You’ve probably heard many moms talk about how they couldn’t have given birth without a doula. While others swear that a postpartum doula was their saving grace, during those first couple of weeks. Between their rave reviews and the pricey investment, you might be feeling confused on what to do. Now that it’s your turn to have a baby, should you get a doula, too?
Before we breakdown all the Pros and cons of having a doula, I want you to know that what I’m about to share is the list that I made while I was pregnant. This helped me to decided that I did NOT need a doula. With this being said, I would definitely consider having one in the future depending on how my pregnancies go.
I hope that this list helps you to make a decision that is right for you, your baby, and your family! I believe that each mom, pregnancy, and birth will be drastically different. So when you are going through this list, I encourage you to start making a pros and cons list for yourself. Something that I feel is a con could be the reason you SHOULD get a doula!
We will talk about this a bit later, but make sure to be praying about whether or not you need a doula! In the meantime, I actually created some (free) pregnancy prayer cards that you can begin to pray over your growing little one. I hope you enjoy these 🙂
Did you Know there are Two Different Types of Doulas?
Before we start chatting about the pros and cons of hiring a doula, I want you to know there are Labor/Birth and Postpartum Doulas. I assumed there were only labor and birth doulas andhad no idea that there were professionals out there who would help you through those early days!
Here is a little snipet about what each of these doulas do, this in itself might help you to make a decision.
Labor + Birth Doula
According to DONA, the Doula Organization of North America, a doula is described as “a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to a mother before, during, and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.” In other words, a doula guides you through your birthing experience, providing support, advice, and information along the way.
Many people confuse doulas and midwives, but they are actually very different. While both do require certification and special training, midwives are an actual healthcare provider who have medical training to deliver your baby, while doulas are trained as a support system to mentally help you through it.
They are most well known for helping moms to manage pain naturally. If you are going for an unmedicated birth, they have all the tools to help you!
A postpartum doula is a trained professional who assists mother and their families for the first few weeks after birth. They typically are there to help you transition into motherhood. These women offer support with breastfeeding, along with both emotional and physical help.
Surprisingly, postpartum doulas do a lot! They will help out with siblings, cook meals, do laundry, help you with bonding with your new baby and so much more!
Check out EVERYTHING you need to know about Postpartum Doulas here!
Pros + Cons of having a Doula
I’m really going to focus on having a doula for labor and birth! I think most pregnant moms struggle the most with deciding whether or not you will need one.
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Pros of Having a Doula for Labor + Birth
1. They Support YOU
Whether you choose to have an at-home birth or a birth in a hospital, doulas are your support system. They are your advocate when you don’t have the energy to speak up, and they are your confidant when you feel like no one understands.
Here are some other ways they support you throughout your journey to being a mama…
- Support During Pregnancy
Because doulas have a lot of experience with mothers and moms-to-be, they are your support throughout your pregnancy in the form of offering advice, asking questions and more. Most importantly, during your pregnancy, your doula will support you by helping you develop a birthing plan.
No matter where and how you want to deliver your baby, your doula is there to be a sounding board to talk through all the small details of your birth plan, while fielding any questions about your experiences during your pregnancy.
- Support During Delivery
While doulas are a great source of support during your pregnancy, their true importance shines during delivery. As stated above, doulas are your advocate when you are in labor. They help your spouse and offer guidance on how he can best support you. Doulas speak up when they know you are in need of something. They motivate you when you are in the throws of intense contractions.
Doulas work with everyone (doctors, nurses, your family, and you) to make sure that your delivery is one that brings joy and that you have the most positive birth possible.
- Support During Postpartum
Doulas are even with you throughout those hard times as a new mom. While they support you emotionally, they also are a vast source of knowledge and information when it comes to all things recovery and nursing.
Postpartum doulas even go as far to provide physical support to you during those long days by helping you around the house, bringing meals, and anything else you may need to make your postpartum experience a little easier. Isn’t that amazing?
2. It May Help Lower Anxiety about Birth
Because you have this amazing support system by your side, you will be able to feel more comfortable and relaxed about your birth and what’s ahead. By having someone with you every step of the way that is experienced, brings a level of comfort and peace to the room.
If you previously had a traumatic birth experience or really want a natural and unmedicated birth, a doula will help you to work through your worries. Their goal is to give you a positive birth experience!
3. Allow Partner to Focus on You
When having a baby, there is a lot going on…. especially during tranistion. Some husband’s have a hard time seeing you in pain, and he can oftentimes feel helpless, not knowing what to do. By having a doula by your side, they are the expert for support.
Doulas can help your partner to get involved and actually help you give birth. Because of this, your partner will feel more at ease and comfortable, thus focusing on the amazing miracle that is taking place right before their eyes!
4. They Have a Good Understanding of Labor + Birth
Most doulas have been through a LOT of labors and births, so they have a good idea of what to expect and do when the unexpected arises. This doesn’t mean all do though, keep in mind you will want to find someone who has been doing this for a while.
I think that having a support person who isn’t a medical professional can sometimes help you to see the bigger picture. During labor, nurses, midwives, and doctors, tend to use big words, which can be confusing causing you to make a decision you may regret. Doulas will be there to help you sort through your options!
5. Known to DECREASE Your Chances of Interventions
This was a HUGE pro when I was deciding on whether or not to hire a doula. I desperately wanted a natural birth, but since I was a first time mom, I didn’t know what to expect. I was worried that my midwife or nurses my push me into interventions that I wasn’t comfortable with.
A doula will help you to have the space to make the decision. They will be your voice if you are afraid to speak up!
According to the ACOG, they believe the doulas help to decrease your chances of needing interventions.
6. Typically Have a Natural Approach
Again if you are planning to go unmediated, you will need to think about and plan for some natural pain management. A doula will help you with pin-pointing what you need because they have a lot of tools in their bag!
They are usually going to look for natural ways to help you progress and will be able to give you different things to try. If NOT having an epidural is important to you, a doula will do their best to help you enjoy the process.
I used the Mama Natural Birth Course and felt COMPLETELY prepared! I 100% believe this is why I was able to have a positive unmedicated birth!
Cons of a Doula
Although there are so many reasons that you would benefit from a doula, there are also some things to think about. Consider these cons before hiring a doula because some women do better without them!
1. They are Expensive
Depending on your family’s financial situation and the quality of your health insurance, hiring a doula for your birthing experience may not be feasible. For some women, having a baby alone is quite the financial hurdle with hospital bills alone.
On average, a doula can cost around $1200 with it ranging anywhere between $800-$2500. If this is a priority for your family, you can budget accordingly for when the time comes. While there are so many positives about hiring a doula, the cost is definitely something that you and your spouse will need to take into consideration.
2. Healthcare Providers Usually don’t Love them
Because doulas are a support system, they join the mother wherever she chooses to give birth. While doulas are becoming more and more popular, there are still some healthcare providers out there that are hesitant to work with doulas.
If you are thinking about hiring a doula, be sure to make sure that you have a healthcare provider who sees the value of a doula. This can make all of the difference in making sure that you have the amazing birthing experience that you deserve!
3. Too Many Different Opinions
I don’t like getting too many different opinions on something. It makes me feel overwhelmed! Some doulas have a good heart and want you to feel empowered with knowledge, but sometimes we need to just trust our gut…. especially if you have a strong support system.
4. They Might Get in the Way
This was the #1 reason I opted to give birth without a doula. My husband really wanted to be there to support me through birth. I knew that when I was in pain, I would only want him too.
I worried that this experience wouldn’t be about my husband and I becoming parents together and instead being about the doula.
5. Your L+D Nurse is there for Support
Obviously, you have NO idea who your nurse (or nurses) will be during labor, but they went to school to support you. They know everything and are update with what you need to know during labor. Lean on them with questions that you have!
Personally during my labor, my nurses were very kind and constantly asked if I needed anything. BUT they didn’t really support me in having a natural birth. They would ask when I was ready for the epidural, since that’s typically what they deal with.
6. You could Hire the WRONG Person
On paper this doula may be PERFECT for you. Maybe they even had hundreds of five star reviews, but you just don’t gel with her. Sometimes a doula seems great, but once they get into the chaos of birth they feel like they are in the way.
To ensure this DOESN’T happen, make sure you interview them and ask a lot of questions about their approach to labor and birth!
VERDICT – Should You Get a Doula?
So, now that we’ve explored what a doula is, the benefits, and the potential drawbacks, the question remains…Should you get a doula?
In all honesty, every mama is different. Every mama has family situations, financial situations, and pregnancy experiences that could affect the answer to this question.
Some moms may not feel comfortable having someone other than family in the room at their child’s birth while others may welcome this. Some moms may have a hard time opening up while others may not.
At the end of the day, if you have a lot of anxiety and worry about your birth and you would really benefit from having an expert guide you through the whole process, then go for it!
Talk with your spouse, pray about it, and look into it. If you feel it is right and you feel it is something that you can afford, then you should definitely pursue it!
Doulas bring a great number of benefits for mamas. Having someone with you from your pregnancy to the tough weeks of postpartum recovery can bring quite a bit of peace of mind! We know that making decisions, like whether or not you should get a doula, can be so overwhelming at times, and we hope and pray that this article helped you and provided you with the information that you needed!
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