As an expectant mother, there are a lot of decisions that you are going to need to make for you and your unborn child. This will include everything from choosing a baby registry to picking out the perfect name for your baby. It also means deciding if you want to have a traditional hospital birth or if you would prefer a home birth with a midwife and a birth doula. Your preferences and the kind of birth experience you want to have will play a role in determining if hiring a doula is right for you, or not. But before you make a decision, here are a few questions you should ask yourself to determine whether or not the addition of a doula to your birth team is the right decision for you and your baby.
Are You Interested in an Unmedicated Birth?
You do not have to have an unmedicated birth in order to hire a doula, many women who have epidurals or C-sections still hire a doula to be there during the process for support. There is nothing that says you can only hire a doula if you are having an unmedicated birth, although that type of birth is the most popular for hiring a doula to be an integral part of the birth team. If you are thinking about having a natural experience, without the assistance of medication, you might want to consider investing in a doula to help you deal with the discomfort of childbirth in more natural ways.
Are You Looking for Additional Support Before, During and After Birth?
Having extra support is crucial, especially when you won’t have a lot of family or help nearby following the birth of your new baby. Having a doula who can help you adjust to motherhood when you don’t have the help of family can be extremely beneficial. First-time moms who are nervous and seeking all the extra help they can get, should consider hiring a doula not only for the delivery room, but for when the baby comes home as well. An experienced doula can help to assuage many fears that first-time mothers experience.
How Do You Feel About Receiving Directions and Advice from a Relative Stranger?
Giving birth is an experience that is joyful/happy/enjoyable/painful/emotional/overwhelming and sometimes even scary. Depending on your birthing preferences, you might have a doctor there who is going to also be giving you directions, but ultimately it is your doula who will be there through the entire experience—start to finish. Depending on the length of delivery, it could be a long time that your doula will be there supporting you through contractions and pushing. For mothers who have elected for an unmedicated delivery or a medicated delivery, having a doula supporting them on various coping and breathing mechanisms to deal with the pain can prove to be a worthwhile decision.
What Kind of Birth Experience Do You Want?
Have you given much thought to where you want to give birth and what you want the experience to be like? Do you want a home birth in the privacy and intimacy of your own home or do you prefer a birthing center with your midwife and doula? Perhaps you’ve never thought about anything other than a hospital with doctors and nurses coming and going. While there are many options available for where you want to give birth and what you want your birthing experience to be like, having an idea of what kind of experience you want will help to determine if having a doula is going to be a right fit for you and your expectations.
Can You Afford a Doula?
Hiring a doula to be a part of your birth team is a privilege and not a requirement, as they can be expensive. Determine early on if you want to have a doula as part of your birth team and then save up the money if necessary to make it happen. Depending on where you live and the experience your doula has, hiring one can be quite expensive. If you believe a doula is an integral part of having the birthing experience you want, then work toward making that a possibility for your birth.
Not every expectant mother is going to want or will even feel comfortable having a birth doula as a member of their birthing team. Knowing what you want out of your experience and what it is going to take to make your experience what you’d like it to be will factor into the decision if you should hire a doula or not. At International Doula Institute, we are committed to training doulas who are compassionate, caring and committed to helping expectant mothers have a positive birth experience.