11 Awesome Reasons to Hire a Doula Even if You’re Not Planning a Natural Birth
The word doula comes from an ancient Greek word meaning “a woman who serves.” In modern times, a doula is a trained professional who assists a woman before, during, and after birth. While most women who seek out a doula are looking for support during labor and delivery, many doulas also provide prenatal and postnatal support.
Read on for some great reasons to use a doula during your pregnancy. Doulas aren't just for women planning unmedicated births, they can be useful for any type of birth even if you are planning an epidural or c-section.
A doula is like a BFF
During your pregnancy, a doula can give you information about different birthing methods so that you can make the choice that's best for you. A doula can answer questions like:
- What is the difference between the Bradley and the Lamaze methods?
- What is a natural birth like?
- How have your other clients reacted when they got epidurals?
- How can I eat better?
- What can I expect during labor?
- How will I know when I'm in labor?
Many doulas will come to your house once or twice while you are expecting and will also be available by telephone. Having a doula by your side during pregnancy is like having a BFF who has been through it all.
You get full attention from your doula
A doula stays with a laboring woman until her baby is born. Nurses in hospitals come and go, as they care for numerous patients at once, and it is likely that nurses will change shifts at least once during your labor and delivery. With few exceptions, doctors make only rare appearances in the delivery room until it's time to push.
Not all midwives are able to stay with a laboring woman throughout her labor either, but your doula will be concerned with you — and only you — during your labor and delivery. Having consistent support can help a woman get through her labor more easily.
A doula is a team player
Having a doula in the labor and delivery room can make it easier for your partner to support you. Your partner may need to take a nap or take a break to eat so that he can be at his best, so having a doula as part of the birth team can help you and your partner both feel confident that you will be well taken care of while he recharges his tired batteries.
Or, if your partner refuses to leave your side, you can rest easily knowing that your doula can run out to get you ice chips or find the nurse if you have any questions.
Doulas offer great advice
While doulas cannot give medical advice, they can help you work through your options and can offer some recommendations of questions that you can ask your providers. Since doulas receive extensive training and attend births for a living, they may have ideas that you may never have thought of on your own about how your labor is proceeding.
A doula is a comforter
Since a doula knows what you are going through, she will be able to give you great suggestions for how you can remain comfortable during labor. Whether it's trying yoga positions if you are laboring naturally, getting a cool compress for your forehead, or giving you something to hold onto while you push, a doula can help ease discomfort.
Doulas can be your mouthpiece
While you're in labor, the last thing on your mind might be keeping friends and anxious grandparents-to-be updated. With your permission, a doula can field phone calls, texts, or even post to Facebook for you with any news.
Doulas help capture moments
Your partner will want to be focused on you and your new baby during your delivery and for those first moments with your brand new little one. Doulas are great at stepping back with a camera to record any part of the experience you would like. You will be so glad to have photos once you are back home. Some doulas will even write a birth story for you to share with your little one once he's old enough.
Doulas are guaranteed to be there
Many OB and midwifery practices have rotating, or on-call schedules, and some even share coverage with other practices. That means that unless you have a planned induction or c-section, you don't know who is going to be there for you the day you give birth.
Most doulas only take a few clients at a time, so they are practically guaranteed to be with you on the big day. It can be very comforting to have someone who you know that is familiar with the birthing process and your hospital or birthing center on your big day rather than being surprised by who will be there to support you.
Doulas create the perfect atmosphere
Doulas can take care of a lot of “extras” for you. Do you have a specific song you want to play while you are in labor? Have you read about certain aromas that can keep you calm during labor that you want to try?
Your doula can help you create the type of atmosphere you want in your birthing room and keep track of the details that are needed to make it happen while you are focused on bringing your baby into the world. I know of one doula who brings candles and twinkle lights to every birth to create a calming atmosphere in the labor and delivery room.
Doulas stay with you after you give birth
Doulas stay with you after your baby has been born. Most doulas can help with getting your newborn nursing, helping you with your first swaddle, or just rubbing your feet to help you relax. Many doulas will do whatever you need during recovery, whether it's running out to get you a burger, fetching the newly minted grandma from the waiting room or, of course, taking your first family portrait.
Doulas have your postpartum care covered
Doulas can be a big help once you are at home with your baby as well. Postpartum doulas can help with just about anything you need, from helping you perfect your swaddling or diapering technique and preparing nourishing meals for the family, to holding the baby while Mom and Dad nap.
Some birth doulas can serve as postpartum doulas as well, or you can seek out a doula who specializes in postpartum care, even if you didn't use a doula in your birthing room.
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