doula

[deleted account] ( 29 moms have responded )

Aren't some of you on here doulas or have used doulas?

Anyway, my cousin used one. She's the first person I've known in real life to use one. I considered it for a short time, but let the thought pass. My baby will be delivered at our local small town hospital and the thought of finding a doula around here seemed daunting. Plus I'm a cheapskate.

Well, just a few minutes ago my cousin (a different one) told me on facebook that she just went through the training. She offered her services for free, saying it would be an honor to help me. I'm very nervous about this birth, as my last resulted in an emergency c-section and I'm going for a VBAC. I told her I would love the help, but I'm going to think it over, talk to my husband, and talk to my doctor.

The concept of a doula is very new to me. Anyone care to share their experiences with doulas? Are they invaluable or something you could have done without?

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Johnny - posted on 11/17/2010

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I had a doula and she was fantastic. She was with me at the hospital through the labor, which was very long. It was also helpful for my husband, she really supported both of us. Having her there allowed him to get a few naps and feel more confident in his ability to help me through. She spoke up for me and expressed my wishes which we had discussed in advance when I was unable to do so myself. I wanted a quiet birth, and she made sure I got it. Her presence was wonderfully calm and reassuring. She took photos, which I wasn't really sure I wanted, but now, I am incredibly thankful that I have. I will definitely be getting a doula again if I have another child. I told my husband that if he wants another baby, he'd better show me the doula cheque before we conceive. I also had a midwife. It is basically:

midwife = baby deliverer, health care provider
doula = mommy and dad support system

~Jennifer - posted on 11/17/2010

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I have no experience with a doula, however a friend of mine is one.
I'll link you to her site, only because there are a lot of answers as well as a forum in which you can post your questions and an experienced doula (or several) will reply.
http://www.doulas.com/
Hope that helps.
=)

Ez - posted on 11/17/2010

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I don't think there are any negatives Sara :)

Doctors can't refuse to allow a doula to attend (or atleast not here) but they can be hostile and make your birthing environment tense and difficult. So just feel it out with him. If doulas are rare in your area, he may have no experience with them at all.

Also, you shouldn't worry about a doula pushing her birthing beliefs on you. They are trained to support and advocate for the mother's wishes, whatever they may be. It's just coincidence that most of the women utilising their services are natural birthing mummas.

Rosie - posted on 11/17/2010

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i think i t would be a great idea, IF you were very clear with her on how you want things to go during labor. doulas seem very overbearing to me pushing all their "natural" stuff to the extreme. if you decide you want an epidural or something arises where you think your child is in danger because of the VBAC, i think she might keep trying to push her views on you. i obviously don't know her so i can't say that's how it would definitely be, but sometimes to me there's a line that gets crossed. make sure she knows that, and i think she'd be a valuable asset to your birth. :)

[deleted account]

Sara - that is brill it sounds as though your cousin would be very beneficial to you, I would at the very least speak with her and your other cousin about having a less medicated birth and the route you can follow, it never hurts to know your options.

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[deleted account]

I know, it's almost too good to be true! A free doula for my vbac attempt! I'm just trying to talk it out to see if there are any negatives.

[deleted account]

Well I'm not totally sure I want an all natural birth. Last time I was adamant about having the epidural. But honestly the pain wasn't as bad as the epi made me feel. I was a crazy person. I was so embarrassed when I finally watched the video my sis-in-law made for me. (it was just parts of labor and after Eliza had arrived, i didn't want the actual birth filmed!) But Jessie, my cousin, said she'd love to help with an epi birth too. I don't think she'd be too pushy about going all natural. But I'd definitely like to go as far as I can without the epi, because of my experience last time.

Bonnie - posted on 11/17/2010

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I don't think a doctor can say no. It is up to you personally if you want to have a Doula and usually they allow the husband and the Doula in the room. Some women only have the Doula there in place of their husband.

Dana - posted on 11/17/2010

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I've had doctor's override hospital policy. It probably depends on the doctor and what he's comfortable with and the promise to stay out of his way. ;)

Kate CP - posted on 11/17/2010

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Your hospital may tell you that you're only allowed to have 2-3 people in the room with you while you birth and that may be the only thing that limits you on whether or not you can use a doula. Doulas are fantastic because they can advocate for you without feeling sorry for you (if that makes any sense). If while you're in intense pain you say "I want the epidural!" your husband or mom may just let it go and you'd end up with the epi. However a doula can and probably would remind you that you didn't want the epidural and try to encourage you to keep going.

By the way, I had a pain medication free birth AND I had pitocin and I didn't think it was that bad. I wish you the best of luck going natural this time around. It's quite a rush. :)

[deleted account]

Here in the UK the maximum you can have in labour with you is two people.

Cathy: I'd have to say the midwife who delivered our son was like a doula in the way that she was encouraging etc. I had a hospital birth with just gas and air. But tbh I'd expect a midwife to have those qualities and wouldn'y pay someone else for it, despite the fact my husband was very good in labour, I realise not every man can handle it though!

[deleted account]

I have a hard time imagining the doctor saying no. It's just not something that is common here so I'm still unsure of how it all works.

Dana - posted on 11/17/2010

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No, a doula is there for support, a midwife can actually deliver babies.

[deleted account]

Oh and I had the opportunity to use a doula for my son's birth but I turned her down. I couldn't afford to pay her what she wanted. She was a very nice woman (our birthing class instructor) and I would have loved to be able to afford her. Instead, we had a lovely nurse at the hospital who was my own personal warrior when the doc kept threatening c-section and drugs. I loved my L&D nurse. Had her sign my baby book and everything :)

Dana - posted on 11/17/2010

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Sounds like she'd be a great benefit to you then! I would be shocked if the doctor said no...is that even legal?

I think if you'd like to use less meds then sitting down with her now and learning a few things would be great, regardless!

[deleted account]

Thanks ladies.



The "cousin issue" is not really an issue. Another cousin (a third, apart from the one that used a doula and the one that is a doula) is a labor and delivery nurse in the hospital. She's already said she's going to make the effort to be at work when I go into labor. So if I had a problem with cousins being at my delivery, I wouldn't be using this particular hospital! I can understand how some people would be uncomfortable with it, but it's a non-issue for me.



Now, I don't want a lot of people in the room as I'm laboring. So having a doula may sound contradictory. But this particular cousin would have no problems telling everyone to get out, while I'd be too polite to do so!



Also, I'm so unfamiliar with non-traditional pain management and positions. I'd love to use less medications (the epi made me a crazy person last time) and have the option to move around. A doula, cousin or not, could really help me on that end.



My doctor is also the doula cousin's doctor, as well as most women in our family! We all love him, but I'm not sure how he'd feel about it. If he says no, that's it. No doula. I don't want any other doctor delivering.

[deleted account]

I can only echo Dana's sentiments, it completely depends on whether you (and your hubby) would be comfortable having your cousin in the room with you. I'm one of these have as little people as possible, so hubby and the midwife only. If you would be comfortable with her being there I would imagine she would be helpful for you and provide you with extra support.

Dana - posted on 11/17/2010

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I think Doula's can be great. It just depends on if you want your cousin in the room. For some people it's best to have more of a "stranger" than family as your doula, then some people would rather have family than a "stranger". If she's good at her job then she should add a nice element to your birthing. I have seen some who were awful but, you have that in any profession.

Bonnie - posted on 11/17/2010

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I never had a Doula either and for some reason never even considered one, but I like to watch 'A Baby Story' sometimes and a lot of the cases on that show have doulas. They seem really helpful and calming to the mother in labour. I have noticed a lot of women who use a Doula have an at home birth or a water birth.

C. - posted on 11/17/2010

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I've never had a doula, unless you consider my mom that since she took a week off work to cook, help clean, do laundry and take care of my son. And even after that she was a huge help even though she was working. She was also the one coaching through my hour of pushing.



I think it'd be worth a shot, really. Doulas are there to help you do many things. I've watched a lot of baby shows where the new moms had a doula and the idea just seemed really neat to me. Some of them are just there for L&D, I think, but I saw several shows where the doulas would visit the home every so often to help out around the house after the baby was born. I honestly think it's worth a try- and she's doing it for free. Might as well take advantage of that while the offer is on the table.

Ez - posted on 11/17/2010

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A doula is a labour support person. The name originally meant 'to mother the mother'. So they are for support, encouragement and to advocate on behalf of the mother. They have no medical responsibility so the scope of their advice extends no further than natural pain management techniques and labour positions (usually). Doulas mainly function in the natural birth community (either at home or in hospital) but they do attend inductions and c-sections too. They are also trained to support the new mumma in the post-natal period.

[deleted account]

I havn't used one, know no one who has and never heard of them until I joined COM.

They're obviously not common or popular where I live in the UK and I honestly know I would never use one. The only person I'd like at the birth of our children is my husband and if for any reason he couldn't be there I'd rather have my sister or mam than a stranger.

Ez - posted on 11/17/2010

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I'm not a doula yet! I was going to start my training next year but have decided to wait another year until Milla is at preschool.

I wish wish WISH I had used one. I am confident my birth experience would have been much better. Everyone I know of who has used one only has positive things to say. But they aren't always met with open arms by hospital staff, so be warned on that. Like Becky said, having that extra support would be of great benefit considering it's a VBAC. The more people in your corner, the better!!

Becky - posted on 11/16/2010

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I haven't used one, but everyone I've known who has has found them invaluable and been so glad they had one. I think with you doing the VBAC and being so nervous, it's a great idea! She will probably be a very calming influence, and I have read that women who have doulas are much less likely to end up requiring c-sections.
I would consider having a doula if I have another child, but if my past 2 labors are any indication, she probably wouldn't make it there before the baby was born!

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