If you are pregnant you’ve likely already heard the term doula as nowadays it is a common word used during pregnancy. A doula is a support person hired to provide physical, emotional and information support before, during and after birth. In this post we will explore the top reasons to hire a doula. Let’s get started!
Top 10 Reasons To Hire A Doula
Helps with the Intensity of Birth
One of the big reasons to hire a doula is because labor will likely be more intense than you think. Most women are surprised by the intensity of birth. A doula is helpful because she provides a calm, encouraging presence which can eliminate fear and therefore decrease pain.
Also, doulas are helpful in intense birth scenarios because they provide reminders that what she is experiencing is normal, and actually a good thing! Intensity means she gets to see her baby soon.
Takes Pressure off Dad
Historically, dads have never been expected to assist moms in birth. These days things are completely the opposite. Many dads are expected to perform as if they were actually a doula! How can this be so? They’ve likely never even attended a birth before!
Often, having a doula present at birth will take some pressure off of dad. In my experience, dads sometimes perform best in the roll of loving partners rather than as doula.
With the pressure off of dads to be an amazing doula, dads tend to be more present and are therefore most helpful to their partners.
Accessible for Support
Another one of the reasons to hire a doula is that doulas are available for phone, text, email or in person support before birth. It can be a relief to have access to a doula at 3 am via facebook messenger. I’ve even Facetime’d with clients!
Often, these conversations are in regards to minor questions that a woman wouldn’t want to bother her midwife/OB with.
Sometimes these questions are very similar to the questions below.
- “My contractions are around 7 minutes apart, what should I do?”
- “I’m having trouble sleeping, do you have any good ideas that would help?”
- “Tomorrow I’m having an ultrasound appointment, what sorts of questions should I ask?”
- “Do you have any suggestions for a good childbirth class?”
- “Do people encapsulate placentas in our town?”
Most doulas have attended many births and even given birth themselves. It’s encouraging to have someone present who has been there, done that. When a doula says, “you’re doing great” it can be very encouraging!
On the other hand, it’s hard to appreciate it when your partner says, “you’re doing great” and you’re wondering how in the world HE knows.
PRO TIP: If you’re looking for things to say and not say at a birth, make sure you check out my post 10 things to NEVER say to a woman in labor (and what to say instead). You’ll thank me later! 😉
A doula is there for you and your partner, nobody else. Doulas don’t typically work for a midwife, birth center, or hospital so they answer only to you. They’re not busy caring for the medical aspects of birth, but solely there to make sure you do well physically and emotionally.
One of the best reasons to hire a doula is because doulas support women wherever and however you choose to give birth.
Nourish the Parents
Because of the intensities of birth, parents sometimes forget to take care of themselves. Another one of the top reasons to hire a doula is because they will happily offer reminders for everyone to eat, drink, change positions, go to the bathroom, etc.
Believe it or not, both mom and dad can easily forget these things! Don’t forget, doulas aren’t only there to serve the mom, but also the dad.
Statistics Support Doulas
Statistically, a doula that provides continuous labor support is a key player in creating excellent outcomes for mothers and their babies.
According to a 2012 Cochrane Review, women who received continuous labor support were:
- more likely to give birth spontaneously
- less likely to give birth via caesarean or with a vacuum or forceps
- less likely to use pain medications
- more likely to be satisfied
- had slightly shorter labors
Also, their babies were less likely to have low five-minute Apgar scores. And no adverse effects were identified!
Labor at Home
Many women hire a doula so that they will be able to labor at home as long as possible before heading in for their out of home birth. If this is the case, these women are hoping to arrive at the hospital during transition, just before the pushing stage.
With a doula present, it is easier to distinguish where a woman is at in the stages of labor. Most parents head to the hospital too early, and some unfortunately go too late. A doula is one more added layer of support to ensure parents arrive at the hospital at the right time.
Walking Birth Plan
As you may have begun to realize, birth isn’t 100% of the time the most straightforward thing on the planet. Because of that, another reason to hire a doula is because a doula is like having a walking birth plan.
Sometimes (although not in my local hospitals!) written birth plans often go unread and may even evoke negative feelings and energy from care providers. Doulas are excellent at encouraging their clients to make their requests known (like limited vaginal exams) as situations arise so that mamas can go within, stay focused, and give birth to their baby.
When plans change, and a little bit of the unexpected comes (as it inevitably does!), doulas are invaluable to have on hand to navigate these changes in plans. For example, if a cesarean birth becomes the next best thing, a doula can remind parents of their desire to have a more “gentle” cesarean and request thins like skin-to-skin in the OR.
Doula = Birth Bouncer
Finally, on this list of reasons to hire a doula, you should hire a doula because they make great birth bouncers.
What is a birth bouncer? A birth bouncer, or a gatekeeper, is a person whose responsibility it is to keep the right people in the birth room and the wrong people out.
At a doula prenatal meeting, a doula will discuss with parents about who should be there and who specifically should not. If this is a big issue, a doula may help brainstorm all possible solutions. At birth, along with dad, she can help protect the birth space by asking Aunt Trudy and neighbor Dorothy to leave.
Top 10 Reasons To Hire A Doula
A doula is an excellent choice for many women hoping to have a safe and satisfying birth. Just to recap, these are the top reasons to hire a doula.
- Helps with the Intensity of Birth
- Takes Pressure off Dad
- Accessible for Support
- Legit Encouragement
- Unbiased Support
- Nourish the Parents
- Statistics Support Doulas
- Labor at Home
- Walking Birth Plan
- Doula = Birth Bouncer
What about you? What are your reasons for hiring a doula? Leave a comment and let me know.