I am not sure which forum to put this in, sorry if it belongs somewhere else.
If you have a midwife who will honor your birth plan, do you need a Doula? My DH will be my coach. I tend to be a private person, I feel like the fewer people there to bother me, the better off I will be. But I wanted to hear other people's opinions before I make a final decision. Is there something Doulas do that I will truly miss?
Paying a stranger to fill that role seems weird and unnecessary to me. I guess if one felt their partner would be missing or some kind of lame duck... then a doula might be a good option. Otherwise, save your money and your privacy.
Definitely not necessary, but they could be helpful in ways that DH may not be. I'd say that it could depend on whether your midwife will have "back-up" present, and how active your midwife is. My midwife was barely present at my labor (she was in the birthing center, if needed, but attending to other things). But two assistants were present (and she always has at least one present for each birth). They were very helpful to me in suggesting laboring positions based on how I was feeling.
The of the major benefits of having a doula is that she is a professional birth support person, having being trained in birth she has a keen eye on what a laboring mother needs. Things which a hospital physician unfortunately does not have time for, and things which your partner may not pick up on or know how to deal with. A doula is trained to think clearly, see pros and cons of any situation and relay them to the couple to make their own decision. A doula can explain what is happening with compassion and without judgement or medical jargon, so its easier for you to understand.
A doula does NOT take the place of the partner, but complements and reinforces their role. Partners feel more enthusiastic and that their contribution to the labor and birth was meaningful and helpful.
Again, if you feel you have the support you need to have the birth you want, then go ahead and enjoy your birth without a doula. Doulas are for families who don't have that support and are looking for someone to help the have an empowered birth.
Before I became a doula myself, I think back to a time before I ever even knew what a doula was.
I think of the birth of my first child. I thought the same, that I had a MW who supported my birth plan, I may not really need a doula. I'm educated, etc, I felt prepared.
But, birth has a funny way of surprising you sometimes. And if you are a first time Mom, expect to labor longer at home. I didn't know it at the time, but my daughter wasn't positioned properly which made for an intense loooong early labor, before it was even classified as active labor by my MW, and she blew me off. I would have given anything in the world to have had a doula with me at home at that time. Someone with the knowledge to have been able to spot the signs for a malpositioned baby and who could have given me and my partner tips to try and spin the baby, allowing labor to progress more efficiently.
A doula is not to take the place of a partner! But a doula can be a great knowledge base for those times when something unexpected comes up. They have training and skills to help you and your partner through. I know it's best to think for the best and that you will have an easy labor, but it doesn't always go that way. I regret beign stubborn and not seeking a professional to help out with ideas when I was exhausted and stuck.
Just some other things to think about.
Also, a doula is as hands on or hands off as you need. Maybe you could even find a doula that would have a plan to just be on-call for knowledge and there in person if you found you needed/wanted it. They can also field a lot of prenatal questions. I know the most common times I've been contacted by clients is in late 3rd tri when braxton hicks come more frequently and look to me for advice if they may turn into something, or if they are uncomfortable, what can they do. I've also had clients with babies that get into painful spots during third tri and the useful spinning babies knowledge and tips works just as well then, as it does in labor and they are very grateful I could walk them through what to do so they could sit in ease again. :-)
Proud Single Mama, Birth & Postpartum Doula
Student, Aspiring CNM
DD ~ 1/7/09 DS ~ 9/22/10
In retrospect, I could have gotten through my son's birth without my doula just fine, because I lucked out with the nurses who were on that night and the midwife (CNM) who promised to do her best to be the one to catch my baby was indeed able to do so. (I had a really lovely labor/birth- med free, healthy me, healthy baby, no complaints!) However, I'm still really glad we had the doula. For one, she was also a photographer and took beautiful pictures. For another, had different nurses been on that night, or most of all had my midwife not been able to make it, I still would have had someone who I was comfortable with, knew me well, and knew labor support well. I think she was a safety net and she helped me feel ok going into the hospital. I had originally very much wanted a homebirth.
Now if I had given birth at home, I don't know that I would have hired a doula. You are much more in control of your environment at home and in case of a transfer, I would expect my midwife to maintain a support role at the hospital.
At home amongst the redwoods with my husband and my son, born 7/5/11 Instant CNM, just add !
I'm not local to you but I saw this on new posts...
I gave birth with a midwife and a VERY supportive partner and I still had a doula (2 actually)...Could I have done it without them? Well yeah, the baby would have come out. But I really feel like they made a huge difference. They never had to be my advocate or anything, but that's not why I had them. They were so supportive, gave the best hip squeezes, got my partner things he needed, fed me, held my hand, put heat pads or cool cloths on me, etc...I highly highly recommend a doula!
Newly single, chronically sleep deprived mama to my little wild thang , born 11/17/12