Experience with Doula

Updated on March 16, 2009
P.K. asks from Missouri City, TX
18 answers

Hi I am hiring a doula for my upcoming labor in a couple of weeks. What should I expect? Anyone had any experiences with a doula?

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K.D.

answers from Austin on

I had a wonderful doula - I could not have had a natural birth without her! Once into transition, I had the urge to push & neither my husband nor I was prepared to deal with that. My doula, Shelley Scotka, was incredible. I also have a good friend whom I've met since, Margaret Burns, who is a doula. You can email me at [email protected]____.com if you would like their email addresses.

As far as what to expect - I would choose someone who respects what you want for your birth. You don't have to want a natural birth to benefit from having a doula - even women getting c-sections hire them. But if you do want a natural birth, a doula will probably have more experience with this than a typical nurse, and her presence alone will likely keep nurses from botrhering you much. She will be a support person for you and your partner. Caring for a woman in labor is not a one-person job. My husband was worried she was going to "do his job," but that was not the case. We were both very thankful for our doula, & will definitely have a doula the next time we have a baby.

Best wishes to you!
K.

2 moms found this helpful
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T.V.

answers from Houston on

I had a doula that was provided for my by my midwife. She was an assistant to the midwife, helping to set up, clean up, etc, but she was also a tremendous help to me. She helped to keep me focused,she helped me go to the potty and move as I needed to, she did counter preassure and massage as I needed it, and she would get me a drink or food if I needed it.

What I think you should expect, assuming a hospital birth, is an advocate. Make sure she is familiar with your birthplan and she will help to make sure you get what you want. She will also take the burden of easing your discomfort off your s.o. so they can just be there for you. A doula is a great thing!

1 mom found this helpful
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V.L.

answers from El Paso on

I hired a doula for the birth of my daughter, we had a home birth with a midwife. My Doula was amazing I could not have done it without her she was the first one to arrive, I called her after about 17 hours of labor just as things were starting to get really serious. She stayed with me for more than 24 hours she was amazing support through the labor process constantly encouraging me and helping me remember to breathe and relax etc. She also stayed for a while after the birth and helped me get into the shower and get cleaned up. I had a very hard labor so the extra support was essential. I would recommend getting a Doula to everyone. The key is just to make sure that when you interview your Doula before hiring her make sure you two are on the same page for what you expect of her. Congratulations and I hope you have a beautiful birth!

1 mom found this helpful
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A.F.

answers from New York on

I had a doula with both births and loved it! They made the whole birth experience very positive and personal. It was also very helpful for my husband to have the extra support, especially during the last part of labor when you feel like you are going to lose your mind. I had two different doulas and they both offered visits before and after the birth, plus constant support during the birth. I tell everyone that having a doula is the best and your insurance may even reimburse you for their services. Good luck!
-A.

1 mom found this helpful
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B.S.

answers from San Antonio on

P.,
Congrats on your upcoming new one! Doulas are great. I would not have a birth without one. They will help you in whatever area you need and also protect your child from procedures that are not nessasary. You will be glad to have one.

B.
www.MoreForMyBaby.com

1 mom found this helpful
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K.B.

answers from Austin on

I used a doula. I will give you the quick and dirty. Email if you want more info and I'll be happy to go on and on and on. :)
I LOVED IT!
Before you go into labor, they should be available to you by phone and have a couple of in home visits. They will answer all your silly questions immediately and kindly (unlike the doctors office which is usually too busy for that sort of thing).
They should be able to agree to get to you in an hour, wherever you are (in town) when you go into labor. They will stay with you the whole time and help you labor at home until it's time to go to the hospital. It will likely cost between $700-$1000. Worth every penny. They will guide you through different positions and options for comfort. They will help you be aware of what the doctor may be doing and keep you from being in the dark. They will give your partner support to support you so that they feel involved and competent. They will help you realize that you can proceed without drugs when you thought you couldn't and then support you if you decide to have an epidural (I didn't need one). I didn't notice that my doctor was even there. I had one trusted friend at each shoulder, whispering in my ear. I don't know if there were even nurses present. It was such a lovely and magical experience!
I used Brenda at the Mothering Way (www.themotheringway.com). She was kind and gentle and loving. She was not very organized, but it didn't matter. I am so anal retentive, I had it handled for the both of us. ;)
I recommend making a birth plan as well.
K.

1 mom found this helpful
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A.C.

answers from Austin on

most doulas will meet with you at least twice before the birth. During this time you may work on positions, comfort measures, get answers to any questions you have, maybe work up a birth plan, get to know each other better, etc. when you go into labor a doula will be available over the phone until you feel you need her. she can join you at your home or meet you at the hospital. your doula will stay with you throw out your labor and birth, no matter how long it is. she will help you to manage your labor to achieve a birth experience you feel good about. she will also help your husband to feel involved and able to be supportive of you. doulas often help by offering massage, counter pressure, verbal support, information on anything you do not understand, suggestions of positions that may help baby to be in the best position, etc.
I love supporting moms in labor and birth. Congratulations on your up coming addition.

A.
www.supportingmom.com

1 mom found this helpful
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N.M.

answers from Corpus Christi on

There are several sites online for Doulas. It is an awsome experience and I'm so glad I had one with both of my births. They basically do everything from the waist up and thighs down. They do not medically intervene. They offer emotional support and physical releif through massage. I ended up having an epidural with both of my labors. However, in my first labor the epidural stopped working. I was in a lot of pain and so glad to have someone there to help me keep focused and reassure me. My husband was there too, but it was hard for him to see me in pain and as wonderful as he is, he didn't know exactly what I needed. The Doula was support for him too.

1 mom found this helpful
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M.V.

answers from Houston on

I'm going to respond as a prior user of a doula and as a current doula.

My first birth was a disaster so when I finally became pregnant with #2, I wanted to go natural and have all of the help I could. I used my doula (in my head, anyway) as my security against giving in and having an epidural again. My doula worked with me on relaxation techniques and positioning before labor started and was there for me once I told her I needed it upon going into labor. She helped remind me to take my cleansing breaths, change positions freequently, drink water to keep hydrated and even to periodically use the potty. She was also there to help my husband realize what I needed from him and to provide counter-pressure on my back up until the end. I had a great experience with her and decided that I wanted to help others as well.

I typically like to meet with my clients ahead of time so we can all get to know each other prior to any contracts being signed. I want them to feel completely comfortable with me and not under any pressure to officially commit to me right away. Both mom AND dad need to be on the same page. Once they decide that I will be a good fit for them, we sign the contract and work out payment arraingements (currently $0 due to certification in progress). Then we discuss the type of birth they envision and the different options out there for them. I let them do their own research (if they wish) on the types of births that might work for them and once they decide we move forward on the birth plan and different positioning and relaxation techniques that will be good for her to use during her pregnancy as well as L&D. I also teach the husband how to help with these so they can be done when needed. I make housecalls a few different times during the pregnancy, as time allows, and am available during the entire pregnancy for questions. Some doulas only wish to be available 24 hrs. a day during the last 2 weeks. Once labor begins, I am there from the moment I am called. If it is an induction, I am there from the moment it is started unless you request otherwise. I help your husband, while you are in labor, to do whatever is needed to provide you with support. If he needs a break for some reason, I will take over, if he needs food or drink, I will get that for him if he wishes to stay by your side. Once the baby is born, I will excuse myself for a bit so family bonding can begin, then after a bit I come back in and help with breastfeeding. Usually I stay for a few hours after the birth to make sure breastfeeding is established, then I make a quick visit the following day, if allowed, to check in and answer any questions. In the week following, I will call to stop by your home for a bit to go over your birth with you as some of the information may not be what you remember, help with breastfeeding, answer question,... Soon after that, you will receive a birth story in the mail about your child's birth for you to keep with his or her special memories.

Most doulas should do very similar work. Just make sure that it "feels right" between that doula and your family. No matter what birth plan you have decided upon, if things change, your doula will not abandon you. She will stay to the end and support you in any way she can. If for some reason you need a c-section, she can also go with you to help if it is allowed by the doctor and the hospital.

I hope your doula search works well and that your deliver is all that you hope it to be!

1 mom found this helpful

V.J.

answers from Houston on

I had my first two children in hospitals and my last at a birthing center with a mid-wife and doula. They knew what they were doing and my comfort and the baby's safety were most important. I got to sit and lay however I wanted during labor and the doula knew plenty of tricks to help me along the way. Most important, they listened to me, unlike what the do in the hospital, where they just watch what the machines say. It was my best birth ever. My husband actually got to deliver our son and our older two watched their baby brother come into this world. I loved my mid-wife and doula.
V.

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K.H.

answers from Austin on

I LOVE doulas.

I had a doula with my first child (I have 2) and she made all the difference in the world with my labor and delivery. We wanted a doula to be there as an extra help - neither my husband nor I had been through this before and wanted someone there "on our side" through the whole thing who could talk to us, answer our questions, know what we wanted/cared about, etc. We felt it was very important to have her there.

We had a home birth (somewhat by choice, but in essence by circumstance) and our doula arrived first to check on me. My water hadn't broken and my contractions weren't regular... was I really in labor? Our doula convinced us that I was, and we waited for the midwife to arrive to check on my actual progress. My doula helped through those early contractions, helped recognize that I had reached transition and ready to go and that the midwife needed to be there PRONTO! She also helped slow things down until the midwife FINALLY got there. My husband was great, but it was nice to have an extra person around to talk to and keep everyone calm. We absolutely could not have done it without her.

In terms of selecting one, check referrals and talk to those other birth moms at length. Does the doula have a sense of humor? was she prompt to return phone calls? What exactly did she do/ or didn't she do during the labor? Would they use her again? What kinds of labors has she been part of? What problems has she seen? What was the "best" labor she participated in?

I had my choice narrowed down to two, based on referrals and information I'd gathered about their experience. I finally picked the one that I "clicked" with the most - she laughed during the interviews with me and seemed to be at ease. I just liked her better, even though she had a little less experience than the other mom.

I hope this helps, and good luck!
K.

1 mom found this helpful

R.D.

answers from College Station on

Hey, I am a doula and I can tell you that you should mostly expect her to be like a good friend...she should be constantly encouraging you, she should be holding your hand, helping you find good possitions to labor in, she should be breathing with you during contractions when you're having a hard time keeping calm...massaging, just helping you run the marathon in any way she can. Having a doula can really reduce your need more medical interventions, and can shorten your labor time...so, I think (biased) that you've made a great choice. Oh, she should also be supportive of your desires for the birth...if you want an epidural and she is really opposed, that could be a problem, find out before the birth where she stands on this kind of thing...and if she's willing to work with your ideals.

Happy birthing DAY!!!

-R.

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A.L.

answers from Houston on

I have a friend who is a doula. She is also a nurse and lactation specialist. She lives in Houston, probably about 20-30 min. from you. She is very calm, but funny and quirky!
If you'd like her name/number, just email me: [email protected]____.com
Good Luck !

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S.W.

answers from Denver on

Yes, I hired a doula. They are awesome. I would do it again. During the labor and delivery classes I took before our first child was born, they had so many expectations of they husbands. I was thinking, my husband is not a labor coach. Communicate with your doula exactly what type of delivery you want, so she can be your advocate. I have 3 children. The first, I had the epidural and hated it. The second and third I had naturally and loved it. I was much more in control of my own labor.

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A.D.

answers from Houston on

My doula was amazing. Her name is Kimberley Traylor. Her website is www.theirbirthright.org and her email is [email protected]____.com.

I hope this help.

A. Dang

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O.S.

answers from Killeen on

As a doula, I happen to love being at a birth supporting mama. So many women just need the extra support and encouragement. I'm so glad to see that everyone (I didn't see any negative answers) had such a great experience!

Definetely ask for references and referrals. Great sites to find doulas are: www.dona.org, www.cappa.net, www.alldoulas.com, www.birthingfromwithin.com

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C.C.

answers from Austin on

I had my daughter with a doula. She was wonderful. We had a hospital birth at Seton off of 38th. It was a magical experience. I highly recomend having doula. They are trained to be there for you and your husband. The doctor does the actual delivery, but the doula is there to offer support before,durring and after the birth. There are many great doulas in town. Go for it.

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J.L.

answers from Davenport on

Actually 2 of my best friends are doulas. I happened to be close to one of them for my last labor, and loved having the support. having the third party involved helped keep my husband and I focused. Here is an email for my friend in NC. Drop her a note and tell her J. said to ask her what to expect from a doula, if you want. [email protected]____.com

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