Updated: Aug 3, 2020
Why should I get a doula? What is the value in having a doula during my birth?
A doula means “woman servant” and having a doula is having a priceless resource by your side during a beautiful time of life. A doula is educated about pregnancy, birth, and labor. She can educate you, answer your questions, and support you every step of the way. When labor begins, she is there for you until the baby is born. If you want a drug-free birth, she can help you with positions that may help alleviate your discomfort, or help you try different strategies to cope with the pain. She can recommend you consider pain medication if your pain has gotten to be too much to handle, or remind you what you desire for your birth if your doctor is advising you to do something you may not want to do. She can also make sure you understand what is going on during the labor if, at the hospital, interventions start being advised. Using a doula means you’re less likely to end up having a c-section.
Statistics show that women who use a doula report being more satisfied with their overall birth experience. They also have shorter labors and are less likely to need pain medications. The rate of spontaneous vaginal births goes up when a doula is used and the number of newborns needing special nursery care after birth goes down.
I used a doula with my second pregnancy. I had had a c-section with my first because she was breech and I didn’t have a “proven pelvis.” Because it was essentially my first labor, we had no idea what to expect or how I would do with it. My doctor had snidely remarked that he’d have to be present at the hospital the whole time I was in labor, so I was determined to be in the hospital as little as possible. Using a doula was so reassuring because I was able to call when I had questions, and she kept me moving during my labor. I ended up going to the hospital and delivering within 15 minutes of my arrival, thanks in part to my doula advising me when it was time to go get checked by my nurse midwife and living very close to the hospital. My doctor very nearly missed the birth.