It’s International Doula Week so to celebrate let’s look at 10 reasons why you should hire a doula!
1. Emotional Support– Being a woman involves many emotional ups and downs and sometimes it can be really difficult to handle them all. When you’re pregnant, it is even more intense! Your hormones are constantly changing so your emotional swings can be wilder than you ever expected. Your doula can be like a supportive sister to you throughout the process- reassuring you that you aren’t losing your mind, providing you with tools to handle your emotions with ease, and simply being around to listen without judgment.
2. Provider of Information– Are you curious about your options during childbirth? Are you unsure about breastfeeding? Would you like to get the scoop on potential medical interventions? Do you want to learn about baby carriers, cloth diapers, co-sleeping, “elimination communication” and child led weaning? Are you wondering where you can rent a birth pool? What about hypno-birthing? Or breathing methods? A hospital birth? or a home birth? It’s a BIG world out there with lots of information to weed through and it can certainly be overwhelming to try to figure out what is right for you when you’re pregnant. Your doula can help you to understand your needs, point you in the right direction, and provide you with practical information to help you feel supported throughout the entire process.
3. Calms your Fears– Living in a modern world, we have been programmed to fear and dread birth. Most of the images we have been shown have been ones of extreme pain and terror. For some women, it is simply terrifying to think about having a baby. Ultimately, those fears can be the main reasons why you may not end up having the birth of your dreams. Your doula can help you to calmly and confidently identify your fears, face your fears and give you tools to release them. She can also dispel any myths that you may have been told around childbirth and help you to see where there are limiting beliefs that may be holding you back. (For more about how fears affect childbirth, see my video)
4. Supports your Partner– Many times a partner can be intimidated by the potential presence of a doula because he doesn’t want his role as a supporter to be taken away from him. What many men (and couples) may not realize is that a doula can actually help him to do his job more effectively. She can suggest different positions that he can get in to support you, different breathing methods that you can try together, and when your man is exhausted and needs a break, she can make him a cup of coffee and give him permission to take some time for himself. Usually men who were initially worried about having a doula, have realized what a blessing it was to have her helping hand throughout the birth.
5. Reduces Pain– Because a doula generally begins to work with you well before going into labor, she understands your preferences, needs, desires and potential fears. She is able to tap into her intuition during the birth and use her tools to help you feel more comfortable in your journey. Maybe you need a cold rag on your head, or a warm compress on your back. Perhaps you need a certain type of massage, or to change positions. In some cases, all that is needed is that you are able to express your fears and worries. Your doula is always there for you. She is ready and willing to look you in the eyes, hold your hand, and say “You got this.”
6. Non Medical Support– A lot of people don’t really know what a doula is and when I say that I work as one they often say “oh..like a midwife, right?” Well, no, not really. A midwife is medically trained and is there to support the woman in a very physical way, whereas a doula is there to support in a more energetic, emotional and spiritual way. The two together make a fantastic team. There is something to be said about having a doula present who is not concerned with the medical side of things. This allows her to be connected very deeply to you. This connection is helpful in keeping the birth progressing in a way that is in line with your ultimate desires.
7. Voices Your Needs– Birth is magical, life-changing, intense and totally unpredictable all at the same time. Many women have the illusion that they will be able to present their birth plan to their care providers once in labor with a clear head and have things done exactly the way they imagined. What most women don’t understand is that being in labor is like being in a totally altered state! You are extremely sensitive and vulnerable. Because of this, you can easily let other people around you convince you of what you need to do, even if it doesn’t feel right inside. The doula is like the gatekeeper of your birth, and typically the calmest in person in the room. She is continually checking the space to make sure you are respected, supported and having your needs met. It is not helpful to engage a laboring woman in “normal” conversation. This will activate her in a very mental way and can often shut down the laboring process. What a laboring woman needs is to be able to dive deeply within herself and completely surrender to her primal self. This is where having a doula becomes critical. A doula can be the “voice” of your birth plan. The doula can help you stay in your primal state while simultaneously communicating your and your partner’s desires to your care providers or the medical staff. Some examples could be: “No, she does not want you to ask if her if she wants an epidural.” “She prefers if the lights aren’t bright.” “She prefers to not have internal checks unless medically necessary” “Please delay cutting the cord until after it stops pulsating.” Since the doula can do the work of voicing your preferences, you and your partner to stay completely focused on the process of birthing your baby.
8. Decreases Medical Interventions– Studies have shown that having a doula present at your birth decreases your chances of having unnecessary medical interventions as well as increasing your chances of successful breastfeeding. (1) Because the doula is trained and experienced in the world of birthing, she can easily recommend other things to try rather than immediately defaulting to medical interventions. The doula can also engage the medical staff and ask “Is this really necessary? What else is possible? Can we try something else first?” And then she can communicate to you in a soft and calm way about other options.
9. She’s your Personal Cheerleader– Your doula will reassure you more than 100 times (if that’s what it takes) that you are doing fine, that you are okay, and that you can and will keep going. She will tell you you’re beautiful when you’re dripping sweat and roaring like an animal. She will sing your favorite song for you, get a straw for your glass, remind you to relax your face and make deeper sounds, cut up cucumbers for you, put on your favorite playlist, and yes, she will even wipe your bum when you accidentally poop at the end of your labor. (It happens people!) She’s your biggest fan, she’s on your team and she’ll let you know it. You will feel so loved and supported by her presence.
10. She’s not Grossed out by your Placenta Smoothie. It’s not only about the birth. Transitioning into motherhood is a huge change and doulas are here to help. A postpartum doula will wash your clothes for you, make you meals to put in the freezer, hold your baby while you take a shower, make sure breastfeeding is going smoothly, and rub your shoulders when you’re crying for no reason. With a smile on her face, she may even make you a placenta smoothie, and prepare a bottle of placenta capsules to nourish you for weeks to come after birth. And while others may think that is simply disgusting, she will proudly know that she’s learning from ancient wisdom and supporting you in the most loving and nurturing way that she can.
Have you had a doula at your birth? If so, share what you love about your doula below! Do you work as a doula? Let us know some other reasons women should hire doulas!