Anyone Ever Use a Birth Doula? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 12-29-2003, 06:33 PM - Thread Starter
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I am expecting # 3 in June and plan to have this baby without meds which will be a first for me. I am highly considering a birth doula but was wondering what your experience with one was and what the fee was and included.
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#2 of 12 Old 12-30-2003, 02:20 AM
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I'm sorry I don't have time to write more, but it's past midnight here and I have to tear myself away from this computer and go to bed! I just wanted to say that I used a birth doula for both of my ds's births and wouldn't have had it any other way. I don't think I could have gone unmedicated the first time without her help and support! My husband also loved having her there. He says it took some of the anxiety away for him because he knew she would advocate for me at the hospital and would know some pain management techniques. So he could relax more and enjoy the birth. Whenever we meet a pregnant couple he is the first to reccommend a doula! Okay, I have to get some sleep! Good night.
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#3 of 12 Old 12-30-2003, 02:58 AM
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I had one with my second birth. Both births were unmedicated, vaginal, hospital births. We were amazed at how much our doula took responsibility for my comfort and let my husband really focus and be in tune with me and the baby in a more supportive role. I think I'll always associate peppermint with her foot massage lotion. She also had a birth ball, a hot sack of lavender rice that felt good on my stomach and around my shoulders. She was also a lot more informed, educated than my dh in suggesting things, change of position, talking with my midwife and nurses. Little things in the grand scheme of a birth, but huge in the process. Most memorable is how she helped me through the period where I felt the intense need to push, but wasn't dilated enough. I kept saying I couldn't help it, I couldn't control it...I was getting sucked in and taken over by the intensity of it. And she was the one inches from my face telling me repeatedly through each and every contraction "You can control your reaction, don't try to control your body, control your reaction." And it worked. She then talked to the midwife aboutslipping the ridge over the baby's head instead of making me wait any longer. My midwife agreed to try and it worked (whatever it was...) We delivered an 8 pound 15.5 pound baby with no rips, and she took pictures while my husband and I marvelled over the physicality of out little guy.
Sorry that was so long.
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#4 of 12 Old 12-30-2003, 03:02 AM
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We have a doula set up for our son's birth next month. She will be helping with pain managment and with the care of our 22 month old ds. Her fee is $300 but she is very flexible in payment. We met with her once just before Christmas (just recently decided to go with a doula) and will meet with her again mainly for her to get to know my ds.
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#5 of 12 Old 12-30-2003, 03:11 AM
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I haven't had one, but I've been one. Unofficially, actually, since I'm studying to be a Bradley Method teacher rather than a doula, but still...
Anyway, there's a great book out, if you haven't already read it, called Mothering The Mother, by Klaus and Kennell. It's a little statistics-heavy, because it explains all the randomized trials that proved the effectiveness of labor doulas, but if you're at all unconvinced this might be the book that pushes you over the edge.
If you are planning to go natural, the first thing I would recommend is that you take a Bradley Method course if it's at all possible. Advance training will serve you very well in labor and allow you to know in advance what sort of relaxation techniques work for you, although depending on your doula this might be something she'll help you with as well. But don't count on that, find out before it's too late, because Bradley classes traditionally last 12 weeks!
Most of the doulas I've researched charge between $150 and $350, and that usually includes at least two prenatal meetings to discuss what you want, plus the labor, and almost always a postpartum visit as well. I know it sounds like a lot of cash when it's coming out of your pocket, but not when it's going toward helping you have a birth experience you can look back on with joy and pride. Also, it's worth asking any doulas you interview whether they have any experience with submitting their charges to an insurance company. Some companies will pay part of the cost of a doula, especially if you do successfully go natural and they see how much money they've saved.
If you haven't already found these sites online, they're a great place to go to find a doula in your area:
Good luck in your search,
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#6 of 12 Old 12-30-2003, 03:22 AM
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didn't read all the replies but briefly

HIGHLY recommend a doula...
because of our doula, we had a vbac instead of a second c/birth
our cost $600, insurance did not cover any.

she did a few private sessions in our home to prepare, was very wonderful.

Actually, come to think of it, we never had our follow up session... then we moved away.

Well, she was still great.

xoox pam
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#7 of 12 Old 12-30-2003, 03:23 AM
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I totally agree with everything the other posters have said about doulas....they really DO help to ensure a more positive birth experience. I just wanted to add that you might look around for a student doula in your area. I am working on my certification right now, and since I am not certified yet and am still learning, I don't charge to attend births. You may find someone like me who doesn't charge yet or who gives a reduced rate. HTH.
Happy Birthing
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#8 of 12 Old 12-30-2003, 08:34 PM
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A great big fat YES! get a doula.

Ours was $300 which included a couple meetings before the birth, her being there at the birth, and then visits after the birth.

EVERY woman giving birth should have a doula!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And by the way, I've given birth twice, but only had a doula for the second birth. Wow do I wish I'd have had one for the first birth. I intend to use one for any future births.
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#9 of 12 Old 12-31-2003, 04:40 PM
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I had a doula at dd's homebirth and I would DEFINITELY recommend one. It made me and dh much more at ease knowing the midwife wasn't the only experienced person there.

A little bit grasshopper a little bit ant   energy.gifom.gif

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#10 of 12 Old 01-01-2004, 04:59 PM
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I wanted one, and my husband REALLY wanted one because he was worried about knowing what to do to help me. For me, the doula was the difference between a c-section and vaginal birth. She told me when to quit work, came over to our house when I started labor, helped us decide when to go to the hospital, and was right by my side through 30 hours of labor. We paid $300, but I'd say she was worth at least $3000. I went 5 days over my due date, and she had me call her every two or three days starting at 37 weeks. I could ask her anything, and she helped me decide whether I had a problem or not (rather than wondering about it myself and worrying about whether I should call the doctor or not).

The main reason why I think she was worth it was because she was there to guide me as I made decisions. I did not have my ideal birth. The plan was no drugs-no episiotomy, and I ended up with an epidural and episiotomy. However, I had a no regrets birth because I knew I did my best with the labor that I had. That peace of mind is worth a million dollars.

Tana, wife to Steve (5/02), mom to Ben (7/03), Joey (10/06) and Caroline (9/09)
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#11 of 12 Old 01-05-2004, 01:58 AM
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We had a doula and a student doula at our dd's unmedicated, hospital birth. The cost was $600, all out of pocket.

All I can say is PLEASE, be very selective about who you hire. In our situation I felt comfortable with the doula during our innital meetings while my husband got some very bad vibes from her but supported my decision to hire her anyway. It really put a strain between my husband and I and when it came right down to it my husband's gut instincts were right-she was aweful. Luckily the student she brought with her was an absolute saint, someone whom we are still in constant contact with 17 months later. The doula, a 25 year veteran, took her money and ran-we never heard from her after we left the hospital.

I should also mention that we were Bradley students as well and while having a doula was nice, we could have handled things on our own after having such extensive training.
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#12 of 12 Old 01-05-2004, 02:05 AM
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I loved having a doula, and so did my husband and mom (both attendants). We also hired our doula for postpartum care, which for me was the most important time for having a doula. At the birth, she was critical since my midwife wasn't able to be there for the delivery.

And, I had planned a homebirth and ended up in the hospital. Having some continuity from home to hospital was important.

And, after the baby was born, everyone was focused on the baby. The doula was the one who notice how much I was bleeding and got everyone else's attention.

I can't remember the fee. My doula was a gift from my closest friends.

I agree also with previous post about find the right fit. We tried 2 doulas and found the 3rd after we realized the first 2 had too much of an agenda.

Good luck with your decision.
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