Question: If my spouse/partner will be there do I really need a Birth Doula?

A Doula is someone who has special experience and education to provide support in labour. While a partner may be your perfect emotional support, it’s quite unrealistic for them to remember everything they learned in childbirth classes or to remain unemotionally involved in the experience. A Doula is not there to replace your partner in any way. In fact, most support people will say that their Doula helped them become more involved in the birth experience by encouraging them to do things they wouldn’t have thought of.

Question: If I have a midwife do I really need a doula?

Midwives and doulas commonly share a similar philosophy: patients should use informed decision-making strategies. A midwife’s role is very different from a doula’s however. Midwives have many medical responsibilities that are out of scope for a doula, freeing her up to focus on your needs and your partner’s needs. They can often work very well together.

Question: I know I want an epidural, do I really need a doula?

Doulas should support your plans for pain management. It’s rare that you would be able to get an epidural as soon as you get to the hospital, and they don’t always work. You will always benefit from someone who can help reduce the pain you are actually perceiving, thus helping your labour to progress smoothly and quickly. Many doulas will also meet you at home and help you stay there in early labour to avoid being sent away from your hospital because you’re too “early”. Plus you may ask yourself why you are so determined to get an epidural? If you went through labour without feeling you needed one, would you still be determined to get one? Most women are worried about how they will cope, losing control, and just fearful in general. A doula can minimize all of those feelings during pregnancy and through labour.

I’m not nervous about birth, do I need a doula?

It’s great that you’re feeling confident! A doula will help you remain confident through labor, and give you the extra support you may need if things don’t go as you hoped. Many confident women claim their doula gave them the extra support they needed, and was a constant throughout their labor.

I really want a doula, but my partner’s not convinced. Now what?

This is a common concern, and a tough one! The best suggestion is to show your partner the statistics on doulas and their benefits. The evidence is overwhelming! Then you may ask your partner if they will sit through just one interview. You may consider doing some phone interviews ahead of time to find a doula you think will be a good fit, and then have your partner meet her. Many partners realize just how ‘normal’ it feels once they actually meet a real doula.

I really want a doula, but I can’t afford one. Now what?

There are many doulas who will operate on a sliding scale, allowing for lower-income families to be able to afford them. If you can’t find one who does this, you may consider finding a doula in training. Many student doulas will attend births for nominal fees (covering parking, meals, etc.). Although they may not have the years of experience, they should have the background knowledge, and training to know how to support you and your partner. It’s often the perfect solution for both parties!

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