I'm having a home birth in October and I'm a little on the fence about hiring a doula. It makes total sense to me if you're having a hospital birth, but I'm wondering if anyone's had experiences with doulas at home and what their thoughts are. I know "just having a doula shortens labor time" but that seems to me to be based on hospital studies, not at home.
Also, wondering if anyone has recommendations for a birth photographer and or doula-photographer in the Salt Lake metro area.
im not from Utah - but i really WISH i had hired a doula for my last HB - so i had to chime in! i was having my 3rd baby ...my 2nd HB and being a PPDoula myself thought ....'oh, i can handle this....' NO! I was wrong. Labor was short and intense - my DH was totally ill prepared (this was his first child) overall the birth went very well, but i KNOW a doula could have made me far calmer, im sure there would have been less screaming too!
You know, if you hire one and it turns out to be a long difficult birth, you will know you needed her and the money was 'worth it' - on the other hand, if its a short, easy labor - youll be so grateful - you wont care about the money spent!
Out here, in NY, many HB midwives are stretched pretty thin, as such , they dont 'labor sit' like they used to. A doula will always be useful!
Happy at Home Mama to DD 4/95 DS 4/98 and DS#2 8/10
I think it depends a lot on your midwife and your situation. When I asked mine about a doula, she assured me she would be happy to work with one-- but pointed out that both she and her assistant have extensive doula experience. She told me quite a bit about the support and comfort they would offer, and after we'd talked about it I decided that a doula wouldn't be necessary for us. (We also have my very supportive mom and cousin attending the birth, so I am not worried about having enough help around, and my husband has such a wonderful attitude about being my labor partner). On the other hand, I have a good friend who will only have her nervous husband and the CNM there, and she felt very strongly that another birth-experienced person there would be valuable to them. I haven't given birth yet (also due in October!) but that's my two cents on the whole thing. :)
As far as reccomendations, I would reccomend the Utah Doula Association group on facebook. It's an open group and I've asked a few questions on there and had quite a few responses. There's a lot of local experience and knowledge there!
At what point does the midwife show up and stay in labor? That's a key question for many. Some midwives want their clients to be well into active labor before they stay. A doula can come at the onset of labor and stay for the duration.
It's a very personal choice for sure and there are many factors to consider.
I just wanted to share that I had a doula for both of my home births and I'm so glad! With my first doula, she mainly kept me fed and watered and did any kind of "grunt work" necessary so my partner could stay by my side.
My second doula was also a licensed MW and acupuncturist, so she really helped me mentally and with pain management! Afterwards she encapsulated my placenta for me, and did a few trips to the store and such. I was lucky she lived so close and came so quickly when I realized I was in labor--my second baby came FAST! The actual MW nearly didn't make it, and the baby was too fast for me to enjoy the birth tub (it wasn't done filling up by the time I pushed him out).
So, yeah. I think there is absolutely a place in home birth for doulas! If you aren't having a big crew and another person to act as a support person, or if your doula has a special skill set (like aromatherapy or acupuncture, like my two doulas), then I think it can still be a great idea. Instead of focusing on advocacy in the hospital, they can focus on you and your labor. Win!
I feel like I should also add that my second doula and I connected really well during my pregnancy, and that connection was at its strongest during labor and birth. It's funny, but I wanted her low soft voice in my ear, her hand on my back, etc., more strongly than I wanted my husband's! That wasn't the case with my first birth, so YMMV. But just another angle on how it can be a great thing to have a doula at a home birth.
This is a really great question. It looks like you've gotten a lot of great responses. I totally agree that it does depend somewhat on the midwife. If I were you I'd interview a couple doulas and ask them this question in person and see if anyone really just feels like a good fit. With my second I was in a birthing center with fabulous midwives but still wish I had had a doula just sit there with me before I was with the midwives because my husband was having a hard time staying awake all night and no one was there to help me try different positions so I never gave my little guy a chance to turn around (he was still posterior when I was in transition.)