Do you need a doula?For expectant moms, there are a million things to think about. Everything from changes in the body to what color to paint the nursery keep pregnant women up at night. But one of the most important things to think about is how the delivery is going to go and how best to manage it. Too often, a birth plan gets left to the last minute. When your water breaks, it's too late to wonder who might be the right person to have in the delivery room with you. Recently, doulas have been making a comeback in the delivery room to help birthing mothers manage it all -but not without a certain stigma.
As a certified doula, I've coached dozens of women through the rigors of childbirth. If you've even heard of a doula, you probably think she's some incense burning, sandal-and-sock wearing chick from the 70's. I'm here to shatter that image bust the myths around doulas and explain why having a doula with you in the birthing room might be the right choice for you:
Myth # 1: Doulas are for moms who plan to have their babies in
a) the woods
b) a pool
c) any place other than a maternity ward
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Doulas are not a hippie-dippy replacement for doctors, nurses and hospitals. Doulas are not there to offer medical advice. Doulas are not midwives and cannot perform any medical procedures unless they have specific education or a licensing. Doulas ARE there to comfort, calm and coach a woman through childbirth. Doulas are an added member of the birthing team, who can help advocate for your wishes during labor, help guide you through the steps and help ensure that your baby's birthday is a positive experience for you and your partner.
Myth #2: Doulas are for single moms who have no one else for support
Doulas are not for the Lonely Hearts Club Band. Doulas are for everyone. They can help calm a nervous father, ease an argument with a nurse or facilitate comfort measures between couples. I've had as many grateful dads thanking me for being in the delivery room as moms. But if you are a woman who doesn't have family close (in proximity or relationship), a doula can provide comfort and advice throughout your pregnancy and in the delivery room.
Myth # 3: Doulas are old spinsters who burn candles and rub your tummy during labor
Let's get one thing straight - I'm not old and I am no massage-therapist-aromatherapy-yogi Doula. I am a coach. I keep track of labor progression, including timing contractions and labor positioning for comfort. I'm knowledgeable with speeding up and slowing down labor. Some doulas help naviagte hospital policies. I like to say I am a confident, stick-by-your-side partner every step of the way, beginning with active labor through your first hour of motherhood.
Research what doulas can do and think about whether a doula might be a good fit for your family, the kind of delivery you want to have and your budget. Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions. Finally, do work out specifics with the doulas you are considering and know what you are hiring her for as you put together a birth plan.
For more information about Doulas or to find one near you, visit www.dona.org.
Have you used a doula? How did the doula participate in your labor and delivery?
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