I would like to welcome my friend Terra to Beauty in the Mess while I am on maternity leave!
Many moms choose to have a doula on their birth team. This decision is definitely a personal one, and needs to be made with your husband – making sure you're both comfortable with the choice. But WHY would someone choose to have a doula at their birth?
The evidence shows that women who labor with a doula by their side experience:
- 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin
- 28% decrease in the risk of C-section
- 12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
- 9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
- 14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
- 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience
Doulas fill many roles throughout labor. They can
- Help you understand all the options that will be available for you whether you choose a medicated, natural, or caesarean birth
- Help you understand the stages of labor
- Meet you at your home (if you're birthing at a hospital or birth center) to help you work through the early stages of labor
- Stay with you throughout labor so you are able to understand all options and help you work toward and through birth
- Help initiate breastfeeding after birth, if you so desire
- Help process the postpartum time
Doulas will not:
- Provide any medical care. Now, some doulas are also midwives, and you need to cover bases with them what they will or will not do. But as a general rule, there will be no taking of BP, cervical checking, etc….
- Make choices FOR you – They will help you better understand your choices, but should never speak for you
- deliver your baby
If you choose to hire a doula for your birth, it is helpful to interview a few doulas so you can figure out which doula will mesh the best with you and your husband/birth team. When interviewing, consider:
- Personalities (of all parties)
- What you would like for your doula to do
- What type of birth you would like
- How much you can spend on a doula
If the cost of a doula is concerning to you, don't feel like having this amazing resource is out-of-reach. There are many ways to get this assistance, including:
- Bartering – Are you a photographer? Graphic designer? Cake maker extraordinare?! Offer your services! You never know what response you'll get!
- Search for a doula working towards her certification – many that need credit hours will offer their services for free or low-cost
- Ask a friend – if you're desiring a particular birth, ask a friend who has been-there-done-that, that would be able to provide the assistance you are looking for
I didn't have a clue what a doula was during my first pregnancy, and wish that I had! However, for my second birth, I had two doulas – one we had hired, and then a friend that was working towards her certification. Each provided such amazing support for me:
- Verbal encouragement to get past the mental ‘roadblocks' set up from my first birth and cheering me on
- Physical support – massaging my back, providing a hand to hold, keeping cool washrags on my back and neck
- Keeping tabs on what my midwife and nurse had to say
- Helping with breastfeeding
During my third birth, which was much faster, and much more intense than my first two, the support I needed was much different. I really just needed my doula to provide counter-pressure on my back. I didn't need words, as there wasn't much time for much to happen, except quick dilation! But she did a great job of praying over me right at the moments I needed it, and she knew just where to press on my back, so my visual focus could remain on my husband.
Terra Jones is a Childbirth International Certified Birth Doula. In addition to this, she is a music-loving, sweet tea drinking, homeschooling mom to three awesome boys (ages “almost 7”, 5, and 3) and wife to one incredible man.