There are several myths/misconceptions are doula support. One of them is “I don’t need a doula because I will have my partner to support me through the birth”.
Sometimes, the partner themselves feels concerned that the doula is going to take their place/make them feel redundant.
It couldn’t be further from the truth.
So why do you need a doula even if your partner is there during your labour and birth? Here are my ten reasons why:
1) Think about the doula like a coach, or a sherpa: if you were going to climb mount Everest, you would take your partner with you, but you’d also hire a guide. Someone who has done it several times before, who knows the mountain inside out, who knows the easy route and the scenic route, who knows how to navigate unexpected weather changes, who can help cheer you on and help carry your bags etc.
2) During the pregnancy a doula can help you both acquire the knowledge you need to plan the birth environment and location etc that suits you best. Knowledge is power! You wouldn’t turn up at an important business meeting thinking you’re just going to wing it! So having some thinking about the options beforehand will help you and your partner feel more prepared and confident.
3) Many pregnant women and their partners have fears and anxieties about the birth and about becoming a parent-a doula will help you identify and talk through these, help you find ways of alleviating them, work your way through conflicting advice, and debunk myths.
4) A doula can help your partner feel more relaxed and safe : having someone you know and trust present in the room, someone who has seen it all before, who isn’t freaked out by it, someone you can ask questions to (“is this normal?), who can reassure you that things are progressing as they should (especially during the earlier part of labour when you are alone at home-this can take up to 2/3 of your labour by the way) can make a world of difference to how calm and confident you both feel. You’ve probably heard that adrenalin and stress are contagious, but so are calm and oxytocin! Having a calmer and more confident birth partner, can in turn help you feel calmer and confident, and can have a significant positive effect on your labour.
5) Doulas are skilled at providing labour support. So we can help your partner support you better during your labour and birth. We can suggest comfort measures for labour, like breathing techniques, movement, positions, massage and more. We can show your partner how do them during labour, so your partner can support you better, building even more into this confidence thing. This also help increase the feeling of connection between you. Nothing makes a doula happier than hearing a couple say something like “we did it together”.
6) Team work: birth can take a long time and be a tiring affair for a single birth partner. Having more than one partner in your birth team means that we can tag team, giving each other a break and time to grab a nap, a snack or a drink, or simply time to go for a wee without leaving you without support during a contraction. Sometimes a labouring woman may like to hold onto her partner’s shoulders during contractions, but also needs her lower back massaged at the same time-that is something rather difficult to do on your own!
7) We know how to pace ourselves-we’ve been there before many times and we have learnt from it. Again back onto a coach analogy, we know how to navigate a long labour, keep both of you as comfortable, rested, relaxed, fed and hydrated as much as possible. We can suggest more restful positions for both of you, feed you snacks and give your drinks, keep you cool, suggest breaks etc.
8) Doulas are helpful advocates for the two of you. We know the maternity system in and out-so if a curve ball get thrown at you-something unexpected happens, an intervention you didn’t want gets suggested-we’ll help you navigate it, make sure you have asked the right questions, make sure you have all the information you need so you can make the right decision for you.
9) Doula are impartial-we are often the only person in the room who isn’t bound by other professional obligations than to serve you. We have no clinical responsibilities and no agenda, other than making sure that you are unconditionally supported.
10) After your baby has been born, we stay for a while and look after the both of you, help you bond and establish feeding with your baby, and make sure you are comfortable and safe and feel ready before we leave.
And I know that’s ten, but I want to add something else : when you get home with your new baby-and you’re freaked you out because this feels like a huge responsibility and you don’t feel “qualified” to look after this baby on your own. And then everybody is giving you conflicting advice so it’s hard to listen to your heart and trust yourself? Your doula can come to your home and help you find your feet, and is often the only person listening to you without an agenda, hence helping you find your own ways of doing things.
If you this resonates with you and you feel draw to work with me- head over here