Should You Use A Doula

My first delivery was not typical. It was not typical for a few different reasons. 1) I was in labor for 43hours 2) there were no nurses dedicated to me due to 3 area hospitals being on divert 3) there were times when I was surrounded by upwards of 10 people (half of them under the age of 5) and times where my “labor partners” were all asleep and I was utterly alone. I know that this experience is
without question going to be different the second time around, regardless of whether I use a Doula- but, I have met with two so far and have learned a lot and thought that I would share.

The first thing that I learned is that Doula’s are not there to REPLACE your labor partners, but to help guide and direct them in order to be able to provide you with the best support. One of my biggest fears in seeking out a Doula was that my Husband or my Mom was going to feel like I was trying to exclude them from the experience, which is definitely not my intention. The Doula’s I met with have assured me that they are there to not only make my labor partners more of “active participants” but ensure that they too are being taken care of. I really liked that idea.

Another thing I learned was that Doula’s are potentially covered under “massage therapy” by some insurance providers. This through me for a loop. Massage therapy? But- I learned that the schooling required for becoming a Doula is similar to the education path for massage therapists, and just has some extra training and coursework required after that. Almost like an “additional certification”. My husband has great insurance that covers both massage and chiropractic care at 80%, so my fear of spending a bunch of extra money when childbirth is already astronomical was definitely squelched.

I was also originally under the impression that Doula’s were either only for people planning an all natural birth, or at the very least would pressure you via “you can do it’s” to not use drugs during labor. I learned that Doula’s can in fact administer some pain reducing drugs during labor and do so often. Obviously, an epidural is done by an anesthesiologist, but they are not discouraged by Doula’s. During
my first labor, I had my epidural fall out and this was not caught for over 4 hours. This meant that I had to labor down at 10 centimeters without drugs and BARELY got the second one in in time. A Doula would have been monitoring my epidural and consistently assessing my pain level, and thus that situation would have been much less of a close call.

I haven’t completely decided yet whether or not I am for sure going to be using a Doula, but what I do know is that I have learned a lot about the option that I would have never known. I think the biggest thing that I have learned is that exploring every option available to you during labor can bring a level of peace and discernment to the process. Go into it both knowing how you want labor to look for you, but also understanding that the baby dictates how and when he comes. A loose grip on the process is the always the best for everyone.

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