Things to Keep in Mind When Hiring a Doula:
1. Don’t let a doula usurp dad’s role. Instead hire a doula to enhance dad’s ability to provide support and security during labor, with the comforting knowledge that you and baby are being cared for every step of the way.
2. Hiring a doula will give you the peace of mind that you’ll surely see a familiar face when you go into labor. Take it from me, I had about 6 different nurses due to shift changes during my first labor, and my doctor thankfully stayed after her shift to “catch” my baby, but had she not, a doctor I had never met would have delivered my daughter. So many OBGYNs work in groups nowadays, and if your doctor doesn’t happen to be “on call,” or if she is on vacation, you’ll likely be seeing a doctor you’ve never met at one of the most important moments of your life. A doula however, can be a constant source of comfort.
3. Make sure you’re on the same page with your doula — ie: if you are aiming for a natural birth but then decide you would like an epidural, make sure your doula will be supportive no matter what route you choose. Don’t hire a doula who imposes her beliefs on you, hire a doula who helps you uphold your beliefs by giving you all of the information you need about the decisions you need to make, and by respecting and providing emotional support for you at all times.
4. Doulas May Create an “Us” Against “Them” Mentality in Some Hospital Settings
Well-rounded decision making must always include looking at the pros and the cons of any situation. It is worth noting that it has been reported that some labor and delivery nurses feel threatened by and at odds with birth doulas — claiming that doulas try to question their authority and get in the way of decisions that should be made by medically trained staff. It’s the “too many cooks in the kitchen” syndrome.
This sign, posted at a hospital in Provo, Utah says it all when it comes to the threat some hospitals perceive doulas to be:
“Because the Physicians at Aspen Women’s Center care about the quality of their patient’s deliveries and are very concerned about the welfare and health of your unborn child, we will not participate in a “Birth Contract”, a Doulah (misspelled) Assisted, or a Bradley Method delivery. For those patients who are interested in such methods, please notify the nurse so we may arrange transfer of your care.”
*Since some hospitals are clearly defunct, it may be beneficial to ask your doctor if he has any doula or doula service referrals, so he is aware of your desire to have a doula present during labor and delivery and may be able to recommend one who works well with his team.
Did you have a birth doula? What was your experience? Please share in the comment section below!
+ For more information on doulas visit DONA International.
Lead Photo: TheLawleys