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Hi..
I was just wondering...if I am birthing in a birthing center with a midwife and supportive husband, how necesary is a doula ? I guess I am confused about the roles of midwife/doula. I thought part of the midwifes job is to help you out with encouragement, pain relief and support as well. Isnt that what a doula does ?

We have very little money and are trying to decide what is REALLY helpful and what we can live without..

How many of you were without a doula ? ~ Pixie
 

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I am a doula myself, and I have to admit that I did not use a doula
: for my birthcenter birth. Like you, funds were limited for us - and I already had to pay for the birth assistant. Between my midwife, my birth assistant, my DH, a dear friend of mine, and my aunt, I felt 100% supported throughout the entirety of my 46 hour labor.

You are correct that midwives/birth assistants are trained in much of the same things as doulas, so if you are limited on cash, and you have other support people (like DH and a friend), I would say you are well covered for a birthcenter birth. That said - in my opinion, a doula can always be nice to have, so if it is important to you, see if you can find one who just completed her training and will attend you for free.
 

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I am a doula & had a doula at both of my births. I truly needed support when I had my first son (hospital birth) and I wanted the extra emotional & physical support with my second (home birth). If you aren't able to afford the doula's fees, ask about payment plans, bartering or check with groups like DONA (www.dona.org) for a list of non certified doulas who normally have reduced fees since they are in training.
 

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While many midwives DO provide many of the same things doulas do, they are still your medical care provider and have to focus on you and the baby's health condition first. A doula is there to support your emotional needs and help with physical comfort.
 

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I don't know about birth centers, but where I live you don't get continuous labor support from CNMs in hospitals. THey check in periodically, and help through pushing, but that's it. I imagine you get more support in a birth center environment? Maybe somewhere between home (where a midwife typically will provide continuous labor support) and hospital.
 

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Consider, too, what you want to do in the time before you arrive at the birth center. Generally, they will want you to come in well into labor. If you think you would want extra labor support at home before that time, a doula could be a great help.
 

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What about a student doula or a nursing student? Someone who's looking for their first 3 as a doula or a student just wanting more experience? They'd likely do it for free!

I'm a nursing student and I'd absolutely doula for free. The other women in my class who have decided on OB likely would as well. Maybe posting a flyer at a local college?

Just editing to add that although I'm a nursing student, I've read all the "doula books" for DONA and I've attended 8 births as labor support. I'm also doing an internship this summer at a birth center. I'd love to doula for dollars (ha!) but it's just not a reality while I'm in school- I need a schedule, KWIM? So I'd do it for one birth and potentially miss school for the one, but I can't do it all the time.


My point was that we all have different levels of experience and that a student isn't necessarily a bad thing!
(not that anyone said it was...)
 

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I think you'll need to get to know your midwife, and think really hard about your personality. Think long and hard about how you act when you're emotionally stressed and/or in pain. What kind of support do you need? Do you do better self-soothing? Or, do you need a lot of hands on support? Then, take this to the midwife. Be frank with her. Ask her what kind of emotional and physical support she tends to provide when labor sitting. Does she do a lot of hands on, in your face supporting, or is she more a sit back and watch, chart it, and let the mama go kind of midwife. As laboring mothers, we all need different kinds of support...and as birth workers, we all provide support a little differently. So. I'm not sure asking other people what they have done is the best route to follow...more effective will be to ask yourself realistically what you think you'll want/need, and then asking frankly what kind of support will be provided.

Then, if you decide that you WILL need the support, go about finding an alternative that you can afford. Check out bellywomen.net...the doulas there are willing to work on a sliding scale or for a reduced fee for women who truely can't afford their full fee. Most of us out here would rather see a woman supported the way they need to be...we're not in this business to be millionaires! THAT said, though...what we do is very physically and emotionally demanding work. Most of the doulas I know (myself included) come home pretty much completely tapped. Also, there are expenses involved with working--gas, parking, childcare, supplies...so if you can afford to pay them, please find a way to do so.

Hope some of that is useful!
 
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