning" an awful lot of stuff considering you really just want to be left alone. Decide what needs taking care of, and assign some of those people to take care of it, ahead of time. The only people that should be at a birth are those who are going to be directly helpful and supportive to your needs.

Co-sleeping, Breastfeeding, EC'ing, Baby-wearing, Homebirthing mama to two fabulous girls 6/2007 and 8/2010
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#11 of 18 Old 08-03-2010, 10:09 PM
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With my first HB (3rd child) I knew I didn't want too many people present, but still invited mom and friend. Once in labor, I was surprised by how even MORE private than my other births I became--it was very internalized. I only wanted dh near with ocassional MW interaction (she would just come in and watch). I ended up not calling friend. This time, I'm not even inviting my mom. I second that what you may be feeling is a desire to simplify your attendance list. I am glad I did!

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#12 of 18 Old 08-04-2010, 10:27 PM
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I think doula are a wonderful thing but they definatley aren't for everyone.
I didn't have one with my first and did with my second we will be having one with our third. Look around you can sometimes find dlouas cheap or free many do free births every now and then. it never hurts to ask.

A mid wives job is medical, depending on her she maybe able to help out with the emotional spirtual part. but it really isnt their job as a doula's it is. tehy are there to help you in whatever way you want.

Why no flash photography? Just owndering your reasons. i totally get the cellphone thing

SAHM to D ( 10/06 ) A (10/08) & C (03/11)
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#13 of 18 Old 08-04-2010, 10:34 PM
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Okay, I did not have a homebirth. I did have amazing natural births with my Bradley trained hubby and my beloved CNM. I don't care for a lot of folks around while I'm birthing. Also my partner was terrific support... why pay someone else to "comfort" me?
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#14 of 18 Old 08-04-2010, 10:48 PM
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I had a homebirth with a midwife, assistant, and my husband present, and afterward I felt I should have had a doula there as I felt no one filled that role. But my next birth was premature so I hadn't hired a doula yet, but I was with a different midwife who made a great doula! I would simply inquire as to how hands-on or -off your midwife is during a birth.

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#15 of 18 Old 08-06-2010, 04:04 AM
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My midwife was extremely supportive and present for me, and her assistant was very kind, but the assistant was pretty busy getting things prepared, taking pictures (which I appreciated), and I had never met her before the birth night. But I did have the doula present who helped me with my natural birth in the hospital with my first daughter (don't know how I would have made it without her in that hospital room with me!). Only benefit of my doula at home birth was her knowledge in hypnobirthing, which my midwife did not know anything about. So, the doula reminded me about the breathing, focus, etc. and her voice was comforting and familiar. But, I don't know if it was worth the $1000 to have her present, honestly. But I did really appreciate how she stayed about an hour after the midwife left, got my room as pretty with a candle and the bed covers straightened, washed our towels/linens, made me tea, etc. since I had no family or friends in the area to do those things, and my husband was exhausted. I don't think the doula can hurt, but if finances are a pressure, it may not be necessary in the awesome comfort of your home.

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#16 of 18 Old 08-06-2010, 12:27 PM
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I would ask your midwife. The homebirth midwives I know do help you with laboring, and if she has an assistant, I think in most cases that would be plenty. If your labor is particularly long or arduous, I think having extra support from another knowledgable labor attendant can be helpful. But in general, hb midwives will come when you start feeling like you really need the support/help to get through labor. That's what they're primarily there for. It is not like a hospital where they just come at the last minute. No, they probably won't hold your hand through all of early labor, but that's not when you need it, anyways. They will also run interference with other family members if need be.

But, I agree that you might want to cut down on the other attendants (lol, sounds like a wedding!). If you're not counting on your dh for labor support, it's better to give him important tasks he can help with that will be meaningful and give him jobs to do, and just don't put the burden of labor support on him.

For my first homebirth, I had mw, dh, good friend, my mom, and a photographer. (MIL was also invited and arrived just after birth). My labor was really quick and had a bit of a circus atmosphere. Really, it didn't matter too much because the birth was so intense a train could've come through but I was too preoccupied to care. But my mom and friend made a couple comments that really annoyed me. And then everyone wants a turn with the baby after birth. Which was only when I was getting cleaned up, etc. but still I think it's better if those moments are reserved for dh and/or the sibs.

My next homebirth, due to circumstances, the only one able to be there was the mw and dh. My mom was out of town, MIL had pneumonia. The kids slept through the birth. But honestly, if they had woken up, dh could have taken care of them. I was fine coping with contractions in the peace and quiet, and my mw was there to help. This birth was SOOOO peaceful and perfect. We woke the kids up to meet their baby brother, and it was so nice just our cozy little family. However, while we got some pictures, they weren't as awesome as the pictures I had with ds2's birth... so I do still kind of want a photographer this time.

If you know you want peace and quiet during labor and birth, I would seriously recommend re-evaluating the guest list. It is a good idea to have someone to occupy the kids so your dh doesn't miss the birth, if you feel any of the kids will need to be away from the actual birthing. You don't want to be trapped in a particular room in order to keep away from the crowd. And having nervous people in the house at all can change the energy at the birth. Just food for thought.

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#17 of 18 Old 08-06-2010, 11:54 PM
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As a doula and an apprenticing midwife and a mother of five, I love doula's and I had one at all of my homebirths. They are amazing. I felt so loved and honored and cared for. And they cared for my husband and my midwives as well.

You are the only one who knows what you want in labor. I wanted touch and the gentle presence of women who had birthed before. But also women who didn't need to worry about fetal heart tones and bleeding. Just me and my husband and my baby/babies and children. They fed me, they comforted me when I was laboring, they helped me in everyway. I am so blessed to have had them three different times, for three births.

I am a social creature though, and I know that about myself.

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#18 of 18 Old 08-07-2010, 03:49 AM
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I didn't hire one, and found myself really regretting that. I wound up laboring for 4 days before my MW came out - that was 4 days of my DH stressing and freaking, 4 days of little to no sleep, etc. By the time i hit transition, none of us had anything left to give. Compound that with 2 birth attendants whose only experience had been a loss, and i wasn't the only one in the room trying to cope. A doula would have been able to relieve them for naps, would have been more knowledgeable in how to support me, and could have helped DH to feel less useless. She also could have helped pp when i was on my own, and w bfing help when we ran into serious issues.

The really stupid part is that i know a student doula who could have helped and used the experience for her cert, and i didn't call her.

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