Can I clarify something real quick? It’s not like I have hired a doula for my first pregnancy and had a great experience and therefore wanted to again. I NEVER worked with a doula until my third pregnancy came along.
My biggest regret? Not getting one the first or the second round. I am still kicking myself about that. But anyway, enough about me…..
What is a doula anyway???
So here is the verbatim definition from Merriam-Webster:
“a person trained to provide advice, information, emotional support, and physical comfort to a mother before, during, and just after childbirth”Merriam-Webster
That also definitely sounds like what a labor and delivery nurse does as well. While my overall experience with L/D nurses have been wonderful, they also have other patients to take care of in addition to you.
When you have been working with a doula throughout your pregnancy, they get to spend more time knowing your needs and preferences. And at the hospital, their only focus is on you friend-that is huge!
What’s the difference between a doula and a midwife?
A midwife is a medical professional that can provide care for you during pregnancy and labor and delivery, as well as after birth and taking care of the newborn too.
That is important to consider because a doula cannot give you medical care or medical advice. But also a midwife is not a surgeon, so if you need a c-section, then a surgeon or ob-gyn will have to perform the surgery.
Personally, I have a great relationship with my provider and other ob-gyn doctors at the hospital so I wanted a doula because their primary role was the emotional support.
Benefits of having a doula
When I hired my doula, I instantly felt like I had a “go to” resource for any questions or concerns that I had. It was like having a really good friend that has “been there, done that” with pregnancy…..times a hundred or a thousand births.
With this being my third full-term pregnancy, I already had experience on my side. But it is so true that every pregnancy is different so there is no way you can know everything.
For example, I had a lot of groin pain this time but never had that previously. It was seriously so nice to be able to text my doula and ask about it. She was able to recommend a support band, and give me links to various exercise videos to help with the pain.
Types of Doulas
Just as there are exercises for when you are pregnant, and some when you are postpartum, there are different doulas. Some doulas only do prenatal services which is essentially through labor and delivery. There are also postpartum doulas that work with you primarily after you deliver. And of course there are doulas who do both!
For those of you that aren’t interested in prenatal care but want help with postpartum, a postpartum doula may be a perfect fit. Depending on their services, they can help with breastfeeding, cleaning, watching the kids, and processing your birth.
Definitely shop around and see what services any doula company offers. You may need to interview a few before deciding a right fit.
Can I still hire a doula even if I know it will be a C-Section?
Yes! Whether you know ahead of time or not until closer to the end of your pregnancy, c-section mamas still benefit from having a doula (this was my third c-section).
Every pregnancy journey will be different and it is wonderful having extra support along the way. Having a doula there for my 3rd delivery was so nice, it gave another set of eyes and ears so my husband and I could be in the moment.
Our hospital did not allow doulas in the surgery room, but she was still able to provide us music to play in the room, and helped me pick out essential oils to ease my nerves.
I am going to argue that you may almost need a postpartum doula more so with the extra recovery from surgery. If you have other children in the home, that really minimizes your recovery time. Knowing that you have your doula to come watch the kids for a few hours or help around the house is so worth the money.
Speaking of money…how much does a doula cost?
In my area, generally services were around $1,500. That included pre and post pregnancy services. So it is more affordable than what I thought it would be.
If you are the kind of person to already shut it down and think that’s too much, give it a chance. Check out some businesses and see their different rates and packages. Most doulas will require a security payment and then offer a super flexible payment plan.
Also check with your insurance to see if they cover doulas. You may be able to use a flex spending health plan to help with cost.
Still want a doula but do not have a dime? Go ahead and still call a doula explain your situation and see what they say. Typically they are super dialed into local resources for moms and may help you brainstorm a few ideas.
Remember, these people get into the business because they want to help mamas on their journey. If a doula is rude to you because you don’t have money available, that would be a very good sign that they wouldn’t be a good fit for you anyway!
It never hurts to ask, what do you have to lose?
IF I were to have another baby, would I hire a doula again?
I definitely would. Once again every pregnancy is different and having another resource in addition to my doctor gave me such peace of mind. Both my husband and I wished we would have hired a doula for our first child.
If you’re on the fence about whether hiring a doula or not, look at a few business pages or even interview a few to help you decide.
Sometimes having a doula is thought to be too “granola-y” but you can find one that fits your personality. You are paying to have this person walk through one of the most important times in your life, pick someone that makes you feel comfortable.
Doulas are a great resource for an emotional and special time such as pregnancy and postpartum, it is definitely worth considering!
Have you thought about hiring a doula? Or have you worked with one in the past, what has been your experience? Let me know!