Would you have a friend act as a doula? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 01-29-2010, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am interested in researching more about having a doula at our upcoming hospital birth. I have a friend who has had two natural births in the hospital, but she's not trained as a doula, or anything. She just knows a lot about having the birth she wanted in a hospital setting. She went through Bradley classes, as well.

I am planning for a VBAC, so I don't know if it would be better to try finding someone comfortable with this. Also, I don't know if it would be awkward to have a friend with you through all of this. (I'm not sure, but DH might actually feel more comfortable with having this friend hanging out, rather than with a doula. I haven't broached the subject with him, but I'm guessing he's going to think I'm a little crazy.) If things didn't happen as I hoped at the birth, I don't know if it would cause a strain in our friendship.

Does anyone have experience with this or any thoughts or ideas?

Thanks!
Joanna

Joanna, 6 years married to DH, Mom to 3-1/2 yo DS Owen and DD Taylor, born 6/14/10 by unmedicated
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#2 of 11 Old 01-29-2010, 06:40 PM
 
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I am planning an HBAC and happen to also be studying to be a doula, and this is what I would say, have them BOTH. I think the friend will be great support for the two of you, especially your hubby, but when planning a VBAC, I would want someone there who has worked with VBACs before. There are a lot of emotional hurdles that your friend has probably not gone through, and may or may not deal with them as well as an experienced VBAC Doula. I think it really depends on your hospital too. If it has a VBAC rate of less than 80%, all the more reason to hire a VBAC Doula, as she will better ensure success in a maybe not so friendly VBAC environment.

There is a lot more to a Doula than having given birth before, and I don't know your friend personally, so I couldn't say how much she knows about specific situations you may encounter (baby funny positioned, prolonged labor, fast labor, etc) Personally, if any of my friends were pregnant right now, even with me having done all my studies, i would still recommend then hire someone with more experience for the professional support. Of course I would be there for them as well, but there is so much more to a having Doula support, that I feel a friend can't bring to the table. The same reason, I feel most dads can't be Doulas.

Again, I don't know your friend, but I'd hire someone in addition to her.
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#3 of 11 Old 01-29-2010, 07:49 PM
 
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I think there is a difference between giving birth (even naturally) and being a good doula...two different experiences. I think if you're comfortable having your friend at your birth, have your friend, but don't consider her your doula.
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#4 of 11 Old 01-29-2010, 07:58 PM
 
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It depends on what you want from this support person. Do you want the emotional support of a woman you are bonded to or the knowledgeable support of a professional?
Both are valuable and one is neither better than the other depending on what you want. It is definitely an option to have both there as long as they both understand what you want from them and their roles in your birth-there isn't anything much worse than a power struggle in a labor room. Your friend could be a great doula, some women really come to it instinctively with or without training but if you are relying on a doula to help you achieve a VBAC that is a lot of pressure on your friend who has never experience birth from the other side.

Karen, homeschooling Catholic mom to 8. #9 due 6/10
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#5 of 11 Old 01-29-2010, 09:34 PM
 
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I've been both...the supportive friend AND the trained doula. The first birth I ever attended was my best friend's hospital VBAC. That experience was actually what made me want to become a doula. I then got trained and certified and attended her next birth which was a HBAC. I can honestly say I was much more useful at the second birth. Even though I had had 1 natural birth at a free standing birth center before attending her first VBAC, had taken Bradley classes, etc, I knew SO MUCH MORE about ways to help her at the second birth. I was able to suggest position changes, gauge where she was in her labor by looking for signs, knew more about what the midwife was actually doing, etc.

So while I was so honored to be at the first birth with her, and she says I was very helpful (her DH is one of those guys who just doesn't know what to do with himself during his wife's labors, so I was her primary support person) I would go with the previous posters and have BOTH your friend AND a trained doula. I didn't know what I didn't know until I took my course.

Vallere: Blessed Wife, Doula, Homeschool Mom to Ian Gray(11/20/05), Zollie Isaac(10/14/07), Anna Zophia (8/14/09):, and a GIRL coming June 2010!
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#6 of 11 Old 01-29-2010, 11:48 PM
 
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Have your friend and husband read The Birth Partner. I also think having having a trained doula is a great idea, or if your friend was interested in becoming a doula have her do the doula training and offer to help her pay for it in exchange for being at your birth.

I think a doula is essential for support, but what I think is equally or sometimes even more important is making sure your medical care providers have a low c/s rate. Because if you are going to a practice that will do vbac but they have a high rate, 30%, for example is common, then your chances of being really supported in your efforts for a vbac are much smaller. I know that is not part of your post but vbac is a passion of mine and so I always talk about this with folks. Having said all that, you may already have thought of all that, so I apologize for being redundant if that is the case! I hope you have a lovely birth!!!
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#7 of 11 Old 01-30-2010, 10:17 AM
 
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My mom sort of acted as my doula at my UC with my daughter.

Mama to DS (3/7/06)om.gif, DSD  hearts.gif(11/17/02), DD (1/16/08 )energy.gif ,  DS2 (5/30/10) sleepytime.gif and Baby Quinn angel.gif (R.I.P 3/22/13)

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#8 of 11 Old 01-30-2010, 12:46 PM
 
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I wouldn't have a stranger if that's what you are asking. totally the friend. but if you meet w/ & hire a trained doula ahead of time, I'm totally for having them both. the MOST important thing is that you are RELAXED! if having many people around makes you nervous then don't do it. what if the stranger has a personality that clashes w/ yours?

think about it a lot. what atmosphere makes you the most relaxed? every single muscle in your body needs to be in a relaxed state so the ONE (uterus) can work to it's full potential. your brain needs to be clear.

wife since 1992; mom to: J 7-95; H 5-98; C 2-03; S 4-05; Micah Zachary born still UC 4-08; UM 9-08; due June 2010
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#9 of 11 Old 01-30-2010, 04:00 PM
 
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I would have both.

mama to 4 kiddos, wife to one awesome man!  DH of 13yrs, DS 5/01,dd 5/05, DS 3/08, DS 6/10
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#10 of 11 Old 01-30-2010, 04:08 PM
 
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I agree with most of the previous posts. The unique emotional and physical needs of VBAC moms is something that an experienced, trained, and compassionate doula will be experienced in knowing how to handle. Having a friend there for moral support can be incredibly comforting, but a doula is a trained professional who is skilled in handling some of the unique challenges that might come up in a VBAC.

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#11 of 11 Old 01-30-2010, 04:11 PM
 
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I'd have both. I thought my mom would be enough since she had two unmedicated vaginal births in the hospital. She was the one who egged on my epidural and my c-section. I was really angry with her for a long time. Just something to think about...
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