“What’s a doula?” And is that different than a midwife?
I get this a lot when I talk about my birth story. So before we get started let’s cover that.
A doula is a super awesome, woman empowering, mom encouraging, healthy birthing superhero!
No? You’re not buying it?
Ok well then seriously a doula is essentially a birth coach. But honestly they are sooo much more!
She is a support system.
She offers advice about birth. She answers your questions.
She comes to your house at 11 pm for your fake contractions that she tried to tell you were fake but you didn’t listen.
And ultimately the right doula will become an incredibly close friend that you will share an inexplicable bond with.
I mean seriously what could bring you closer to someone than them supporting and guiding you through the worst pain of your life? Not Much!
A midwife, on the other hand, is a health care provider and might use a midwife over an OB.
I have given birth three times but only one of my births have I had a doula and it is truly all the difference in the world. So here are my reasons birth is better with a doula.
First of all let’s get right down to the science of it!
According to the American College Of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine the method with the most success at avoiding cesarean births is having a doula present!
The American Pregnancy Association actually says that having a doula present decreases the risk of emergency c-section by as much as 50%, decreases the length of labor by 25%, and requests for epidural by 60%!
Bet ya’ didn’t know that even if you did know what a doula was! When you are being showered with continuous support and love it is just easier to not become utterly exhausted. The mind is an incredibly powerful thing.
Had I not had my doula with me when having my daughter I simply don’t know if I would have had anything left in me by the end of that long 18 hours when it was finally time to push.
You might say well how could it be possible that having a doula would decrease the length of labor?
Well another little fact you may have not known is that epidurals are NOTORIOUS for slowing your labor. Ugh! 2 hours of the worst pain ever or 4 hours of moderate pain? Hmmm.
It’s something to think about.
2. Unmedicated Birth
If you want an unmedicated birth you need a doula! NEED!
Doulas are there to support you through whatever decisions you make but if you are serious about an unmedicated birth find a doula now!
Labor is painful. Unmedicated labor is HELL! I have had three births.
With each birth I have gone in saying I did not want an epidural. The only one that I made it through to the end with no medications was… you guessed it! The birth with my doula!
Unmedicated birth is so painful!
But honestly my unmedicated birth story is my favorite story to tell! No not just my favorite birth story to tell. My favorite story ever!!
I’ve talked a little bit about this before in my post Things To Remember During Labor. I have never been more proud of myself! I have never felt so strong! I’ll pass on having more kids but hey it was still the experience of a lifetime.
My doula knows more about pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding than anyone I have ever known. I might even go so far as to say that no doula would mean no MomforMoms.
She taught me everything I know when it comes to these things!
If I had a question about my back pain she had a remedy. Nausea? She’s there with an essential oil.
Baby won’t latch? She’s got the trick. Human coming out of your vagina? She’s got the pain management skills.
Not only can your doula educate you on the things you want to be educated on but your doula can educate you on the things you had no idea you wanted to be educated on! My doula taught me how I can know when it is time to go to the hospital.
I thought I should just go right when I knew I was in labor. This would have been about 15 hours before I even started pushing had she not talked me down. She taught me how to meditate and cope through my pain.
And most importantly she taught me that I was a strong woman capable of whatever I put my mind to!
4. She Brought Out Another Side Of My Husband
I saved this for last because this is personal to my own experience birthing with a doula. As I have said before on my own blog my husband is military.
He is very rough around the edges. What you see is what you get. If he doesn’t like you you’ll know. If he does like you you might know. Haha.
The point is that affection doesn’t really come easily to him.
Not only was my doula showering me with love and support but she was coaching my husband to shower me with love and support. She took him from rubbing my arm with one finger and saying “It’ll be ok.” To crying with me when I was shedding tears of joy that it was FINALLY time to push!
My husband! Crying! This is something I have seen happen 4 times in 11 years ladies!
He was a rockstar! He was covering me and uncovering me no matter how many times I changed my mind as to what I wanted. He was running his fingers through my hair. Praying with me. Rubbing my arm. Reaffirming my strength.
She brought out the side of him I know is there but only get glimpses of. I am pretty sure that by the end of it all it was more of him and less of her which to me was really beautiful.
Sum It All Up
Those statistics alone were pretty incredible to me. Show of hands who wants their labor shortened by 25%? ME!
Then you add on all the extra awesome and I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t love the idea of having a doula. When you are interviewing doulas ladies make sure you pick someone you really vibe with.
You’ll know almost right away if you have made a connection.
She is out there somewhere you just have to keep looking.
Some insurance companies are even beginning to make the smart move of covering the cost of a doula. It saves them money in the grand scheme of things when they aren’t having to pay for things like inductions, epidurals, or cesareans!
So check with your provider and you may not even have to worry about the costs of hiring a doula out of pocket.
Have You ever hired a doula? Did you make it through an unmedicated birth without a doula?
Tell me about your experiences in the comments below. Have a great day moms! Don’t forget to share!