Is A Doula Important?

is a doula important?

is a doula important?
Three months ago, I wasn’t totally sure you what a doula or midwife actually did. I knew they worked with pregnant women, but what exactly did they do? Couldn’t tell you.

Then one day while laying on the table at my prenatal chiropractor’s office, he started asking me about my birth plan. He asked if I was delivering at home or in a hospital (answer: hospital), if I working with a midwife or doctor (answer: doctor) and whether or not I’m working with a doula. “Can you tell me a little bit more about a doula and why I should consider one?,” I asked.

He explained it pretty simply, “The word doula comes from the Greek term “women’s helper” and that’s her role during pregnancy, labor and delivery. Doctors check in with you while you’re in labor but they don’t stay with you; they come to do their job when it’s time to push. Labor is the hard, long part, and if you want someone there with you, someone you know can help coach you and guide you through the experience, that’s where a doula would come in. Nurses do this too, of course, but they’re total strangers to you and will have other patients at the same time. A doula also works with you months before the labor and throughout your pregnancy offering physical and emotional support along with education. They provide you with the same information birth classes do but in a private setting tailored to your birthing wishes. They help you devise a birth plan and teach your husband how to be a helpful birthing coach/partner.”

This sounded interesting to me. I hadn’t contemplated the hard part of laboring at home nor did I think about when the doctor actually shows up. As a first time mom, could I get through this without a doula? Absolutely. I believe that our bodies are meant to do this, but do I want more emotional support through this journey? Would it be helpful to have someone who can educate us along the way as tons of questions arise (my doctor’s office hold time for basic questions is embarrassing – anyone else?)? Is there a benefit to having someone with me, other than my husband, who has never done this before either, while I labor at home until I’m 6 or 7 cm dilated? Is it helpful to have one more person to bounce ideas off of as critical decisions may arise? And is it helpful to have an advocate in the hospital room who can speak to our wishes during highly celebratory moments that coincide with crucial decisions for the baby (for example, Vitamin K shots, hepatitis B, ointment in the baby’s eyes, etc.)?

These are the questions I’ve been asking myself while trying to decide if a doula was right for me. And to help make the decisions, I met with quite a few doula’s and solicited advice from everyone – Instagram poll included. The poll resulted in 54% of the responses saying a doula is critical and 46% saying skip it. I also got several messages from women sharing their doula stories saying how grateful they were to have had one while many others said they were perfectly fine without it.

After a lot of deliberation, I’ve decided that for me, it is important. I have found someone that I really connect with, someone who makes me feel calm and understands/respects my intended birth plan. I’m looking forward to working with her as we navigate this uncharted territory, and between her, my husband and my doctor, feel at ease knowing that I have a solid team of support to get me to the finish line. Will I need a doula for future births? That, I’ll keep you posted on!

What about you? Did you or are you working with a doula? What are your thoughts?

Wearing: Hatch Piped Jensie Pant, Hatch Corinne Buttondown & Edge of Ember Facet Hoops


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  1. I did not consider a doula for a moment, but the people I know that chose one felt that was best for them. When I had my first I was 40 with almost 20 years of professional experience under my belt and most of it involved advocating for others. I couldn’t control my age, my gestational diabetes or my mom living far away but I felt very confident about my ability to advocate for myself during birth. (Even my husband said that I would end just interrupting and talking over a double. So true!) And I was right in my choice. I had a great experience delivering in the hospital (both times) and I found that letting go of my expectations was critical to it all. Good luck! Glad you found someone you like and trust to be with you.

  2. Hello
    I love your blog and follow regularly. I’m actually writing though with some advice to share. Your outfit with heels looks great however I’d recommend not wearing the heels. When I was pregnant with my first, I fell over because of my heels and went into early labour the next day, and my baby was 3 weeks premature.

  3. I lived in England for my first child .I had a Midwife work with me at the hospitalShe was amazing..Also after I brought the baby home the midwives would come to the house and get this)since I was a nursing mom they would undress my baby but a diaper underneath her and weigh her on a fish scale to check her weight 1 to 2 times a week.When you were born,theMidwives assisted me at the hospital. They were wonderful too but only once I got to the hospital.I found pacing really helpful.Walking it off

  4. I’m pregnant too and haven’t put any thought into it either including the doctor arriving when it’s time to push. Sounds like I have thinking to do. How do you go about finding a doula?

  5. Hi Geri!

    Best of luck with your pregnancy!
    Just came here for a little clarification on the meaning of “doula” because your doctor has slightly mislead you.
    Doula actualy means female slave etymologically (so needless to say it doesn’t sound that great to us people of Greek descent because of all the negative connotations the term has), it could at best now be seen as female servant (in the way priviledged families could afford in house servants), but woman’s helper is probably too much of a stretch.
    Nevertheless I think opting for a doula is a great choice that will ease things a bit in a time you should be calm and happy.

  6. I had a Doula for my second child’s birth. For me she was amazing and I’m glad we had her with us. I’d say if it feels right go with it!

  7. I had a doula and loved her; the more support the better and she was also able to help my husband how to help me through labor. She also gave me the best advice I had ever received…wait as long as you can to go to the hospital; a lot of her pain management techniques enabled me to labor at home as long as possible. It was important to me to have a doula that was open to epidural should I decide to have one…it was my first baby and I didn’t want to feel shamed. Overall great experience. Labored a long time at home, got to the hospital dialated to 6, got an epidural (was far enough along it didn’t stall my labor) and pushed my little out in 3 pushes.

  8. I had a doula and she was the best! I found her through a local company and I couldn’t imagine giving birth without her. My husband was great and supportive but aside from accompanying me and holding my hand, he wasn’t sure what else to do as this was both our first. My doula helped me through the contractions, gave me massages and helped me come achieve my goals with labor/delivery. Trust me when you are giving birth, you’ll want someone to advocate for you and someone who has enough experience to guide you through the experience.

  9. I never considered a doula and only had my husband in the room with me. We did a class at our hospital so he knew how I wanted to be supported through the delivery. I had contractions for about 26 hours, then hard labor for 4 hours and then my babe was born after 35 minutes of pushing. Honestly, it was a breeze although painful! I found that the nursing staff was helpful when I needed anything at all (and also just checking in all the time), but it was nice to have the time alone with my husband.

    We all want to be supported differently, so trust your gut with this decision.

  10. Thank you for sharing your journey and the decisions along the way! How did you go about finding your doula?


  11. I had a doula, it was a good choice for me. She was familiar with the HypnoBirthing technique/classes we did. Together with my husband we were a great team, as the various nurses, midwives and doctors came and went. I put off getting to the hospital as long as possible, that was key for me. It was also handy to have someone to stay with me post-birth when our newborn daughter had to go to the NICU with breathing trouble, my husband didn’t have to leave me alone to attend our baby there. Avoiding medical birth was a priority, and both practicing HypnoBirthing and having the doula helped me towards that goal (and I feel would have been beneficial in the event of a medical birth procedure as well).

  12. Gfreat insights! Loved reading this. I have recently been watching “Call the Midwife”, a BBC drama set in East London in the 1950’s and based on the memories of a midwife who worked there at the time. It’s amazing how up until relatively recently midwives and home births were par for the course. Worth a watch!

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