My first piece of advice to a new mother interested in birthing in the hospital is, GET A DOULA! With my first child I thought I would be able to go into the hospital with the wishes for a completely natural birth and get what I wanted, and what I had expected from birth. I was wrong.
Just as my experiences which greatly differed under OB/GYN care, and Midwife care in my post The Midwife Difference, I had greatly different experiences without a doula for my first, and with a doula for my second. If I knew what I did about hospital birth today, I would have requested money for a doula rather than baby gifts, and essentially a bunch of stuff that we would barely use for our oldest.
One of the major concerns over doula’s is the cost. Insurance rarely covers it, though they should because it lowers the costs of birth in a hospital by reducing the need or request for pain medication, epidurals, and even reduces the risk of a forcep assisted or vacuum assisted delivery. But cost being the biggest issue, many women opt to skip on a doula and use their husband or partner in this type of support capacity. I know, because I did it! And if anyone knows my husband, half way into my labor, we found him sleeping in one of the most uncomfortable looking positions. Yes, that is him to the right, sleeping on the floor with a tipped chair as a pillow while I was hooked up to pitocin. Had I had a doula, I would have probably skipped the pitocin, and the hospital, and especially the Obstetric practice I ended up with! Come time for my second child, especially given that my birth was going to be a VBAC attempt, I knew how important it was to have a doula no matter how much it may have cost our family. And it was worth it! The support I got from my doula was unlike anything my husband, or hospital staff could have ever provided me with. I knew this because I had already been through it one time, and I vowed I wouldn’t do it again under those circumstances.
But there are ways around the costs of doulas. Believe it or nor there are a lot of doulas out there. Training, well educated, attending births for decades, all kinds. And they are willing to work with you, especially if the only factor is money! If you contact local doula organizations such as DONA, or CAPPA they can point you in the direction of women who are still becoming certified and many of them would be willing to attend a birth for free, or seriously discounted rate to obtain their birth hours needed for certifications. Then there are the doulas who have been attending birth for decades willing to work on a sliding scale, payment plan, or make alternative arrangements such as bartering. Heck, some midwives even barter for services. Makes me glad I married a handy husband! (LOL!)
But what exactly is a doula?
Well, a birth doula according to DONA :
A birth doula certified by DONA International is designated by the initials CD(DONA).
A postpartum doula is described as :
A postpartum doula certified by DONA International is designated by the initials PCD(DONA).
Where did the word Doula come from? Seems like a funny word right? Why couldn’t they just use the word birth attendant, or support person, or something less exotic. The word doula comes from an ancient Greek word that means mothers servant or woman who serves.
Where can you find a doula? Lots of places!
DONA International – Doulas of North America
CAPPA – Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association
Find a Doula
How to Find a Doula from ehow.com
Take a couple minutes to watch the short clip above, in June the full film will be released and I can’t wait to see it as a whole. I am sure there is going to be a lot of awesome clips that really show the great need, and benefit of having a doula.
What are the benefits of having a doula? There are a lot!
Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth
Research shows parents who receive support can:
Thank you to DONA International for the amazing resources above provided on their website.
I hope some of the mothers, especially first time mothers will take a couple minutes to really seriously consider having a doula for their birth.