This was the kind of question I asked myself and my partner. We discussed the pros and cons of hiring a doula for our birth. Here is our short list:
- The cost. We could spend that money on the baby.
- We're having a hospital birth with nurses and doctors, they will be our support people.
- Lots of people have babies without doulas.
- We want to do it ourselves, we'll feel more accomplished.
- There won't be much room in the birthing suite, an extra person will be too much.
- Only one person can be with you in the triage area.
- If partner can't be there, mom won't be alone.
- It would be money well invested if we have a good outcome birth with our chosen outcomes.
- Even if we have a c-section, we may have to labor for a period and need support in that time.
- This is our first baby together, what if husband isn't able to handle things? The doula will be there to keep the flow going.
- We only hear good things about having a doula involved in birth, she'll be able to help us in the prenatal and postnatal periods too.
We were very, very satisfied with the care we received from our doula. We hardly felt as though she was there during the birth, but she was always there and always doing her job. It's hard to explain, but basically she did SUCH a good job that we maximized our use from her and minimized the so-called inconvenience of having someone who wasn't a family member in on our birth story.
Our doula is a wonderful doula. She's also a midwife, so her birth intuition is superior. We were incredibly fortunate to have our doula and I would recommend her to anyone giving birth.
There are many, many, many functions of a doula. It's in the realm of anything the mother needs for help, although mainly empowering the mother. Here are some simple examples of doula care.
Prenatal or Antepartum Period
- Education (reviewing pregnancy, the birthing process)
- Creating a birthing plan with the mother
- Education for the birth partner
- Connecting the parents to local birthing resources
- Attending appointments with the mother
- Attending prenatal classes with the mother when her support person cannot make it
- Being a mom's support person
- Caring for other children
- Helping with house work
- Helping to prepare meals for the coming home
- Helping the support person
- Massage, application of ice packs, applying heat
- Relieving the support person (if they need to nap/eat etc)
- Assisting with functions on the birth plan
- Maintaining focus on a positive outcome
- Timing contractions
After the birth
- Helping with initial breast feeding
- Notifying family in the waiting room
- Delivering meals
- Assistance in the home (cooking, cleaning)
- Giving parents rest relief (ie. rocking a fussy baby)
- Running errands
You may also find this article helpful: What Qualities Should I Look For In a Doula?
Read more of Rhonda's work on her blog: http://birthingutopia.blogspot.com