24 answers

Has Anyone Used a Doula?

Hello,
I am thinking about using a doula with this pregnancy, and wondered if anyone else has. I brought it up last time to my husband, and he seemed offended. I think he feels like the doula would replace his role. How can I explain it to him? I have tried, but it doesn't seem to work. My husband is a great guy, but I don't think he understands why I want additional support. I had a pain mediaction-free birth (aside from preeclampsia meds and pictocin! YUCK!), and am hoping for a better experience this time. Thanks for any advice!
E.

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Featured Answers

Hiya-

I've used Tanya McHale as well and she was WONDERFUL! I highly recommend her! Here's her website. http://www.tanyamchale.com/

Take care!

M. :-)

1 mom found this helpful

Hi-

I had a doula (volunteer from the hospital) for my first child. My husband told me that he can't imagine going thru that birth without her. She helped with everything and she and hubby were like a team. I would've had a doula with #2 except there was no time for her to get there b/c it went so fast. I know doula's are now getting involved in pregnancies even before you get to the hospital...so I think that's wonderful too and would ALWAYS recommend using one. I even considered becoming one because I was so inspired by her and how she helped me. I wanted to do the same for other women!

Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

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Hi-

I had a doula (volunteer from the hospital) for my first child. My husband told me that he can't imagine going thru that birth without her. She helped with everything and she and hubby were like a team. I would've had a doula with #2 except there was no time for her to get there b/c it went so fast. I know doula's are now getting involved in pregnancies even before you get to the hospital...so I think that's wonderful too and would ALWAYS recommend using one. I even considered becoming one because I was so inspired by her and how she helped me. I wanted to do the same for other women!

Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

E.,

I used a doula when my son was born in August 2006. I HIGHLY recommend it! So would my husband! My husband and I interviewed doulas and chose ours together. I think that helped. She was very nonjudgmental about the father's role and was a great asset to BOTH of us. Especially, since I was 2 weeks and 1 day postdue, I had to be induced in the hospital and we were in the hospital for 30+ hours before my son was actually born. Needless to say, we were TIRED so having our doula available to allow my husband a break (get coffee, etc.) and offer support was great. Most doulas we spoke with were clear that they are not there to "replace" the husband/partner, but rather to lend their expertise and support. Our goal was to find a doula that didn't have an agenda and was not judgemental about our choices during the birth process. She was also readily available to keep constant communication with the nurse and our midwife as well so my husband could focus on my (and his) emotional/physical state as well. She was also available during pregnancy "on call" with any questions/concerns I had about pregnancy.

1 mom found this helpful

I used one as well along with the Bradley method and I had a 9lb 7 oz baby girl without any drugs. I would use one again and again.

My husband had the same thoughts yours does. he didn't want to be replaced and he was also upset that I thought I needed someone else to get through what should be a special time between the two of us. Looking back, he is happy that we made the decisions we did. What helped him was talking with other dads who had a doula present at their child/rens birth. He was able to ask questions and see what they thought. I hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

I used a doula for my first pregnancy and I thought she was wonderful. My husband was good, but the doula was better. Tell your husband to get over it. He should want what is best for you. If you would like a referral, please let me know. I recommended her to a friend of mine and she loved her too.

1 mom found this helpful

Well, I am a doula so I am biased :) but doulas are a wonderful help for moms and dads. If you check out the website www.dona.org you can read about doulas and dads. I think it's normal for dads to question a doula at first but most are totally sold after the birth.

Also, studies have shown that doulas help reduce unnecessary c-sections and other interventions that can have lasting effects. There have also been studies that show continuous female labor support shortens labors. This is the first time in history women have been expected to give birth without knowledgable female companionship. In the past a woman was aided by a midwife and female family members. Since you already have a baby you know a doctor does not provide labor support. Midwives are better, but may not necesarily be able to be there the whole time. Also, doulas should not only advocate for those wanting to go med free, but to help all women achieve the birth they desire. Good luck with your birth.

1 mom found this helpful

E.,
I have used a doula and I am a doula. My husband loved it. Actually, with my last child, I had 2 doulas, a midwife and my husband and it was the best by far. My husband said it was just great and he would of did it all 3 times had he known and I was not a doula when I had the other kids so I really did not know much about them then. I have a website that has a dads and doulas page. my website is www.tendermomentsdoula.com. And I have alot of other info on dads and doulas if you are interested. If you would like to contact me, let me know and I will give you my number. I also have some references on my website from dads and moms so your husband can look at those. The biggest myth is that doulas replace dads, and that is the farthest from the truth. It really frees the dad up, to love the mom and participate at the level he is most comfortable with. I hope this has helped you.

S. Bailey CLD
Aurora
www.tendermomentsdoula.com

1 mom found this helpful

I used a doula with both of my pregnancies and wouldn't have it any other way. Like the person who noted that her doula was as much help to her as her husband, we found that my partner got as much support from Rita as I did. The prenatal massage and massage during labor were hugely helpful and comforting to me. In my first pregnancy, we were trying for a water birth, but my labor stalled...I ended up getting an epidural and delivering in the bed. Rita was great with helping us find positions that could give me some comfort and hope to kick start my labor and then was a great benefit after the epidural because I needed a lot more physical support once I couldn't use my legs. With my second pregnancy, I was having twins and a nonmedicated birth wasn't an option, nor was using the midwives who delivered our first. We had to get permission to use our doula again since the birth plan for multiples is pretty high-intervention, involves an already huge number of people and must happen in a surgical suite just in case. I'm very glad we did because once again, Rita was a huge help to both of us, gave Alex breaks when she needed them and gave us a measure of control over a very different birth than what we would have wanted if risk wasn't an issue. In both cases, she even came to the hospital to give me a massage the day after the birth (those were seriously the two most wonderful, and needed, massages of my life!!). Your husband shouldn't be threatened by the involvement of a doula but rather welcome her as an extra pair of hands to give him the freedom to fully enjoy this amazing experience. Because Rita was by my side, I was comfortable telling Alex to be with the babies after the birth while I was delivering the afterbirth and getting stitched up. I didn't want the babies to be alone and I'm glad she was free to go tend to them. I'd be delighted to give you a referral...Rita is now one of my very dear friends and is known to our 3 boys as the woman who "helped them get born!"

1 mom found this helpful

Dear E., I am a doula in New Lenox, and I also had a doula for one of my births, my last, I wish I had a doula for all of them. I wish you the best with your pregnacy and if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to call, D. Conte at 815/474-1678 or email me at ____@____.com

1 mom found this helpful

We used a doula with our second child, and had a wonderful experience. We did not choose to use one with our first, for the same reason you described - and would DEFINATELY recommend a doula. We used Tanya McHale, a former labor and delivery nurse. She is incredibly knowledgable and supportive. We used hypnobirthing, and Tanya was able to really advocate well for us with the hospital staff to support our plan to avoid medication (which we did) and keep the room quiet and peaceful. She also had great suggestions and offered encouragement to my partner - who was not replaced at all!! We both really appreciated her.

My sister also used Tanya twice, as did another close friend - All would recommend her!

Good luck with your decision. If you have questions, I would be happy to talk further - just e-mail me!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi E.,
I have not used a doula but I have a friend who is a doula. Her name is Cassandra Richardson. She lives here in Plainfield. If you'd like her to contact you, please provide your number or your email address. She's not a mamasoruce member yet.

~M.
###-###-####

1 mom found this helpful

I used a doula also for my first pregnancy and plan to do it again! It was great! I actually had two (they are sister-in-laws) - they work in tandem because some labors are so long, that way they make sure someone always stays with the mom. My husband also questioned the need prior to labor, but changed his mind! They were so helpful and supportive. I really credit them for my wonderful delivery - I did it in the hospital with pain meds (they were fine with it, even though they both gave birth at home) - I was told I had a 50/50 chance at a c-section ( I was 11 days late and my son was over 9 lbs), but they make sure that every push that you do, that you are doing it effectively so you don't waste your energy. If anything, I think they encourage the father by showing him what he can be doing. Also, many times, there was no nurse, no doctor in the room - just me, my husband and the doulas there - I was so thankful to have their support and knowledge! My doulas were $500 (this was in Jan. 2005) and are in the south suburbs, but I think they travel anywhere.

1 mom found this helpful

I had a doula and was soooo greatful for her being there. And in fact, my husband appreciated her too. We interviewed two women together and discussed it alone. I wanted to be sure we were both in agreement. I think my husband enjoyed our doula because she calmed him down at times ;) and did things like let him get something to eat while she took care of me.

Unfortuatley, I ended up with an emergency c-section, so we ended up hiring her for 5 days after the hospital. It was awsome!!

Good luck. I hope your husband comes around and just realizes you should get whatever it is YOU want during your labor process even it means having more than one support person there for you.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi E.,

I've used a doula twice and I am a doula. It will take some work to explain to your husband that a doula does not displace a partner, but rather, it is just another person in the network of support.

By "The Doula Book" and highlight points in it. What will be especially influential are the studies that have been done that show that births that are attended by doulas are usually shorter, more comfortable, and safer. Births attended by doulas have much lower c-section rates than births with the partner and mom alone. You can also go to www.dona.org for more information about doulas.

Please e-mail me so I can send you my "Frequently Asked Questions" page. It may help your husband understand your point of view a little more. I'm also willing to have him speak to my husband, who was ecstatic during the births of my 2nd and 3rd daughters when we used a doula. It was such a difference when I had a woman who had "been there" before telling me I could do it.

Happy Birthing Day!!

T.
Feel free to e-mail me privately.

1 mom found this helpful

Ok, I may be a little biased here because I am a doula. I can understand your husbands reservations, I hear it alot. I feel that my role isn't to replace other support people, rather to enhance their experience. In the ten years I have been doing this, I can honestly say I support the support person as much as the mother herself- just in a different way.
It is very difficult to see someone you care about go through birth. A doula can offer suggestions for comfort (I myself am also a massage therapist) positioning to help progress as well as information. Sometimes it is very comforting just to know that everything is going as it should and what is normal.
If no one responds to your post who has actually used a doula, please let me know and I can hook you up with some former clients who I feel the father has benefitted from a doulas presence.
Best of luck with the rest of your pregnancy and your birth!!!
J. Mc

1 mom found this helpful

I have not, but I am with this pregnancy! The stastistics are staggering on how much better your delivery can be with one- your chances for intervention/c-section are MUCH lower than if you don't have one.

The one I am using is a massage therapist as well, which I could have used with my first since I had such awful back labor.

Also, she was just telling me a few days ago that with one of her last births her primary role was to support the HUSBAND in the delivery room rather than the wife!

Some of the things she said she does:
1 prenatal massage included, beyond massaging at birth

2 prenatal visits- will help you with your birth plan and will go along and meet your OB or CNM if you wish

Will help facilitate communication between you and the hospital staff to help you follow your birth plan (she said she cannot speak directly to the staff on your behalf, but can help give you the words to request things when you are "out of your head" in pain, etc)

She also has a "tool kit" of items that you can use, like a birth ball, a kneeling pad, aromatherapy items, a variety of pillows for back labor, etc.

Also, not all doulas are anti-med nazis like he might be thinking. A good doula will go along with YOUR wishes for YOUR birth and will help advocate for what it is YOU want. If that means you want an epidural, then she will support that and help you get it.

Also, if price is a problem, some beginning doulas who have not yet completed DONA certification charge between $200-$300 dollars in our area. Looks like the top-notch experienced ones range around $800 or so.
Keep in mind that that price usually sticks no matter if you labor for 2 hours or 20 hours!

I am a member of an online doula forum because I am training to be a post-partum doula in order to get breastfeeding contact hours for my IBCLC certification. If you would like to speak with doulas one-on-one and get more info, I can post for you there. Just message me with your contact info and due date and I'll be happy to pass it along to some wonderful birth doulas!

Congrats on your pregnancy!
-Amanda

1 mom found this helpful

I am so happy to see all the positive comments! I have been a Doula for 8 years and it has been wonderful to see that more and more couples are having Doulas... and that more and more women are becoming Doulas.
As said already, Doulas do not take away the experience of the dad... the enhance it. Feel free to pop me an email and I will give you a list of references. The guys love to talk about it!
As said already, you can go to dona.org for a list of Doulas in your area. I also have a website... email me for information
____@____.com

1 mom found this helpful

E.,
You have some great responses here and I just wanted to jump in too.

I did a Bradley Birth (Husband Coached Childbirth) drug free with my 2nd (my first was an emergency c/s at 29 weeks). My husband was absolutely amazing.

BUT, my mom spoke with a friend who IS a doula and got some great tips and my mom was my "doula." She did not take away from my husband at all, but jsut added to the wonderful support I received. I think if I didn't have my mom there, I definately would have definately had a doula.

Good Luck!
B.

1 mom found this helpful

We used a birth doula with our second child and it made all the difference in the world. I did not think my husband was very supportive during birth mostly because he did not know what to do. Our doula not only helped us achieve the uncomplicated natural birth we desired, but she also educated us during our prenatal visits and provided a prenatal massage to help relax mommy. My labor was not extremely long but it was overnight and my husband and our doula worked in tandem so that they could each have a break. A good birth doula brings lots of experience with birth that your husband does not have. It ended up being a big help to BOTH my husband and myself having her there and sharing in the joy of having a healthy baby. I'd be happy to refer our doula if you decide to start interviewing doulas. Good luck with your upcoming birth!
-Karen C.

1 mom found this helpful

I used a doula with my second child (who is now 4) and it was the greatest experience. The Doula will definitely not be replacing your husband's role - but she will most definitely be providing support during your birthing process - which makes your labor much more tolerable in my opinion, at least it was for me. My double provided non-stop support for me during my labor which was (after the fact) appreciated beyond words that could explain. It also I believe is due to the fact that it comes from a "female" and only she can understand and (bond with you)what you are feeling and going through so it is beneficial for you to have that additional support of a doula, especially towards the end of the labor when your emotionally and physically tired, I found that my doula was able to provide the strength for me and help me through my last bit of labor. I hope that this helps and I wasn't rambling too much. T.

1 mom found this helpful

Just one more thought - there is good clinical evidence that having a doula (either hired, your mom, etc - a dedicated female birth attendant) will significantly reduce your risk of having a c-section due to complications. If you don't have a female friend or relative that can act the part, I think hiring a doula is a great idea.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi E.,

I used a doula in my second delivery, after feeling like I was very "alone" during my firstlabour. I guess the problem was that I didn't know what I needed to ask for from my husband, andhe didn't know what to offer.

first thing I can suggest is somechild birth classes. We didn't do it with our first, but wiht our second we saw alison Atkinson, who teaches "birthing from within" classes. It was really useful in helping my husband and I get on the same page as far as expectations from the labour, and working together...what to do, and learning to focus.

I also had a doula second time. Her name was Tanya McHale, and she was fantastic. She was there to support both my husband and I, and he was really impressed with the whole experience. I had a home birth, and wouldn't have done it any other way. The knowledge from the classes, and Tanya's presence, helped me feel in control and on top of the pain the whole way. Such gentle encouragement.....I highly recommend going with a doula.

if you need any more info, or contact details, let meknow. I would be pleased to help.

Congrats on the little suprise!!!

L.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi E.,
I used Pam Hays of Chicago Doula Care (she actually teaches the Prepared Childbirth class at West Suburban http://westsuburban.reshealth.org/sub_wsmc/education/well... and I got a discount for her doula services because I was in her class). She's great and played a supportive role to my husband during the birth. When he got tired and needed a little nap, she would step in. She answered questions for us and stayed the whole time at the birth and even after for a little while. I thought she was great, and you should definitely schedule a meeting with her. I loved her. And your husband will not feel replaced at all-- just supported. This website will give you more info about Pam http://doulanetwork.com/directory/doulas/287.htm
She's fantastic!

1 mom found this helpful

Hiya-

I've used Tanya McHale as well and she was WONDERFUL! I highly recommend her! Here's her website. http://www.tanyamchale.com/

Take care!

M. :-)

1 mom found this helpful

I also used a doula with my pain medication-free birth with pitocin. It was a wonderful experience. What a doula offers is different because she is experienced in the process of labor and delivery and facilitation in the hospital. It really allows your husband to be with you and be a part of the experience. Maybe once he meets with a doula he'll understand more about how this isn't at all about replacing him.

Congrats and good luck.

J.

1 mom found this helpful

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