Yes, You Still Need a Doula!
Even if you’ve found yourself saying any of these things while you’re preparing your birth (and postpartum!) plans, there’s a good chance that you will still benefit from having a doula support you throughout your pregnancy, birth and postpartum! Do any of these apply to you?
My partner says, “I’ve got this!”
First, let’s be clear, we can’t say this enough – A. Doula. Does. Not. Replace. Your. Partner! Your partner is amazing – we can already tell that by how involved and engaged they are. However, a doula can help support your partner or free them up to help you. Your partner knows you better than anyone, and while a doula will work to get to know you better throughout your pregnancy, they cannot provide the same level of intimacy that your partner can. Doulas know birth. They are trained in the physiological aspects of the natural birth process and can be like a handy cheat sheet of all the things you learned in your childbirth education classes. There’s no pressure to remember every phase and stage of labor on your own! It’s also important to remember that your partner is going through an emotional transition too and may benefit from doula support or even just a reminder to drink some water or use the restroom from time to time. Just like they’re looking out for your needs, a doula keeps your partner’s needs in mind as well.
“It’s not my first rodeo.”
Just like each baby is different, no two birth experiences are exactly the same. Your first birth may have left you with high expectations or a need to emotionally heal, but either way, your first birth experience will have an impact on how you enter this one. Those are all things that you can talk through with your doula leading up to birth that will help them provide the most personalized support possible. The second time around you may also be thinking about how your oldest child can be involved in your birth experience. A sibling doula can be a dedicated support person for your first child by getting to know them ahead of time and being on-call for when you need them during labor. They can help children feel safe when mom is “roaring like a lion” or even help them to bake a birthday cake or draw a birthday card to welcome baby.
“My midwife already supports my choices, so I don’t need additional support.”
Shout out to all of the supportive, loving and knowledgeable providers who engage in shared decision-making and honor your choices! It is SO important to have a care team that fully understands and respects your wishes. A midwife and doula work together, but actually hold very different roles. They’re both professionals who understand the physiology of birth and work to make sure you and your baby are fully supported throughout your pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Midwives are medically trained to examine, diagnose and provide medical support and care for healthy, low-risk pregnancies. Doulas provide emotional, physical (such as touch and massage), and informational support for the birthing person and their family.
Why did you decide to hire a doula? What impact did that decision have on your birth? Tell us in the comments.
Social Media Manager, Babymoon Inn
Michelle Petkovic received her degree in International Affairs from Sweet Briar College. She is a mother of one energetic toddler born at a birth center and loves spending time outside camping, hiking and traveling with her family.