More and more we find ourselves in conversations with others explaining not what it is that a doula does, but more about what a doula doesn’t do. So we’ve complied a small list (and a video) for your convenience in hopes that this information will help you better understand the role of a professional doula. Key word being professional.
1) Doulas are for natural births
While we love supporting families desiring a natural birth and can be a great resource for these families, it is far from the truth that this is our only role. Families desiring pain management (most commonly, the epidural) still find great value in the support of a doula. Having an epidural does not eliminate the emotional needs of families during birth, and it does not eliminate further complications from arising. A professional doula would never leave a family because they have chosen an epidural. We also support cesarean births, whether they are emergencies or scheduled. It is also a fact that the majority of the births we support are in the hospital. This is probably the most common misconception about doula support.
2) My partner will be present so I don’t need a doula
It is common for partners to fear that a doula will “replace” them and they won’t be needed. Not true! Partners, your support is needed more than anything. A professional doula realizes it’s not about them, it’s about the family. Your doula will support the entire family, not just the birthing mother. So partners, you can feel at ease knowing that you don’t have to arm yourself with all the knowledge of pregnancy and birth to be a great support. Hire the professional who will come with all the knowledge and experience and can set you up to be the biggest rock star of the birth by creating a calm environment for both of you to deeply bond which will aid in pleasant life long memories of your birth experience.
3) I need a doula to advocate for me
While you may find some doulas who live their lives to be birth activists, arguing with care providers about what the birthing mother does or does not want, what is right or not right. You will never experience that with the professional doulas of KSDS. We pride ourselves on our professional relationships with your care provider, and we value the incredibly important role they play in your birth experience. We will never speak directly to your care provider on your behalf. We believe that is your responsibility and one that will make you feel most empowered about your experience. We can help you understand the information that is being given to you in that moment, and we are happy to remind you of options you may have. But ultimately, all decisions surrounding your birth are YOURS to make. We will be your cheerleader supporting you 100% in your decisions without judgement.
4) I don’t have “postpartum” so I don’t need a postpartum doula
Postpartum is the term that defines the period of time after giving birth. EVERY MOTHER HAS A POSTPARTUM PERIOD. Statistics show that 1 in 7 mothers will experience a Perinatal Mood Disorder, like pregnancy or postpartum depression, pregnancy or postpartum OCD and pregnancy or postpartum anxiety to name a few. Families struggling with a perinatal mood disorder will find great value in postpartum doula support. However, we believe that ALL families benefit from postpartum doula support and it is NOT a requirement to be struggling to want a postpartum doula. Here you will learn that postpartum doulas are for happy families too!
5) We want a private experience so we don’t want a doula
Fun fact, there is nothing private about giving birth in a hospital environment. You will have nurses, doctors and midwives coming on going constantly. They may or may not knock when entering, and they may or may not close the door upon exiting. You may experience a handful of shift changes during your time there. And when its time to start pushing, you will notice a fair amount of staff is in your room all at the same time. It can be hard to maintain any sort of privacy with this and you can become easily distracted. Your doula however is going to be the key ingredient in helping to create an intimate environment for your family. The one-to-one continuous support of a doula will make your birth experience more positively memorable. Priceless.
6) I already have a midwife so I don’t need a doula
People often confuse the roles of a midwife and a doula. A midwife is responsible for checking your vital signs and the baby’s vital signs. The midwife will be doing pelvic exams and diagnosing anything that comes up and may even be the one recommending medications. When giving birth in a hospital, just like nurses and doctors, your midwife will come and go as needed throughout labor to check all the things mentioned above. Your midwife will NOT be giving you continuous face to face support. Your midwife is caring for several families at one time. Your midwife will come in when it’s time to start pushing and will stay until your baby is born.
A doula is going to be your only professional support who is going to be with you from the moment you call until you give birth. Your doula does not provide any clinical support, we have no interest or training in that and we leave that role to your midwife. Our focus is primarily on the emotional and physical support you will need during your labor.
So that wraps up the most common misconceptions of doula support. Did you find this information helpful? If so, please comment below and tell us what you learned.
We know that our team of professional doulas will give you much peace of mind about your upcoming birth and postpartum experience. The first step in parenting is not about taking care of baby, it’s about taking care of you! We don’t want you to be another family who claims, I wish I would have hired a doula.