Doula anyone?

Just wondering if anyone had experience or ever thought about using a doula?

I have been seriously considering the idea and would love your thoughts :grphug:

That kind of thing is not very popular around here, although it is available. I think it all depends on the hospital you go to. Where I gave birth, I was hooked up to the drip half-way through my labour, and had to just lie on my back/side for the rest of my labour. It hurt so much I don’t think any amount of coaching / massaging / breathing would have helped. For me, if I had to do it again, I’d want a place that has quick access to medical care, drugs/epidurals available, and quick access to surgery, but still focus on what’s best for mother and baby and encourage natural labour and self-directed pushing and not what’s most convenient for the overworked OBGYN.

I hada home birth 14&1/2 years ago with a nurse mid-wife…she was a nurse practitioner not a lay mid wife. I’ve never worked with a doula nor have I met any. But I can tell you natural child birth and support from husband and a good friend is the way to go. I had the mid wife, her nurse, my husband, and my best friend who is a nurse…and myself also a nurse! (my husband was a bit out numbered) It was a wonderful labor…until it started to get hard but still I had everything I needed. I would imagine your doctor or mid wife would need to be supportive of the presence of a doula.

One of my friends has used doulas and mid-wifes for at least 5 of her 7 pregnancies (including twins this last time around) and those have all been homebirths. I know she vastly perfers this to being in the hospital. After one of her deliveries, she did end up going to the hospital due to some hemorraghing, which scares me to death. I do know that she and her midwife discussed all sorts of options because this last pregnancy was not only twins, but she’s about 40, and the pregnancy is higher risk. In the end, she went to 40 weeks and was able to have her babies at home.

Here is one thread.

There are others here. If you search using the word doula you’ll come up with them. The Yarn Harlot was a doula until an epidemic put her out of business. If you search her site you can find the story.

I too had home births with midwife in attendance. I have met doulas but have not used them. I do believe that a woman MUST be supported during labor and delivery, someone to advocate on her behalf, insure her of the outcome she desires. It’s too easy to bully a woman in labor, and convince or coerce her into accepting something she doesn’t really want. Pain is a good motivator, as humans, we’ll do nearly anything to avoid it, even if it is ultimately NOT in our own or our child’s best interests. It’s important to have someone standing in the room who won’t let that happen.

I agree. As a pharmacist, I should be the type to be very aware of my health care and things that are done to take care of me and to ask lots of questions. But during labour, when they said, “We’re going to take you to the other room and induce you as soon as the other lady is done,” I never even thought to ask why. If my husband had better sense, he could’ve taken the initiative to ask questions and advocate on my behalf, so it would have been nice for someone more experienced to be there.

And as the end came, I just remember pushing like hell and being very breathless as a result. Of course the staff kept telling me to push, and I now feel as if that damn induction was the cause of all my problems: the reason I needed an epidural, the reason I couldn’t get up and walk about, the reason I had a tear all the way to my anus, the reason I couldn’t tell when to push, etc.

Oh yes, induction increase the rapidity and pain of labor, once they add more drugs you need more monitoring, so you can’t move, so you hurt more, so you need an epidural…and your risk for a c-section increases.

I remember that whenever I tried to lie on my side or rest during labor—which went on all night–I could only tolerate it for a little while it hurt so much more and I felt better moving around. When it was time to push, (I’m told I pushed for an hour but it seemed faster than that to me) I had this interesting mind-uterus connection. At first my mid wife said I was fully dilated and could push, it took a while for me to feel an urge. But after while with each contraction I just knew when to push and when to not. It was a good thing.

Oh–I highly recommend squatting–it opens the pelvic opening by 20 percent and the gravity helps too.

Thanks for the info everyone!

There are a few reasons that I started thinking about getting a doula. First off, I just changed doctors at 29 weeks… I know that might sound crazy, but I could not stand my last doctor and finally got fed up and switched. So, now I don’t have a whole lot of time to get to know the new doctor, and although he seems way better than the last one, I am not sure I can make a connection with him if that makes sense.

Also, I am sort of interested in a home birth but 1. my insurance will not cover it and 2. I feel it is probably not the greatest idea on my first child. Basically, a doula is the closest I can get while still having a hospital birth.

I know my husband will be totally supportive during labor, I am just afraid he is going to be so nervous and scared for me, that he will not ask the right questions, or know what to do to help me.

I know I am being naive trying to plan out my birthing experience. Chances are things will go nothing like I plan them to. I have already told myself that if I can’t handle the pain, and get an epidural I am not going to be disappointed, trying to go without drugs is not necessarily my reasons for wanting a doula anyway. . I think I will feel a lot better having someone there whose sole responsibility is to be an advocate for our baby and I.

I think you’ve got it right. Planning is a good idea, but be open to the fact that things may be different when you get there. Having someone who has been through it many times before may help you to think about things you never thought of. She may get you thinking about all the possible scenarios and think about ways you will deal with them ahead of time. She may be able to tell you things, like, “If you push for 2 hours and still don’t have a baby, they’ll likely do a c-section.” (I don’t know if that’s true or not, but you get my point). Baby books are good, but there is so much variation in hospitals all over the place. (This is sort of an unrelated matter, but just so you know, one of the pediatricians here insists that all breastfed babies be supplemented with formula. Glad I didn’t have that argument along with all the other self-advocating stuff that can come up around the time of birth. I probably wouldn’t have had the energy to decide for myself) She can help you decide when to go to the hospital. Most people are very insecure about how long to stay at home before getting in the car. When you are labouring at the hospital, the nurses are not necessarily watching you all the time. She will be there for all the water-breaking, leaking, bloody showy, mucus-plug-losing bits. And your husband (I think you said you have one) will need to eat, make phone calls, etc. He will be like a deer in the headlights. Concerned, worried, but inexperienced.

Oh my, I must stop spilling my guts. The first few sentences of my post was what I really wanted to convey. Good luck with your choices and your birth experience!

I’m not sure I would agree with the “deer in the headlights” comment. By the time we had our first child I had seen and assisted with several births as a nursing student. Even without that experience other men have reacted differently to their wives giving birth. Both of my sons ended up caesarian births after long labors. We did have a doula during the birth of my second son and I thought the experience was very worthwhile. My wife was trying to do a v-back and even though it didn’t work out, my wife had the support she needed to give it a good try and the support afterward not to feel badly about it not succeeding.

I’m also a homebirther, a childbirth educator, and an ex-doula (I can’t handle the late nights!). First of all, it’s not crazy to switch at 29 weeks. I’ve known many women to switch much later. It’s always better to switch than to stay with someone you don’t like.

Secondly, if you’re interested in homebirth, just know that it is proven to be at least as safe as hospital birth for low-risk moms, which includes first time moms. I very much wish I’d had my first at home. Having done it both ways and attended both types of births in my doula career, I can say that on average homebirths are just so much more respectful. There are many abuses in the hospital system that women just take without even realizing they’re being abused, and obstetrical practice is not remotely evidence-based. Check out Ricki Lake’s documentary, The Business of Being Born. It’s available on Netflix.

if you go forward with a hospital birth a doula is absolutely CRITICAL, as is a good childbirth class. A doula will literally half your risk of a c-section, reduces the need for induction and pain medications. Most inductions and c-sections aren’t necessary; they’re made necessary by bad information and other unnecessary interventions. For example, inducing doubles your risk of a c-section because it’s so hard on the baby. But most reasons for induction are not valid, such as “Your baby is too big” and “You’re at 41 weeks now and soon your placenta will stop working.” They use scare tactics to get women to do what’s easier for them. Malpractice insurance companies write practice manuals for OBs, which dictate how they can practice based on lawsuit outcomes, NOT what’s medically best for women and babies.

Obviously this is a topic I’m passionate about! There are a ton of resources out there-learn as much as you can before the big day :slight_smile: