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Doulas - Yey or Nae?(13 Posts)
There's no doubting that they will improve the birthing experience - help create a calm environment etc... but are they worth the expense?
Women have survived for generations without them, and there's plenty youtube videos on relaxation, advice for mothers and the birthing partners... and of course the midwives are there but they seem to be quite popular.
We're not exactly well off but we could afford to have one if it was going to make a significant difference. We're not hippy types but I would like a natural positive birth - hypnobirthing, birthpool, aromatherapy, as little intervention/interruption as possible. My husband is very supportive but I know he will be stressed and worried throughout the birth, so would having a doula help to take the pressure off him? Or will it make him feel like him alone is not enough for me?
This is our first child so we've no real idea what to expect...
I had a doula with my first hypnobirth which was wonderful. I wanted a confident, nurturing and calm person with me, as a support to both myself and DH who had very little idea of the realities of labor.
She knew I was aiming for a hypnobirth, and preempted everything I needed, from laboring in a warm bath, to recognizing the signs of transition and calling the OBGYN to come and check me. She arranged the G&A before I even knew I needed it and remained massaging my shoulders and feet and encouraged me when pushing.
She stepped back when I needed DH close and never over stepped or crowded our experience as a couple. When I requested pain relief, she didn't push a drug free agenda, she just listened to what I wanted, calmed me when I started to panic (at 10cm) and she was invaluable to our experience.
I had to have an epidural with DS2 who needed to be kept monitored through my 2nd labor, and slept all the way through it so didn't need her the second time around.
In a room with 2 soon-to-be parents who have no idea really (other than what we see on internet or in books) of the realities of labor, she was the calming and wise presence. If it had just been the two of us, I don't think I would have been as focused as I was.
It's all very well saying women have survived for generations without doulas. But actually they replace the age old tradition that has been lost of an older woman who has been through birth there as your advocate. A few generations ago most women would have seen their mothers, aunts or sisters give birth and have one or some of these people at their own birth.
I recommend a doula - someone to help you both, advocate for you, advise you, relax you. I really enjoyed having a doula for my second birth and will be booking one for my third.
I booked a doula after meeting up and agreeing together that I didn't want advice but rather support what I wanted (2nd child). Next time we met, she was very preachy about only breast feeding and although I hasn't decided what I wanted to do, knew it wouldn't work out. So I paid her NOT to come to my birthday. Shame but I was fine by myself in the end (while DH looked after 20 month old DS). So it's important to make sure that it's the right doula for what you want.
I agree with Llama and mmm. Only the title of doula is new, the role certainly isn't.
We hired one for our first. Unfortunately we didn't get 'full use' from her as DD decided to be breech and gave us our first taste of her personality by firmly refusing to turn so I ended up with an elcs. She was incredibly helpful with all the information she gave us though both before we knew I would be getting a cs and after. I would never have known about 'natural caesareans' if she hadn't have told us, and the options from that definitely made for a better experience. She was always available on the phone during pregnancy and for 4 weeks after which was a lovely support, and helped in the hospital to breastfeed. She also visited once a week for the first 4wks pp as a listening ear, and to give me a chance to shower etc.
This time we are undecided on whether to rehire her. My fears over not getting the feeding right aren't there this time, and although we didn't experience labour last time, I feel we aren't quite as green to it IYSWIM. I'm also not in a position to shell out that much money if we won't fully benefit from it, so I'm going to leave it until after 30wks and make a decision then. If she's booked by then, then so be it.
If you have no family or are single Yay
If you have people around you definitely Nay!
Ours was brilliant during the first stage of labour - she came over at 2am and stayed helping me through contractions then drove us to hospital at 9am. I was almost fully dilated by time we got to hospital - great work. I'm sure we would have panicked and rushed in much too early without her there. At the hospital the midwives took over but she still did amazing job advocating for me, holding heart monitor to my belly for hours on end (it kept falling off).
She was actually a trainee doula who was one birth away from qualifying so cost half as much... Definitely worth the full price. And helped with breastfeeding afterwards too.
I thought about it and do think that they could be wonderful for most people. I am terribly private and couldn't abide having more people in the room than required.
I will have a good birth plan written and make sure my husband understands what's on it, planning on some 'birth rocks' classes and then will hope for the best.
I'm not very confident with my husband being my birth partner as he literally doesn't have a clue however there's no one else I would even consider seeing me naked and vulnerable.
I had a doula precisely because I'm a private person. I asked her to make sure that there were no vaginal exams and that I was left in peace as much as possible. She acted as my 'gatekeeper' so to speak.
Bumble I'm planning to add something similar to my birthing plan re exams as most of them are unnecessary from what I've read. Will live in the hope that DH pushes my plan for me
On the privacy point - I was exactly the same. Or so I thought... Once things really got going I didn't give two hoots what I (wasn't) wearing, who could see what, how many people in room... None of it seemed to matter at all!
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