I take it that you are going through the pregnancy rollercoaster (or someone you know is) and looking for reasons to hire a doula. Well, the relationship between a pregnant woman and doula is just like a skydiver and his parachute.
Surprised? Ask a mother around you and she will be nodding in agreement.
Still don’t get it? Good, keep reading
Pregnancy is an overdose of adventure.
Just like skydiving, it doesn’t matter how many times you have already done it, every experience will be unique. You spend the maximum time prepping for the landing – choosing the doctor, checking the health status, the birthing technique, and even the due date. But on the D – day what you really rely on is a parachute i.e. the emotional support during and after the birth – which is one of the biggest reasons to hire a doula.
Who is a doula actually?
Doula comes from a Greek word which means a “handmaiden” or “a woman who serves.” It is usually used to describe an experienced and knowledgeable woman birth coach. Someone who doesn’t assist with the medical needs but is trained to assist a new (to-be) mother with her emotional, physical, and partner needs. From choosing a birth plan according to your health status, to preventing the parents from getting overwhelmed to assisting in breastfeeding – There are several reasons to hire a doula during pregnancy.
In simple words – She is like a warm big hug for mothers to help them transition through this big change.
But what are the benefits of a doula? Isn’t a doctor and my partner enough?
They say it takes a village to raise a child, but believe me, delivering one isn’t easy either. You will need a big birthing circle including your partner, a doctor, a doula, and any other family member who can assist during and even after pregnancy.
A doctor is mainly concerned about the physical process of pregnancy and on the other hand, the partner is under immense pressure to keep their calm and provide mental support to the mother.
And with a doula stepping into the birthing circle, she takes the pressure off everybody. She essentially mothers the mother, cheers her, and encourages her during the entire pregnancy.
A doula’s job isn’t to replace the doctor or the partner. In fact, when a doula, with her rich experience and the partner, with their intimate knowledge about the mother, work together, the labor seems to go by like a breeze.
Ok, but what are the other reasons to hire a doula?
Doulas have been around for centuries and there are several benefits of adding a doula into your birthing support system. Some of them are –
1. Doulas are like a warm big hug for an anxious mind
A doula becomes an active part of your life much before the due date. She starts developing a bond with you, making sure she answers all your questions – from how long will the labor last to perineal massages to how to deal with morning sickness. A doula has all the answers.
She also educates you about different breathing techniques, birthing methods, and helps you choose one according to your mental and physical stamina.
They know just what to say and do during and after labor and is the perfect antidote for the anxiety that comes with the unpredictability of a pregnancy.
2. She knows the female body
One of the biggest reasons to hire a doula is that she is a trained professional and has shared the labor room with several women. A doula has intimate knowledge of the female body and labor process – from knowing when the contractions will intensify to helping you get into the most comfortable laboring positions to applying counter pressure on the back to ease the pain.
According to Mothering the Mother (1), by Marshall Klaus, John Kennell and Phyllis Klaus, having continuous support during labor reduces –
- Chances of a C-section by 51 percent
- Analgesic use by 35 percent
- Epidural anesthesia use by 60 percent
- Use of forceps and vacuum by 30 percent
3. A big comforter for your partner as well
One of the benefits of a doula is her emotional capacity to support. While the main focus of a doula is on the mother, she also lends moral support to the partner and family who are also going through a big transition. She steps seamlessly into the role of a physical, emotional, and mental care provider, allowing the partner to breathe easily, be more present throughout the journey, giving them a fair chance to apply whatever they learned in the childbirth class.
4. A valuable postpartum support
Ok, congratulations! You have a beautiful baby in your arms now. But the journey doesn’t end here. In fact, it begins. From assisting during breastfeeding and tackling postpartum blues to infant soothing and nutrition tips – A doula’s expertise goes well into the postpartum.
Some doulas also take care of the cooking and cleaning the house which allows the mother to rest and enjoy motherhood without getting overwhelmed.
Did you know, 20 percent of women are likely to suffer in silence from postpartum depression and anxiety (2)? Having a trained Doula around can help you recognize these feelings and if required, seek professional help.
How to hire a good doula?
There is no right or wrong way to hire a doula. It all depends on how comfortable you feel with her.
Here is a small checklist to help you know your doula little better –
- What are your certifications?
- How long have you been working for?
- What did you decide to be a doula?
- Will you be available around my due date?
- Do you have any other clients near my due date?
- How many births have you attended?
- Do you have a backup doula?
- Are you always accessible?
How to find a Doula?
Finding a doula is just like finding the right pair of jeans. Sometimes it clicks in one go and sometimes it can be the most difficult task.
Ask your family and friends for recommendations who have hired a doula before. You can even use sites like Doula.com, Dona.org or Cappa.net to find certified doulas near your location. A doula can cost you around $800 to $2500 depending on their experience and expertise.
There are many women who benefit from having a doula and many who do just as good without them. It all comes down to your personality, needs, and the birthing plan.