Why I Chose a Doula

Dress: Old Navy (non maternity) || Jacket: Forever 21 || Necklace: Zara in Italy (old)

A lot of people have been asking me why I am choosing to use a doula during my second pregnancy. I’m actually really excited to tell you and wrote down my top 5 reasons that I felt a doula would be right for me, Cam and baby. I am also going to do a follow up post after having baby smith to fill you in on how using a doula worked for us. So, let’s jump in!

First off here are some statistics for having a doula present:

4x less likely to have a low birth weight baby and 2x less likely to experience a birth complication involving themselves or their baby*
Help reduce postpartum mood disorders and improve breastfeeding success **
28% less likely to have a c-section***
31% less likely to use synthetic oxytocin to speed up labor***
9% less likely to use any pain medication***
34% less likely to rate their childbirth experience negatively***

What does a doula do?

-Help find evidenced based information for you to make decisions
-Physical support through labor like massage and or counter pressure
-Assist in creating a calm environment
-Remind the mother to use the restroom, eat, drink, walk and change position
-Provide emotional support with their continued presence and encouragement
-Be a listening tool or sounding board
-Suggest techniques for positioning and relaxation
-Advocate for the couple and help with communication

What does a doula NOT do?

-They do not perform vaginal exams or monitor the fetal heart rate
-They do no give medical advice or diagnose conditions
-They don’t make any decisions for the parents
-They do not take over the birth partner’s role
-They do not catch the baby

How much does a doula cost?

In my area, I found that a doula cost anywhere from $300-$600. There were obviously pricier options in certain areas and online I saw up to $2500 in large cities! Do you research and see how many labors they have been a part of, what their experience is, when they go “on call” etc. 

My 5 Reasons for Choosing a Doula

  1. Gathering Tools/My Process: I talked with a friend from college who is a certified doula asking her advice on doulas in general and ones located in my area. She reached out to a few that would be available around my due date and then I started interviewing and praying to know which one would be best for me. I had already been having a rough pregnancy (high risk and needing daily blood thinner injections) and I started reading a book referred to me by some good friends. Literally, my amazing. “The Gift of Giving Life” It’s written by LDS midwives and doulas and does have a lot of religious and LDS ties to it. But one part talked about gathering your tools in preparation for you pregnancy and being prepared. So that is what I wanted. I wanted to have every resource available to me during my birthing time and be completed calm and prepared no matter what happened. I knew a doula was one of those tools and after researching I found Alicia and we just clicked!
  2. Previous Pregnancy Fears: With Ryker, I labored for 10 hours, dilated 7cm before receiving an epidural (overall 22.5 hours). We found out that he was posterior or sunny-side up which was causing him to get ‘stuck’. It made for some intense back labor and then after a few hours my epidural wore off and I was feeling everything and able to have full use of my body and legs. I felt panicked and out of control and overall just plain scared. I later learned that there were different positions I could have gotten in to help move baby and overall make the birthing process so much easier. I also learned that is one of the main ‘jobs’ of a doula –  to help reposition you to keep labor progressing and keep you calm and feeling in control. I knew this was something I wanted my second pregnancy and jumped on board.
  3. Prenatal Support Throughout: A doula usually becomes “on call” for your delivery at 38 weeks. This means you can call anytime day or night when labor begins. But before that time, your doula is still an amazing resource for questions and concerns. As a nurse and second time mom, I feel pretty confident about anatomy, medical situations, etc. But a doula is there for you emotionally as well. A few times that I reached out to Alicia during my pregnancy include: initial interview + coming to my home to meet my family and talk over EVERY fear and concern in detail and work through solutions. She came to one of my Hynobabies classes for support. I reached out to her when my OB care was transferred to a perinatologist and talked through my hesitations. I reached out to let her know of my Mom’s passing and we discussed PPD and preventative tips. It’s just been really comforting knowing that I have another person completely in my corner and ready to help make my pregnancy wishes a reality.
  4. The Power of Women: In that same book I mentioned above, there was a section that talked specifically on the power of a woman’s presence for the laboring mother, especially of a woman that her herself has experiences childbirth. I believe it was based around empathy instead of sympathy (which your partner provides) and talks about how the presence of a calm, supportive and motivating woman can help decrease labor time and negative birth experiences. I really loved this and felt it was just another reason that supported my decision to have a doula present. Doula’s also work with your partner and not in place of them. They help give suggestions for ways to assist the laboring mom and praise both people’s efforts and success.
  5. Postpartum Support: My doula will stay with me at the hospital through the first feeding and then also follow up with me at home within 2 weeks of the postpartum period. This is to help improve breastfeeding success, offer support and resources and discuss any postpartum depression feelings and offer guidance. This really was a “selling” point for me too! After Ryker’s birth, I was re-admitted to the hospital 13 days later because I thought that my signs of infection and pain were just a normal part of afterbirth. I feel that having some extra support and a listening ear would have made all the difference in realizing what was actually happening.

Well, there y’all go. That was a butt load of information but I will be 100% honest that I’ve loved having a doula so far and I feel completely calm and prepared for baby boy’s arrival. I can’t wait to update you with how the process goes!