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  1. #1
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    Default do i need a doula?

    I'm a newbie on this site and 25 weeks pg. I was wondering how you decide if you need/want a doula? It seems like everyone on here uses one, but I have also heard that it can be quite costly. I'm not sure if i will be having a natural birth or will use intervention. I am having a hospital birth. But that's all I know and would welcome your thoughts on pros/cons of using one. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I didn't have a Doula but I did have a midwife. I ended up having an emergency c-section so my plan for delivery by midwife didn't happen, but it was wonderful having her there. She stayed with me through the entire surgery, even when my husband had to leave the room. Since we were in an emergency situation, she was able to translate all of the doctor speak going on around me and keep me calm. After DD was born, and what happened sunk in, I realized that I probably should have been terrified, but her calming presence kept my whits about me. The best part about the midwife was that since she is employed by my OB's office, her presence was covered by our insurance. If I didn't have access to a midwife, I would definitely consider a doula. I always planned to have an epidural, if that makes a difference.

  3. #3
    wellyes's Avatar
    wellyes is offline Blue Diamond level (20,000+ posts)
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    I think threads about doulas are like threads about being anti-vaccine. A very vocal minority posts about it a lot which makes it seem much more common than it it.

    I don't mean that in a negative way..... the majority doesn't need a venue like these forums the way people who make unusual choices sometimes do. I only write that to say I sincerely doubt most posters here had a doula. I'm sure plenty did but it's not commonplace.

    I didn't have one, but I would have seriously looked into it if I wanted a drug-free childbirth and did not have a great midwife (I personally did have a great midwife ).

    Have you been to childbirth classes yet? I would not attempt a 'natural' childbirth unless I'd taken some classes on how to do it and was mentally committed to it. I haven't ever really heard of anyone who thought "I'll try to go natural but am open to drugs" *without* that training and mental commitment who ended up without drugs. (I say this as someone who had an epi).
    DD - 8
    DS - 5

  4. #4
    ♥ms.pacman♥ is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    i hired a doula mainly bc i wanted to try for a drug-free childbirth, and also i wanted some guidance in how the birthing process would be and some coaching thru the contractions. but as it turns out, my son came 2 weeks early when my doula happened to be out of town, so DH was the only one there to coach me. it was doable, tho i ended up getting an epidural at 7cm since i was just so exhausted at that point after ~20 hrs of labor. i think it would have been waay easier with a doula present since i had such a long labor and since my DH (who is the kind of person who needs 10 hours of sleep a day to function) was so exhausted from losing an entire night's sleep.

    tho i don't think you need a doula if you plan on going to the hospital right away, and if you have lots of family (parents, etc) around to help during the labor. we had absolutely no family around, so that was another reason we went with getting a doula. also, i hated laboring in the hospital. i felt a thousand times more comfortable at home, where i could move around, eat, take a bath or a shower (i think i must have taken two showers and a bath during my labor). we ended up going to the hospital after laboring for 18 hours and shortly after that my son was born.

    anyway, the doula i had charged $600 or so, which included two 3-hour personal sessions teaching about the labor process (different stages, what to expect, etc), how DH could help me thru the labor, breathing techniques, and nursing. i knew absolutely nothing about breastfeeding so that helped a lot.

  5. #5
    swissair81 is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    I hired a doula for number 2, only to discover that I ended up paying her $400 for 20 minutes of her time (that's how long we were there before I had my dd). With number 3, I didn't hire one& had my dh coach me instead. We did just fine & it was free. Planning the same now. No epidural with 2 or 3 & not planning one this time either.

  6. #6
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    egoldber is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    The way I see it, a doula replaces what was the normal way of giving birth throughtout human history until VERY recently. It used to be that when you gave birth, you were surrounded by the other women in your family/village, women who had birthed their own children and supported many others. They knew what a normal birth looked like in all its variations. Today, very few women have that kind of institutional knowledge to share with each other. So many of us have to hire a doula if we want that kind of woman to woman support in labor.

    Not everyone wants that. But I think it is a sad commentary on our society today that having that kind of support in labor is now considered weird. And I used to be one of the people who thought that.
    Beth, mom to older DD (8/01) and younger DD (10/06) and always missing Leah (4/22 - 5/1/05)

  7. #7
    sste is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by egoldber View Post
    The way I see it, a doula replaces what was the normal way of giving birth throughtout human history until VERY recently. It used to be that when you gave birth, you were surrounded by the other women in your family/village, women who had birthed their own children and supported many others. They knew what a normal birth looked like in all its variations. Today, very few women have that kind of institutional knowledge to share with each other. So many of us have to hire a doula if we want that kind of woman to woman support in labor.

    Not everyone wants that. But I think it is a sad commentary on our society today that having that kind of support in labor is now considered weird. And I used to be one of the people who thought that.

    I agree with every word of this! It was the unavailability of the women in my family to be here before, during, or after my birth coupled with my OB (who was a major source of support to me) developing a serious illness that lead me to hire a doula. I also liked the option of having additional, trained BF, mental health, and baby support available post-partum - - many doulas will work with you post-partum at an additional hourly rate. And some meetings pre-partum. Really, I just needed support and came to the conclusion that in my situation I was going to need to purchase it!

    I was one of the people who hired a more expensive doula and I hope this hasn't been off-putting or discouraging to others considering a doula. We had some special considerations, a vbac, wanted to work with a specific agency, etc. all of which drove up cost. There are very inexpensive doulas available who are "apprenticing" or have just completed their training (even in my expensive city there were people in this category in the $200-400 range and some were rec'd to me as "up and coming" in doula circles). Also, alot of doulas had sliding fee scales.

    So, to sum up, my newbie opinion on this is that doulas are ideal if you: 1) lack nearby family or other support; 2) want either a natural childbirth OR a limited/delayed epidural - - the doula can really coach you through that and let you know how close you are to pushing (it turns out many woment get the epidural when they are almost through the painful part); 3) want to labor for as long as possible at home and are nervous about making that call on your own; OR 4) want to learn more about your birth options in terms of intervention, hospital policies, etc.
    Last edited by sste; 07-30-2010 at 02:44 PM.
    ds 2007
    dd 2010
    baby dd 2014

  8. #8
    SnuggleBuggles is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    I was happy to have a doula for my hospital birth with ds1. Even though I had a CNM, she was far more medically minded than I was and I didn't feel she was totally supportive, understanding and committed to my goal of no pain meds or unnecessary interventions. During labor the relationship btw me and my CNM wasn't great so I was glad that I had the doula there to be my constant source of reassurance and support. Typical hospital birth with an OB often leaves you at the mercy of a nurse you are just meeting for the majority of your labor. You could click with them and all is great! But, they could also have other patients leaving them with less time to devote to you. With a doula you are paying them to be there 100% for you.

    Could I have done it without a doula? Yes. My dh was insanely helpful and supportive. He read every book I brought home, took classes with me and even practiced Bradley method stuff out of the book we had (no class). During the 1st break from our hospital birth class he turned to me and said he could teach that class and we laughed at the blank, clueless, overwhelmed looks of the other parents there.

    My advice? You read "The Birth Book" by Dr. Sears and have dh or your SO read "The Birth Partner" by Penny Simkin- asap! See how you feel about things after that. Also, you are only 25w so start thinking about your careprovider now. If you have certain birth beliefs that are important to you then it is good to discuss them with your careprovider soon because if you really don't mesh with them and don't feel they won't be a good fit then you really have time to find someone who could elp you have the birth you are hoping for.

    Beth

  9. #9
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    elektra is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    I regret not having a doula, especially for DS's birth. I was scrambling for one at the end actually.
    For DD, I loved my OB, the facility (traditional hospital) where I was giving birth, and I was as comfortable going into it as I would imagine any first time mom could be. I was fine without a doula.

    But for DS, I hated my OB from the beginning, (my old one retired) she went on vacation without even telling me right when I was due, and I was left to just give birth with whoever was on call at the hospital that day.

    I would have really welcomed the kind of support a doula or midwife could have given me.
    DD - 9
    DS - 7

  10. #10
    sunnyside is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    I was SO glad to have my doula. It was the best decision I made around my pregnancy. I'd have been lost without her as far as decision making went. She was worth more than my OB really in my mind. She's a midwife as well and next time around she'll be delivering my baby.
    Mama to two sweet girls - Summer 2010 and Spring 2015

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