by Kerry Tuschhoff, HCHI, CHt
I make it very clear to my students that it is *wonderful* to have a doula as an advocate for you in the hospital, and to be a nurturing presence who knows so many ways to help labor progress if needed, etc., that they *must* be completely familiar with the philosophy, techniques, cue words, etc of your birth hypnosis program. The usual doula training provides the laboring women with much more physical activity to stay comfortable, while using hypnosis entails much more "going inside" and specific cues that have been programmed subconsciously. Some hypno-moms can indeed use upright positions, birth balls and even walk if they want to, but this will be for progress if needed or descent and positioning of the baby, and not to maintain comfort. Unless a doula is familiar with all of this, she may not help the woman in the ways she truly needs help to give birth using hypnosis.
I have actually trained a group of traditionally trained doulas in my area to be hypno-doulas, so that hypnomoms will have labor assistants who know exactly how to attend a birthing with hypnosis, and they are all terrific. They marvel at the beautiful births they see, and I'm so happy to have them for my students, as I simply cannot attend all of their births. You may want to ask your instructor if they know of any hypno-trained doulas in your area. You can find out more about Doulas of North America at their website.
Certainly a regular doula can be effective, they just need to be educated about hypnosis for birth and be "willing" to labor assist a different way. As all laboring women have different needs, flexibility is the mark of a good doula anyway!
Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Doula
More specific questions
What a good doula might provide
Doulas can be quite helpful with a hypno-birth, but they simply must be trained to do the right things, such as: