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  1. #1

    Have/would you use a doula? What are the benefits?

    I am becoming increasingly interested in hiring a doula when I give birth. Have any of you used one or know anyone who has? What was your/their experience. Has anyone had a doula present for one birth and then gone without for another? What was the difference? Did the doula really help that much? Would you say it is worth it? Thanks!

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    774
    My first I did not use a doula (had my DH there, which, I love him so much but he was clueless, lol). I did with my next 3 births (#5th child was a totally different situation, so I was fine w/o a doula and with only my husband there).

    A doula is wonderful, I have used one in a hospital and also with my 2 homebirths and with all 3 of these births they had different roles, all adding to the experience for myself and my husband (and ultimately the baby) and not at all taking away from the intimacy of the birth.

    My sister was my doula with Bronwen. She was born in a local hospital known for being the best when it comes to high risk patients and babies, but, at the time (this was in early 2004), not being very into the whole natural birth thing. I of course made a birth plan, and in a worse case senerio I am all about getting the baby out quickly and saftly, but unless there are any red flags, I wanted a drug free labor and birth (and no augmenting with meds unless needed, like pitocin etc) and no eye drops in her eyes, baby put right to my chest, no vitamin K shot, and nobody "bugging" us for a few minutes until after the birth and then they could do the weight check etc. By having my sister there (not a professional doula, but, she had read up on things before hand even though she did not go through childbirth before) to rub my back, remind the nurses to stop asking if I wanted an epidural, get food and drinks for Andy (so he could remain in the room with me), be there with me so Andy could go out into the hall to make phone calls etc and know I was there with somebody (Sebastian was 19 months at the time of her birth and with my parents at their home about 5 minutes away), and basically just be there and be an extra set of hands and a voice for us. It was a pretty straight forward labor and birth. My ctx started lightly early in the morning and we went in around noon. She was born around 4:45ish, no issues etc. But this was my first natural birth, and, I really wanted an active and natural birth with her (being able to move around, not being strapped down unless needed, being able to shower etc...this hospital was not known at the time and still isnt for allowing women to walk around etc during labor) and was able to achieve it in part thanks to my doula.

    With Linus, my sister was also my doula. Here, her place was more to switch up with Andy in helping with the older 2 (4 and 2 1/2 at the time) and also rubbing my back, massaging me etc. She also cooked dinner for us and did some other randomness during and after, very nice. My MW was very into helping with doula-type stuff and did have an assistent with her. But it was nice for the MW to be able to switch up with Karen and Andy too with doula stuff (back rubbing, telling me I was doing great etc).

    For Violet's birth, we had quite the party! My sister was there, and my 2 friends as well as the MW (and 3 older kids). I started labor with Vio around 6am, and she wasnt born until after 3 the next morning! So it was very long...my 3 (!) doulas traded off cleaning, helping with the kids, rubbing my back, helping to set up the tub (which I did not birth in, but did labor in for a while), break down the tub, go out for food/take the kids outside etc. It was great, even though it was a long labor, it was awesome to have people I knew and trusted taking care of my family while I did the job of bringing a baby into the world. Andy was able to even take a short nap because they were there (and 2 of them were actually pregnant at the time, so more power to them for staying awake that whole time!!!) and the kids were more than taken care of with all we had going on.

    I am hoping to be an "actual" doula someday, have dabbled in it a little, but, with my kids being young it is going to be a few years. I am a big believer in somebody to help add to the experience of the birth as well as helping after the birth (I am probably going to hire a PP doula this time around actually, more helping with light housework, kid stuff, cooking etc...hopefully will not need the breastfeeding help since I have done it several times before, but they do that if a person needs it too) when possible. Too many women are pushed "back to the real world" way too soon and in other cultures they bond and get to know their baby and recover from a huge physical feat!

    I also think they are a wonderful thing to have no matter where you plan to have your birth, or, what may happen. I have a friend who had a planned Csection and hired a doula to help mostly after the birth to sit with her and get BFing started (which many nurses do have lactation consultants, but not all have them available 24/7, or, to sit with you for several hours) and she also did things like get her and her DH food, meet friends and relatives downstairs and walk them up to where they were etc. I also know people who hired a doula and planned on getting an epidural, again, the doula did lots of things for them that did not require massaging etc to help with ctx.

    Sometimes you will luck up and get a nurse who is awesome and can do all you want and need for her/him to do, but many times if things get busy, you are left on your own.

    As you can tell, I am a huge believer in having one, and this time around I am planning on another homebirth and having at least 1 doula present, if not more.

    Let me know if you have any more quesitons.
    Married to my love since August 2001
    --—————————————
    My lovely bunch of coconuts;
    Sebastian Elihu (7/02)
    Bronwen Eliza (2/04)
    Linus Ezra Graham (9/06)
    Violet Leona (1/09) and
    Wolfgang Levi (3/13)
    Always missing our Felix Emmanuel (10/10-10/10)

  3. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    774
    I also want to add that I never "hired" one, my sister and friends volunteered and while I did give them "thank you gifts", I didnt have to search for one, ask questions etc, they knew what i wanted from talking to me and I knew the type of people they were and that they would do a great job.

    But if you are going to look for one, I know the DONA website will have doulas in your area, now, they will most likely be more expensive (since official DONA certification etc is costly) and you might be able to find one elsewhere for a lot less who will do just as good of a job.
    Married to my love since August 2001
    --—————————————
    My lovely bunch of coconuts;
    Sebastian Elihu (7/02)
    Bronwen Eliza (2/04)
    Linus Ezra Graham (9/06)
    Violet Leona (1/09) and
    Wolfgang Levi (3/13)
    Always missing our Felix Emmanuel (10/10-10/10)

  4. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    939
    This wasn't something I knew about until recently. I have been really interested in it ever since! I hope more people share their experiences. I've heard it's fairly common practice.

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    652
    I know of one person who has used one and she was really positive about it. I read 'The Doula Guide to Birth: Secrets Every Pregnant Woman Should Know' by Ananda Lowe and Rachel Zimmerman to prepare for labor. It was a fantastic book and while I was skeptical at first about the whole idea of a Doula, I was very interested by the end of the book. If we could have afforded it I would have seriously considered it. Thankfully the book gave lots of great information and tips on how to get by without a doula and after reading the book I felt a lot more informed about the labor process. I think having a doula is definitely something worth looking into!
    Mama to twin boys Oliver Graham and Luke Axel

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