Amy Schumer did it -- and talked about it on Insta. Meghan Markle reportedly did it -- so says all of the celeb news sites. So: will you hire a doula for your birth?
Having a doula attend your birth is more than just celebrity hype -- the kind of continuous support provided by a doula has the ability to positively impact your birth experience and even more important, it's associated with better, healthier birth outcomes for both parent and baby. During International Doula Month, we celebrate and share about the wonder of doulas. How exactly does a doula's support help with birth? Let's take a look.
Coping - Whether or not you decide to "go all natural" is irrelevant -- birth is an intense experience, no matter what. I like to say that there is no "magic pill" for coping with birth birth (no, not even with an epidural), but there is a doula! The presence of a doula has been proven to make it easier to cope with labor pain. It make sense -- after all, a doula stays with you throughout labor and birth (almost never leaving except for an occasional bathroom break) and has the knowledge and skill to support nearly every labor scenario. Back labor? A doula knows how to help. Pitocin? A doula knows how to help. Stalled labor? A doula knows how to help. Extra long labor? A doula knows how to help.
Information and choices - Like the saying goes, you don't know what you don't know. Thankfully, when it comes to labor and birth, your doula can help with that. Having a doula isn't the same as taking a good childbirth class (which you should do even if you hire a doula), but a doula does help provide you with informational resources to learn more about your choices in pregnancy, labor, and birth. A doula can then help remind you of those choices while you're in labor. Not in a "you said you didn't want an epidural, WTH are you doing??" kind of way, but rather in a "it looks like your OB/midwife wants to do a cervical check; you talked about wanting to limit those in labor -- is this ok with you right now?" kind of way. A doula will also prompt you to ask questions and/or find information when you're presented with a decision to make during labor. When you know what your choices are -- and why you might want to choose one over the other -- you can make confident, educated decisions about your care. A doula can help you get to that place.
Confidence - Dumbo held on tightly to a feather only to realize he had the power to fly all along. Like the feather, a doula provides that initial boost of confidence, that insurance policy, that sweet relief. The power and ability in birth is all yours; your doula helps get you there with support, comfort, and confidence.
Your partner - Partners and doulas make a great team. If you've ever felt hesitant about hiring a doula because you think she will make your partner feel devalued, it's important to know that a doula's goal is to work with your partner to create a team that will support you in the best way possible. Depending on how involved your partner wants to be during labor and birth, a doula will work with both of you to figure out the best way to provide support. A good doula encourages partners, providing tips and suggestions only when it looks like it's needed. A doula also helps provide a break (bathroom, eating, rest) for partners, which is especially helpful in long labors. And, the bit above about confidence -- that's for partners, too. Doulas help partners feel more at ease about the birthing process and show them that they know just how to support their partner.
Simply put, there's nothing to lose and nearly everything to gain from having a doula at your birth. In our next post, we'll talk more about the logistics of finding, interviewing, hiring, and working with your doula.
TagsDoula International Doula Month Celebrities