Doulas are becoming increasingly popular as more pregnant women are looking for healthy tips and additional information to find out about a wide range of additional birthing process. Finding out how a doula can assist you in your pregnancy helps increase demand and leads to more people going into the field. But is a doula right for you? As with any decision, a little information can help you make the best decision for your birth.
So, just what is a doula, anyway? There are two kinds of doula. One lends advice during pregnancy and comes to the hospital to provide continuous labor support. A labor doula can help keep you focused and help relieve pain, especially if you are going for a medication-free birth. She can make sure your birth plan is followed, and provide extra support to your support person, if you have one.
A postpartum doula comes to your home after the baby is born. She helps you and your family adjust to life with a newborn. she can offer advice on newborn care, including breast or bottle feeding, sleep issues and more. A postpartum doula will also offer recovery support to the mother and do small household chores, including cleaning, meal preparation and errands. The difference between a postpartum doula and a nanny for the baby is the focus of care. A nanny takes care of only the children, while a doula cares for the whole family. Some are even available overnight, since nighttime baby care can be particularly taxing.
There are plenty of benefits to hiring a doula, either a labor doula, postpartum doula or both. Studies show that women who have a doula during labor use less pain medication and were less likely to need a cesarean section. While doctors and nurses will be in and out, a doula will stay with you throughout your labor and delivery. A labor doula uses touch and massage to reduce labor pain, and various other soothing methods to decrease anxiety. A postpartum doula lends much-needed support during the hectic early days with a newborn, which is especially useful for families without family nearby. And they don’t just provide support to traditional parents – they are also available to those bringing home a newborn through adoption.
As with any service, there are some drawbacks to hiring a doula. The major drawback is price. A typical labor doula charges anywhere from $300 to $3,500 to attend the birth of your child. A postpartum doula charges anywhere from $15 to $50 an hour. Many doulas will work with you to work out a payment plan or sliding scale based on income. If money is really tight and you don’t mind working with a newbie, students still training to be doulas offer their services for free or at a steeply reduced cost.
Another drawback is the simple fact that a person who is basically a stranger will see you in a very physically intense, emotional experience. Some people can handle doctors and nurses in this situation, but balk at the idea of a “layperson”. While a doula has been through training, she is not a medical professional. The idea of a doula just isn’t for everybody.
You could also end up with a doula you don’t like. The key to hiring a doula of either kind is to interview several and take the time to get to know each one. This is a person who will see you at your worst, so you need to trust her. be sure her labor or baby care philosophy matches yours so you do not experience any late-hour pressure to try to get you to choose her way. A doula is a great asset to those who do well with that kind of support, but they are not for everyone. If you do not have a doula, try to line up support of some kind, whether it is a partner, a family member, a friend or a neighbor.