Mothers have plenty of options when planning for a baby. Nursery theme? Do I breastfeed? Do we need swaddle blankets? What is a swaddle blanket? It seriously can make your head spin. Another question that tends to come up, do I want a Doula? What is a Doula anyways?
"A Doula is a TRAINED person without an emotional attachment to the family, offering supportive services in a unbiased, nonjudgmental way. This is done in an exchange for a fee that is equivalent to the time, energy, commitment and sacrifice they make."
Giving birth is a monumental moment in anyone's life (yes, even for the birth partner), so why do it alone? Of course you have your care provider, but their number one focus is a medically healthy mom and a healthy baby. As it should be. No one NEEDS a Doula. A birth doula offers continuous support, and that looks different for everyone. Studies have shown how beneficial Doulas can be, emotionally and physically to the birthing family. There is no doubt that Doulas can do amazing things for a family during this time. We asked five women who did hire a doula during their birth to give us a little outlook on exactly why they needed that extra support.
"Since it was my first birth, I didn't know what to expect and needed someone to tell me what was normal and what wasn't... Someone other than my OB. I wanted to make informed decisions and knew I couldn't know everything and everything, hence my Doula! - Alissa Gilligan
A Doula will fill the bridge between you and your care provider. You can go to your Doula with fears, concerns and questions and receive nonjudgmental answers that are evidence based. People typically don't want to call their doctor for every little question or concern, but your Doula will gladly hear from you, making you feel reassured in every choice your family is making through this journey.
"I loved having the support from someone trained to support ME. She's been a great resource throughout my pregnancy. My husband is very nervous about the birth process, so if he needs a break, he can take one without me feeling abandoned and resentment occurring between us." - Alli Harizi
"Because I wanted extra hands to help support me and my husband through the labor. It was nice for him to be able to grab coffee or go to the bathroom and me still have someone there. Plus two people using a rebozo to squeeze my hips were double the relief." - Katy Bauer
A great benefit of a Doula is that they are not only there to support you, but also to support your birth partner. Watching someone you're close with in pain can be really difficult for some, and many do not know they will feel that way until in the moment. A Doula can emotionally support the birth partner and talk with them about these feelings. Doulas can also show the birth partner comfort measures (like a rebozo!) and include them in the physical support as well.
"I had one for my first baby and she was wonderful. Even came into my emergency c-section with me." - Melissa LeBaron
Doulas are for EVERY kind of birth. They will hold your hand through every step of the way to make sure you feel supported in every decision you make. Natural birth, induction, home birth, hospital birth, epidural. And YES, Doulas can even be great for a cesarean birth. They can talk you through the process if you wish, bring baby to you in the operating room to do skin to skin and even insinuate breastfeeding while you're still on the operating table if you wish to do so. Doulas do not advocate for you towards your doctor/midwife. They empower you to feel knowledgeable and confident enough to make your own decisions and to feel great doing them!
"She was very calm and gentle during my pushing and would give me ice chips, rub my forehead with a cool cloth and various things to make me feel comfortable. After my baby was born he had aspirated really bad and was sent to the nursery unlike I had planned. It was wonderful having her there so my husband could stay with my son and I wouldn't be alone. She helped me get cleaned up and out of bed to the nursery to see my son right away. If she hadn't been there I would have been stuck in bed and unable to visit my son. She was a very important part of our birth team." - Lacie Lawson
A Doula will be the calm during the storm. They can set the mood for the entire birth team. When things do not go as planned, a Doula will unconditionally support you, while physically and emotionally making sure your needs are met. There can be a lot of questions when your baby is born, and a Doula will reassure you that everything will be okay. A Doula also provides help during the postpartum period (typically an hour afterwards) until the family is ready to bond alone. Doula's can also provide at home postpartum care.