To celebrate International Doula Week, I wanted to talk about some of the myths out there about hiring doulas. While many people know about doulas or may even know a doula, there are still some things that people don’t fully understand about what a doula does or does not do.
1) They can only help if you’re planning and unmedicated birth
Doulas do lower the chances a mom will have unnecessary interventions, but there’s a lot can do even when mom is planning to get an epidural or needs to schedule a cesarean. The most important thing a doula can do in all of these situations is to hold the space, provide support for both mom giving birth and her partner too. And, if anything unexpected should arise, doulas are trained to help you roll with the changes and make sure all of your questions get answered by the staff.
2) They are a substitute for comprehensive childbirth education
While it is part of a doula’s job to help parents get the information they need to make informed decisions, there is simply not enough time during prenatal visits to cover the information that would be included in a 12 hour childbirth class. Additionally, it is out of a doula’s scope of practice to provider education; the doula trainings simply do not cover enough information to allow a doula to know as much as a certified childbirth educator. I’ve also heard from other doulas that it’s just hard to work with families that haven’t taken the time to learn about their options and the possibilities for what can occur.
3) Doulas tell you what to do
Doulas provide emotional and physical support for mom and partner. While doulas can make suggestions for positions or other comfort measures that may be helpful, ultimately, all decisions are the mother’s. Also, a good doula will not judge a mom on her decisions, and only really bad doulas would stop supporting a mom as a result of any decisions she makes. It’s not our birth- it’s yours.
4) They can speak to the staff on your behalf
As with #3, it’s imperative that any decisions and any discussions are between care provider and the family. Doulas can help you get more pillows, help you find your nurse, and fill up your water bottle if you need more water. If you need to talk to the staff about questions or concerns, the doula is not a part of that discussion.
5) A doula takes over for the partner
Doulas provide support for both mom AND the partner, making it a more pleasant experience for both. So that means a doula can get food for everyone, let the partner take a nap, and if things are going really well with just mom and partner, blend into the background, ready to step back in whenever needed.
6) A doula can “protect” you
Sometimes moms are really good at realizing that they place they are planning to give birth and/ or their care provider may not be the best choice, and they want to hire a doula to “protect” them against unwanted procedures. While a doula can help support families in all kinds of situations, the better choice would be to hire a doula AND find a care provider they feel safe with. And again, a doula can’t speak to the staff on your behalf.
7) Doulas are a luxury
While the cost of a doula can range from $400 to $1200 or more, the reality is, a doula is something that could potentially save you money in the long run. Parents will spend a lot of money on a lot of things that may or may not get used, such as expensive strollers, fancy decorating for the baby’s nursery, and more toys and clothes than they have space for. A doula, though, is one thing that can result in better outcomes for both mom and baby. And don’t listen to me…even Suze Orman thinks doulas are a necessity!
I am excited to say that my business partner Liz and I are are currently accepting doula clients; we work as a team to provide top-notch care and support. Find out more information about hiring us here.
Have any questions? Comments? Sound off below!