At this stage of your pregnancy, you have probably heard about doulas. A doula is a privately paid support person hired by the family to provide emotional, educational, and physical support. Surely you are wondering why someone would want to have an extra person at their birth? Are doulas worth the fee and how much will they charge? Do I need a doula if I have a midwife?
These are all significant questions.
In the delivery room, you will have your partner, nurses, and your primary care provider present. It may seem like many people in the room when you are pushing out your baby. That is true, the secret is, when you hire a doula they often help you feel like your birth was a more intimate experience. Your medical care team will be busy doing medical things like charting and setting up equipment. It is your doula that will help get you the cold face cloths, shut doors, turn the lights down, get your water bottled filled or give you that deep hip squeeze when your partner needs a break. A doula does nothing medical, their entire job is to make your birth experience more comfortable. Most people will say after their birth “how does anyone give birth without a doula? or I can't imagine not having the extra hands through such an intense experience.”
Many studies have proven that doulas reduce the need for medical interventions. This equals fewer cesarean sections, fewer instrument deliveries and less need for pain medication. Most of all, they help with positive birth experiences for the birthing person and support people.
Do I have to pay for a doula?
The cost of hiring a doula comes out of your pocket unless your medical plan will cover the fees. The fees can range from $600-$2500 depending on the doula’s experience and packages. A doula is someone who works for you, MSP does not cover them. Having a doula at your birth could alter the way you feel about your birth for the rest of your life. Having someone who can give your partner a much-needed break or show them at the moment how to give a good hip squeeze is invaluable. Doulas often build a relationship with your family during your pregnancy by having a few meetings with you before your birthing day. They will get to know your family and know what your wants and wishes are for your birth. I promise it is worth the expense.
Even with a great prenatal class like Dancing Star Birth under your belt, it is a lot to expect that your partner will know what to do during the birth. Is it time to go to the hospital? Are these contractions ever going to get stronger? How can I get comfortable when these waves keep waking me up? It is unlikely if your partner tells you it will be ‘okay,’ you will believe them. Having someone you can trust guide you through the process takes the pressure off of everyone. It is handy having someone who knows about birth join you in early labour to help tuck you in and give your partner a nap if needed.
I have a midwife. Why do I need a doula?
Your midwife and/or doctor is a regulated care provider. They will come to your birth when it is time for you to be monitored by a medical professional. Often this is in active labour. Most first-time parents have a long early first stage. During this time they are left on their own. When the midwives are at your birth they will be focused on charting and monitoring the birth process. They will not be staying up all night giving you hip squeezes making sure your partner is fed and has had a break.
Another bonus to a doula is they will bring tools to your birth like the TENS machine, Rebozo, and sometimes a birth pool. Some doulas offer postpartum doula support, which means they come after your birth to help with basic cleaning, breastfeeding, and help you in the early days with all the new activities around caring for a newborn.
I am sure you are wondering what are some questions you can ask your doula when you interview them to make sure you pick the right one. Here is another post outlining some things to think about before interviewing doulas.
Do you want someone who follows a similar style to Dancing Star Birth? Here is a link to the doulas who work closely with Dancing Star Birth.
Image credit Apple Blossom Families.