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Things You Should Know Before Hiring a Doula

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

A Doula is a person trained to support the birthing women and their partner during pregnancy, birth, and can even be there for you during the early weeks of parenting. They can offer reassurance, practical assistance, and information.


A doula is usually someone you come to know quite well by the time of your birth, and their focus is solely on you and your partner by offering you different forms of labor support. She can be there to encourage you, help your care provider to follow your birth plan and also help your partner feel more confident about how to support you. She can also assist you with various comfort measures for labor, such as massage, counter-pressure, couching and suggestions for positioning. The main focus of a doula's role is often to support you in labor and delivery, which is why most doulas are known as Birth Doulas. A doula can also support you after the birth when she can help out with feeding, support you in getting your body back to normal and adjusting to life with a newborn. These doulas are usually called Postpartum Doulas.


How does a Doula differ from a Midwife?

Unlike a Midwife a Doula does not provide clinical care such as doing examinations on you or checking your baby's heartbeat. The support a doula provides fits together with, but does not replace, the care of your doctor, midwife, or nurses. A doula's primary focus is on your emotional, physical and spiritual well being throughout labor, were as your midwife’s or doctor’s focus is on you and your baby's health. Though many midwives are trained as a doula before they become a midwife, their primary concern is taking care of the medical aspects of labor. Midwives often offer the same education as a Doula but may not be able to offer the same amount of support throughout your labor. Typically midwives attend the end of your labor and offer you support throughout your final phases verses a doula who can come as early as you call and will be by your side throughout your entire labor.

Benefits of having a Doula

  • Research has shown that having a doula at your birth can make a difference in the outcome of birth including shorter labors and smoother deliveries

  • They can educate you about your different option before labor starts

  • Offer different forms of labor support such as position, massage, essential oils…etc.

  • Offer continuous support throughout labor

  • They can help your partner to be more involved in the labor and delivery.

  • Help you to know when it is time to call your doctor or midwife.

  • The risk of emergency cesarean is reduced (by 45% in most moms)

  • The risk of other interventions happening like episiotomy and assisted delivery is reduced.

  • Help your care provider to follow your birth plan

  • H elp you with breastfeeding

  • Help with the transition in having a newborn

Disadvantages of having a Doula

  • Hiring the wrong person- someone that you are not comfortable with or tries to push you to do something you are not comfortable with. They may also try to take over for your partner and push them aside. The wrong person may try to tell you what to do or speak for you without you instructing them too.

  • Pricey- Having a doula is an extra service that is not usually covered by insurance.

  • Paying extra for the same care (some midwives offer doula services are part of their care)

What more information?

Books: The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin

See our Instagram Post @twoheartbeatsmidwifery


Reference

Child Birth International. (2017). Birth Professional Toolkit. Retrieved from https://www.cbistudents.com/course/view.php?id=63

DONA International. (2019). What is a Doula. Retrieved from https://www.dona.org/what-is-a-doula/

Simkin, P., & Rohs, K. (2018). The birth partner: A complete guide to childbirth for dads, doulas,

and all other labor companions. Beverly, MA, USA: Harvard Common Press.


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