Why hire a Doula:
When facing labour and birth, especially a first birth, one comes up against so many unknowns. How will I know when labour starts? Will I be able to cope with he pain? What, exactly will it be like? How long will labour last? For many the presence of someone knowledgeable, someone calm and someone who has experienced birth is both reassuring and valuable. A Doula is a trained and experienced birth companion.
In the past, the birth room was a place where birthing partners were not welcomed. A laboring person was faced with only the company of busy doctors and busier nurses. Thankfully, times have changed and birth now includes those people the birthing parent wants present. The support of a partner, friend, parent, or other loved one is invaluable, however, many of these people lack any experience with birth, or with how to best support someone through labour and delivery. Many may even feel nervous as a result of their own birthing experiences or lack thereof. It is challenging to see a loved one in pain and our instinct is to make the pain stop. This puts a lot of pressure on the support person in a situation in which they themselves are in unfamiliar territory.
But we have a Midwife/OB and plan to give birth in a hospital where nurses will help…
No matter your relationship with your Midwife or OB their priority is the physical care of the baby and parent. While they make every effort to be emotionally supportive, they are also busy with the clinical jobs at hand. They do a large amount of monitoring and charting not to mention catching the baby. They also may simply not have the time to fully support you through all stages of pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Labour and delivery nurses are fabulous people and are immensely supportive in the birth room, but they don’t already know your hopes or preferences for your birth, they haven’t got to know you before that day and they are also responsible for many clinical jobs.
A Doula is trained to provide emotional, physical and informational support. Having a Doula you know and like in the room who you can look to for reassurance and who can direct you when necessary can be so helpful. Doulas strive to support you BOTH during labour and birth. Doulas can be as hands on or off as requested/needed and are trained to offer the right balance of support and privacy. Having an atmosphere of calm in the room is so important and a Doula takes this part of the job very seriously.
Partners frequently report…
Having a Doula takes the pressure off them to remember everything about every stage and variation of labor and birth, and choose the appropriate types of physical, verbal and emotional support. A Doula can enable a partner to relax and enjoy the beauty of the experience, as well as discover their own strengths. As a client once said, “It’s like having a tour guide!”
Doulas provide all sorts of useful tools: Birth balls, massage tools, knowledge of all positions to help labour progress, massage appropriate to the different stages of labor, relaxation and focusing techniques, guidance on how to do the “double hip squeeze” or how to provide counter pressure in just the right place.
In addition to this consider you’ll have someone to help/take over the practical jobs that would otherwise take you away from your partner: timing contractions, fetching food, refilling water and ice chips, preparing hot/cold packs, staying by your partners side while you run to go and pee and send updates to family, taking photographs as you request. (These jobs are normally given to the birth partner and would not be done by a midwife or doctor).
If you’re looking to feel supported in your choices around the birth of your baby, have someone on call to answer even the smallest question, have to guidance of someone who knows the birth landscape in your community and where to park at the hospital or what you’ll need for your homebirth. The answer is a Doula. If you’d like to find out more about what a Doula does and the proven benefits to having a Doula you can go here and here.
Do you really have to hire a Doula? No, but If a partner wants to be the ultimate labour companion then the guidance of a Doula will be incredibly useful.
…Island Doula – Nanaimo Doula – Gabriola Doula – Ladysmith Doula – Vancouver Island Doula…