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What is the point of a doula?

(83 Posts)
ReallyTired Wed 06-Aug-08 22:45:17

I know that they are supposed to offer support before, after and during childbirth.
However they aren't qualified midwifes and don't necessarily have midwifey/ health visitor qualified.

So why would someone prefer a paid doula over an unpaid, husband friend or mother?

amazonianadventure Wed 06-Aug-08 23:20:51

Probably best answered by lulumama or marsy, but this is my 2p.

Doulas arent qualified as such but we have a preperation period,we have attended training mine was ran by a x midwife have had children,attended study days.

why me over your husband? has your husband had a baby?supported other women in labour?supported women postnatally helping them get into a routine,help women breastfeed?

Ipersonally dont have any friends who fit that bill, i dont have a husband and well my mother she was with me in my labours but didnt help any

interested in what others have to say

thumbwitch Wed 06-Aug-08 23:29:59

not a doula but have a friend who is one - and I do know that the one thing a doula has to have done is given birth, so she knows what it's all about. This does not apply to all MWs or HVs. So at least the doula will always be the voice of experience, not just theory.Not in any way putting down the advice of said MWs and HVs, as they may be v.experienced and v.good in offering advice and seeing other mums etc; but they won't have actually been through it themselves.

babs10000 Wed 06-Aug-08 23:31:56

nothing is better during birth than another woman to hold your hand and promise light at the end of the tunnel..somehting the nhs willnever be able to offer..in London anyway..worth every panny!

amazonianadventure Wed 06-Aug-08 23:36:06

i think as written in your op ,they support nothing else, dont give medical advice therfor were not medically trained,we dont deliver etc etc

specialmagiclady Wed 06-Aug-08 23:37:41

I didn't really want DH there when I was in labour - he was, because he REALLY wanted to be there - and TBH he was a bit rubbish as a birth partner. My mum wouldn't come; besides which she lives 500 miles away; my best friends all live a long way away and plus we all had new babies at about the same time so they kind of had their hands full.

My doula was a wise woman, who had been at 12 births, very reassuring presence when I needed her and just let me be without patronising or flustering me.

Actually, the midwives arrived 15 minutes after DS2 was born. If lovely lovely Doula hadn't been there, DH and I would have totally panicked....

kiskidee Wed 06-Aug-08 23:38:07

a doula can advocate for you during your labour. She will have been with you often enough and asked enough pertinent questions and made sure she knows what your choices are likely to be in a variety of scenarios so she can do her job well. If you were shitfaced like i was during labour, you would have liked someone there who knew enough about childbirth and best practice in pg and birth vs being led down a path by an obs or mw who may or may not be following hospital policy, which does not always coincide with what may be best for you or your baby.

My dh knows his job better than anyone else. PG and labour? totally 50's kinda man. Frankly I'd rather have none of my family there even if any were close enough to be there.

babs10000 Wed 06-Aug-08 23:38:37

bet you had a straight forward non-intervionist birth?

3Ddonut Wed 06-Aug-08 23:42:36

I acted as a doula for my friend, she said she was terrified of the labour and the only thing that kept her going was knowing that I would be there (we weren't close friends) she said when the time came, her Mum and one of her friends were there with her but she was still holding back, she said that when I arrived she felt relaxed and strong and her dd was born in 20mins! I think that is the difference a doula can make, the empowerment...no matter how many times a man says 'you're doing great' 'nearly there' etc, it's not the same as someone who's been through it saying it and being supportive in a helpful way. Some women also find that they need someone who is not as emotionally involved with them there, someone who is there JUST for them, in that any relative who is present during labour is thinking more about the baby, the doula is there for the mother.
Sadly, in the modern NHS, mothers never know who their midwife will be or whether the midwife will be with them all the way through,, with a doula, they've met before, the doula knows the mother's birth plan exactly and most importantly a doula will stay with the mother however long it takes!

On a personal note, I've had 3 dc's and I wish I'd known then what I know now, I would choose to have a doula should I have another child. I want to pass on the things that I have learned to help other mothers to have a happy, enjoyable pregnancy, birth and early days with their baby.

babs10000 Wed 06-Aug-08 23:45:09

You have put what I feel so strongly about into very eloquent words..I've had 3..all how not to do it..any society aprt from teh Western has another female present throughout..I really believe that fear has so much to play in complicated births..

babs10000 Wed 06-Aug-08 23:45:13

You have put what I feel so strongly about into very eloquent words..I've had 3..all how not to do it..any society aprt from teh Western has another female present throughout..I really believe that fear has so much to play in complicated births..

babs10000 Wed 06-Aug-08 23:47:27

sorry don't know why I'm posting twice!

frumpygrumpy Wed 06-Aug-08 23:54:02

IMHO you can't beat having someone who is there for you, with no agenda, someone you can say anything to and who won't judge or try to influence you. Someone who has been through it before personally, someone who has seen all walks of life, all sorts of births, all sorts of babies, someone who chooses to be there, someone who has up to date and factual information, someone who has time to offer you.

All the other people you mentioned can be fantastic but not everyone can tick all the boxes and sometimes you really need that extra bit of support and comfort. A bit like MN really.

babs10000 Wed 06-Aug-08 23:55:48

Just someone to hand you the gas and air and tell you it will all be over soon..sorry it has to be someone who's done it..and not male!

babs10000 Wed 06-Aug-08 23:55:50

Just someone to hand you the gas and air and tell you it will all be over soon..sorry it has to be someone who's done it..and not male!

babs10000 Wed 06-Aug-08 23:56:25

and don't even get me started on breast feeding..

1dilemma Wed 06-Aug-08 23:58:51

I've wondere this too, maybe it would help if some of them came on and spoke about twhat they do in more detail.

I have a distant friend who had one for her second child (post birth only I think) from what she said she used her as little more than a presumably expensive babysitter!

Whilst I don't think this is what you ment kiskidee I find the idea that I would prefer what an unqualified doula (note I said unqualified not untrained) said over and above the suggestions of a midwife or obstetrician frankly scary. I just find the opinion of some on here (not saying it's yours and agree it's sometimes inferred so maybe I'm presuming) that obstetricians/midwives are working against people and just following policy bizarre

babs10000 Thu 07-Aug-08 00:00:10

yes but maybe you don't love/have ever given birth in London?

babs10000 Thu 07-Aug-08 00:00:35

yes but maybe you don't live/have ever given birth in London?

babs10000 Thu 07-Aug-08 00:00:35

yes but maybe you don't live/have ever given birth in London?

1dilemma Thu 07-Aug-08 00:02:05

But frumpy surely you're describing most midwives? (wiht the exception of those who havn't had a child).

If the one Mother one midwife campaign was successful would there be no need for doulas then? Where do you see their role if you have great midwives?
Any midwives care to come on and tell us about their relationship with doulas?
What about private midvives and doulas?
Interesting q this

1dilemma Thu 07-Aug-08 00:02:36

babs are you talking to me?

1dilemma Thu 07-Aug-08 00:03:04

or me?

1dilemma Thu 07-Aug-08 00:03:25

maybe me? grin

babs10000 Thu 07-Aug-08 00:05:04

maybe but you really can't be up this late

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