If you are hoping to go into your labor and delivery prepared, wanting a natural labor and delivery, and/or wanting lots of support through the process-this post is for YOU. Having a doula for birth is one of the best decisions I made during my pregnancy and helped me achieve my natural hospital birth.
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My Birth Stories: With and Without a Doula
I really want to convey to you my personal experience. Since I’ve now had both a birth with and without a doula, I can share my experience of both!
My birth without a doula became a medical intervention extravaganza. My husband and I felt like we had no clue how to manage contractions. We were unsure how to help the baby move into position despite taking Lamaze and reading books. When induction was not working well, we felt at a loss for options. After this birth experience, I was scared to deliver the same way again!
RELATED: First birth story, without a Doula!
My birth with a doula was the complete opposite of that first delivery. My doula was able to suggest positions throughout labor to encourage baby to descend. I also ended up having terrible back labor and she was able to give ice packs, position changes, and massage techniques to help me manage. She would show my husband where and how to massage so we could be laboring together. My birth with my doula ended up being an amazing 6-hour natural hospital birth that was simply amazing and truly changed my entire birthing experience.
What Exactly is a Doula?
I didn’t really know what a doula was until I started researching birth help when I find out I was pregnant with my second baby. A doula is basically a woman trained to assist another woman through her pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum. Having women in the birthing room is something that has been going on since the beginning of time! Doulas are an amazing support to have from pregnancy all the way through postpartum.
What does a Doula do?
Having a doula for birth comes with a lot of benefits. A doula provides pregnancy support, is right by your side through labor and delivery, and gives you postpartum help too. A doula is present during birth to strictly help you. They are not medically trained which allows them to focus on their sole purpose- helping you get through labor as close to your birth plan as possible.
Pregnancy Care May Include:
- A couple prenatal visits to help prepare you for labor
- Natural suggestions for relief from pregnancy symptoms
- Pregnancy Support
Labor and Delivery Care May Include:
- Present during Labor and Delivery
- Advocates for your Labor and Delivery Wishes/Birth Plan
- Natural Pain Relief Techniques
- Birthing Positions for Greatest Progress and Pain Relief
- Breathing and Relaxation Techniques
- Keeping You and Birth Partner Rested, Fed, and Hydrated
- Massage for Pain Relief
- Birth Plan Affirmation
Postpartum Care May Include:
- Postpartum Visits
- Natural-care Suggestions for Healing at Home
- Breastfeeding Guidance
RELATED: Easy DIY Postpartum Padsicles
Will a Doula Replace my Birthing Partner?
This was one of the big questions I had. I really need my husband during labor- it’s very bonding and special to us. I needed to know if a doula would get in the way of us being together through labor and delivery. Basically, No. The doula is a birth expert and her job is to help you get through labor by assisting your birthing partner in meeting your needs.
My doula enabled my husband to stay right next to me the whole time- she went and got the ice pack, water, nurses etc. She showed my husband the best ways to help me through contractions so we could do it together. She did not replace or interrupt our time at all, she actually was able to make it even more special. My husband felt like he was able to help me more because he had someone who knows birth to help him in helping me the best way possible.
Natural Birth Prep
Though doulas are mostly known for their help in the birthing room, many doulas (including mine) provide lots of help and care throughout your pregnancy. I know for me, the help during pregnancy (even though it was my second) was invaluable. My doula gave me natural birthing resources to check out, she checked on me throughout my pregnancy, and helped me prepare for labor mentally and physically– it was amazing. Even though I was not new to being pregnant, I learned so much. I know this preparation helped me achieve my natural labor.
I think the way my doula helped me most during pregnancy was continuing to give me confidence throughout each trimester. Having a doula for birth proved to be one of, if not the most crucial piece in my natural birthing experience. My doula was amazing about reassuring me that I was made to do this. My body knows what it’s doing, it was designed to give birth. She also gave me book titles to grab that (looking back) gave me the invaluable confidence to help me achieve the natural birth I wished for (and had).
What if I don’t want a Natural Birth?
Even if you are set on having medical intervention to help you get through your labor and delivery, a doula can still be a great option! She will still aid you during labor and help with progression and pain relief. As well as support you throughout pregnancy and postpartum.
Where’s the Proof?
Statistics are on the side of doulas if you are wanting to do as much as you can to achieve your natural birth. Stats show doulas decrease the need for medical intervention, more women achieve a natural birth with them, and they also decrease the need for medication, c-section, negative birth feelings and much more. Check this out for detailed doula evidence.
Worth the Money?
Some women are concerned about the price of having a doula for birth. I know I was!! I mean…prenatal care and birth already cost an arm and a leg. Since I have now had a 25-hour induction with lots of medical intervention and a 6 hour, natural birth- I can tell you personally, the cost is completely worth it.
Birth is one of the most amazing things you will ever experience. Not only do I love thinking back to my natural delivery, but I also healed 10x faster. It truly was a night and day difference, and that is worth the extra money to me.
Where to find a Doula?
I found my doula by just googling doulas in my home city. Hopefully where you live will have a good resource online to locate doulas in your area. If you are having a hard time finding a doula near you, try DONA or Doula Match.
If you still aren’t completely sold on the idea of having a doula for your birth or you are ready to hire, take the next step and contact a doula in your area for an initial interview. This is a great time to meet the doula, see if your personalities mesh, and ask her some questions to see if she is the right doula for you.
What do You Think?
I loved having a doula for my daughter’s birth. I truly believe bringing doulas into more birthing rooms will help with better birth outcomes and happier, healthier moms and babies! Let me hear your thoughts and stories below in the comments. Happy pregnancy and safe birthing! XO #doulasrule
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