Do you really know what a doula does?
Being a doula for over 10 years and participating in more Baby Shows than I can count, I have encountered first hand that most people don’t know what doulas do. If someone has heard of doulas, they usually have heard ‘rumors’ and not accurate information. Let me clear up a few of the more common misconseptions.
1: Doulas take the place of partners.
Many partners will say ‘What about me? I thought I was going to be there to support you?’ An experienced doula knows how to encourage the partner to be as involved as they want to be. For some it is very hands on and for others it is a bit more distant. Prenatal meetings with the doula help to discuss the wishes of everyone involved. Most partners after working with a doula say they were able to be a lot more involved than they thought and felt more relaxed about the whole experience.
2: Only hire a doula if you plan to have to have an unmedicated birth.
A birth is a birth however baby decides to come. It is important that everyone supporting the labouring mom be open to any and all interventions that may be necessary. An experienced doula understands this as well and can support you before during and after any medical interventions. One of the main things a doula does is provide information. It is important for families to feel well informed in order to make decisions that feel right to them.
3: Once a mom has an epidural, there is nothing for the doula to do.
Epidurals can be a great tool to help mom mange the labour contractions but the birth is not done yet. There are a lot of medical things going on that a doula can clarify for the new family. It is also extremely helpful to have a doula if the anesthesiologist is delayed or for some reason there is still discomfort after it is administered. A doula works with the medical staff to coach with the pushing stage and assist with breastfeeding if desired.
4: Midwives and doulas are the same thing.
Midwives take the place of the doctor and nurse at a birth whereas a doula works with the caregiver. The doula provides the emotional and physical support that the medical professionals have a hard time doing.
5: Doulas are hippies that burn incense, beat drums and chant.
I know this sounds funny but there are a lot of people who believe this. Most doulas are normal people who just want to make the world a better place, one birth at a time. Many doulas believe that our society has created a lot of fear surrounding birth and with a bit more information and support, families can feel more confident about their baby’s birth.
So there you have it. If you are expecting, know someone who is expecting or even might be practicing at this very moment, ask them if they know what a doula is. It doesn’t matter what the answer is-send them to our website! We include a free interview with each family to help give them right information so they can decide if it’s right for them.