To doula or not to doula?

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snuffy1680's picture
Joined: 07/21/07
Posts: 97
To doula or not to doula?

I have been hoping for a homebirth this time around. DH and I met with a midwife and had our questions answered and everything...but DH has decided he is just not comfortable with homebirth, and is afraid of the (albeit, small) risk. So, we are going to have another hospital birth. I want a doula, but apparently everyone in my area is $1500! Add that to my $2500 hospital bill, and I just don't know if I want to pay THAT much for a hospital birth.

What do you recommend? Did you have a doula? Do you think you could have done natural childbirth without a doula? Is it worth the cost?

TIA!

Joined: 08/03/07
Posts: 3263

That's a tough one! I would first look at how supportive your husband (or other support) will be during the labor and if he'll be able to stand up to the staff (if needed) to ensure you get what you want and not what you don't want. If he's capable and willing then I think you'd be OK.

I know I've seen mention on here before about doula's in training being cheaper if not free, you could look into that.

Good luck and congrats!

Cindy

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

My thoughts exactly...I didn't need one, but that was because my DH was 100% on board and supportive--he was my doula Smile You definitely need somebody fully informed and in your corner, but it could be a friend or family member if you have such a person.

And yes, if you think you need or want one, look into doulas in training. Often they will do it for free just to get the experience.

CamelNoodle's picture
Joined: 07/28/04
Posts: 908

It depends on what you feel a doula would do for you.

My births are so fast a doula wouldn't really be necessary. I feel confident in my ability to advocate for myself and I know DH would do the same. The hospital were I delivered was not pushy about having the birth a certain way.

If you feel you will be "at risk" for medical interventions you don't want, then a doula could be a good choice. If you need someone to help you stay strong in your resolve and not choose pain meds, AROM, or something, then a doula could be a good choice.

Joined: 05/31/08
Posts: 1131

Yeah, I think it depends. What have your previous births been like? If they are fast and not too intense for you, I would think you could do without one. AND I agree with PP that it REALLY matters what your DH is like as a support person. Some DH's just sit in a chair and play with their iphones while their wives labor. Others turn green and pass out and are no help at all. Others do their research and rub their wives backs, push on their hips, let them hang on their neck during contractions, sit behind them while they push, advocate as necessary and are just as involved and supportive as a doula would be. My DH did pretty well the first time around (he was hands-on, but also wasn't sure what to do and was a bit overwhelmed, so having a doula there was helpful for him that time) and I think now that he knows what to expect he will do even better. I got him a copy of the book The Birth Partner (Simkin) and I think that will help too. We are probably not going to get a doula this time because DH can handle it, I'm at a NCB-friendly hospital and my labor with DS was pretty quick, so it isn't really worth spending the $.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4103

I said this on another post here recently, and I'll say it again here, and I'll probably say it again in the future. Smile In labor & birth, the one who needs to be the most comfortable is the mom. Your husband's job is to help make you comfortable, and if that means that *he* might be a bit more uncomfortable, then he needs to suck it up & do whatever you need him to do for you to be comfortable. When it's his turn to carry & birth a baby, then he can make decisions that make him comfortable. Skip the doula, hire the midwife.

kridda_88's picture
Joined: 01/28/08
Posts: 1798

I would still consider a home birth. My DH was a little apprehensive at first as well. How close are you to a hospital? If you are with in 20 minutes of one then you are just as safe delivering at home as you are in a hospital. The risk really isn't any greater. Having just had a home birth I HIGHLY suggest going with that if that is what makes you most comfortable. With my second I went to the hospital because DH was more comfortable with that and regretted it so much afterwords. It may just take the right midwife to convince your DH too. Wink My midwife had clients that their DH was very apprehensive about home birth and she would send them to a different midwife that would seriously change their mind in a heart beat.

But if you can't get DH on board then you really need to make sure you have a very supportive partner whether that is DH or a doula you WILL need it. I was only in the hospital for 2 hours and my DH had to say something to the staff in just that 2 hours.

Joined: 09/02/05
Posts: 994

When it's his turn to carry & birth a baby, then he can make decisions that make him comfortable.

Lol....love this!

I have never used a doula and have managed to have 4 completely unmedicated births. For the most part I was able to speak up for myself while in labor, but Dh was definitely behind me and my wishes and was there to be my support. I think YOU need to do what YOU, the birthing mother, are most comfortable with. Good luck!

snuffy1680's picture
Joined: 07/21/07
Posts: 97

My previous births have been...nothing out of the ordinary. No terrible experiences or anything. With my first, I was in labor for 8 hours total, wanted to go natural and made it to about 7cm before getting some IV meds to take the edge off. I felt pretty good after that birth, but wished I could have done without the meds. With my last birth, it was 12 hours (maybe 14?), and I had terrible back labor (he was sunny side up) and got the epidural. Recovery was a bit longer and more difficult with my last one too. It wasn't anything terrible, just not what I wanted.

I do want the homebirth, and I agree that the decision should mostly be mine...but it's just not in me to tell DH "sorry, I don't give a crap about how you feel, it's all about me." I wouldn't be fully comfortable at home knowing that he is uncomfortable. He really liked the midwife we met with and agreed that most likely everything would be perfectly fine...but he is very worried about the (albeit, small) risk.

I feel like he and I can advocate just fine and speak against doctors if necessary. I wanted more of the hands on support-massaging my back, knowing what positions will help if I have back labor again, etc. He is the type to want to be hands on, but not really know how or what to do.

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

"snuffy1680" wrote:

He is the type to want to be hands on, but not really know how or what to do.

This was my DH, totally. When I first got pregnant, he was totally supportive of whatever I wanted but was making silly comments about poop in the tub and wondering "which end to stand on?" After going through the Hypnobirthing program with me, though, he was a really confident and amazing birth partner! I have also heard good things about the Birth Partner Book.

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

Given how you described your DH (what Leigh copied)- maybe you can find a NCB class locally to take together? I took a class when I was expecting my first called "the best of natural child birth"- it was a great class- we learned a whole lot of techniques to deal with every stage of labor, and then ALSO had hands on practice a number of sessions (it was an 8 week class). It was really good, and would be perfect for someone like your husband who wants to be hands on, wants to help, but doesn't know what to do. I am very much a "take a class" kind of person vs do a personal study/home study/read a book- just about how I learn. But I have definitely heard good things about that book, The Birth Partner.

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

ITA about classes...it was the Hypnobirthing class that really got both of us through. We left every week feeling like NCB rock stars Smile

But if you don't have time/money/availability/etc. then books are definitely better than nothing!

snuffy1680's picture
Joined: 07/21/07
Posts: 97

I have been planning on going to Bradley classes. Do you recommend Hypnobirthing moreso than Bradley? I don't know too much about either...

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

I have heard some good things about Bradley but I can't personally compare because I only did the Hypnobirthing. I can definitely tell you that in my experience, the HB classes made both of us feel so informed and empowered that even though in the end I didn't use a lot of the pain relief techniques (because of my unique situation, which I won't bore you with here), I still credit it hugely with getting me through my NCB, both because it made DH such a wonderful help and advocate, and because I was so well educated about birth and the way our bodies are supposed to work that even when the going got rough, I was totally confident (despite a few things that may have come out of my mouth during transition ;)) Maybe some other ladies can give you more info on the Bradley side of things and how helpful that method is (or not) to building a good birth partner.

And if the word "Hypnobirthing" gives you any trouble, just call it the Mongan Method Wink

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462

I totally agree about “it depends on your DH”. Personally, I find DH to be great when I’m in labour, once I can get him to stop running around and tell him that he is to focus on ME. However, there are 3 other kids, the oldest of which (13yo), is the highest maintenance and always wanting to be centre of everything. We need to make sure that we have SOMEONE to deal with the other kids while I am in labour, and likely that means a couple people – 1 for DSS (who will be wanting DH to answer every one of his questions (Dad, can I go play PS3, Dad, can I go to the bathroom? (Why are you asking that?) Dad, why is the sky blue? (why ask that now?) Dad, why can DD (3yo) sit here but I can’t? (because she is sitting quietly and watching, and you are sitting there asking stupid questions).

Also, we have had 3 home births, and they have all been fast. DH needed to be my support person because there was no other option. Once the midwife got there then it was nice to know that there was someone to deal with anything medical in case it needed dealing with, and just keeping the peace (she has a very calm demeanor) while DH can deal with me. Fortunately, my labours have been very short (1.75-2.75h), and so I haven’t had to have DH switch with someone else. The only thing to worry about was the midwife getting there at all!

Personally, I would not go to the hospital without a Doula with the reasoning that DH is there for me, and the Doula is there to run interference on any NCB unfriendly staff, support any NCB when and if I'm feeling like giving up, and spell off DH when and if he needs it.

snuffy1680's picture
Joined: 07/21/07
Posts: 97

Update:
I just booked a doula! I found someone who lives about 2 minutes away and gives discounts to those who live in town! Instead of $1500 like everyone else, she charges $1000! She is also the local La Leche League leader and will be a big help after the baby is born with nursing. Thanks for all of your help! I'm really glad I decided to go with a doula, it's worth the money!

kridda_88's picture
Joined: 01/28/08
Posts: 1798

Glad you did what you felt was right for YOU! I would totally recommend the hypnobirthing/hypnobabies over the bradley. I tried bradley at first with my second DS and switched over to hypnobirthing and it was a much better experience. With my third I just used the hypnobirthing from the beginning and I was so much more relaxed and in control even through back labor and birthing a posterior baby. Not once did I loose it and even through transition I was talking to my midwives, even through my contractions.

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

That is awesome!!!

Joined: 04/23/07
Posts: 624

I did all three of my births completely natural in a hospital and a midwife, with only my husband as extra support. I never have had a doula. I would also recommend going to a class to prepare you for different laboring positions and techniques and also another great benefit of a class is DH learning about good places to massage and help with contractions. We took a Lamaze type class that only cost about $35 for 4-8 weeks (Can't remember the exact length) and although I didn't feel like I used the breathing techniques we learned, I feel like the most valuable thing we took from that class was how DH learned to massage the different areas of my body. He still uses the same massage techniques that he learned then even when I am not pregnant and I am in heaven. He has gotten so good at it, so a class is definitely worth it if it will help your DH learn some things to be helpful...even if you do have a doula, maybe DH can still do some massages while in labor so he feels like he is helping. Just because you are getting a doula doesn't mean DH can't still do some things to help and make himself feel useful. Glad you found a doula more affordable! Smile