My Doula Dilemma

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When I think in my head of how in a perfect world, I’d like my labor to go I imagine no pain, my husband and I in a dim room with my OB and nurses, and us anxiously awaiting the arrival of our little Spawnie. My husband and I will be trained in Lamaze, or Hypnobabies/birthing and working together to get out little one out safe and sound. A beautiful experience shared with the two of us. No family in the room, no friends, just us.

I know I’m only 14 weeks pregnant but I figure I’m in my 2nd trimester, and being the “thinking ahead” person that I tend to think I am I’m already starting to think about labor and delivery (heck I’ve been thinking about it since before I was pregnant. I have a labor fascination). There’s a lot of decisions we’re trying to budget and plan for now, and I want this to be one of them.

Initially, I was thinking I’d like to try a “natural” unmediated delivery and do whatever it took to empower me to withstand the epidural. I knew if I went through labor this way I’d really want the support of my husband, but additionally, probably a doula who can help with pressure points, and positioning during hard active labor. Doula: Physical and mental supporter before during and after labor to assist the mother and her partner. (They are NOT responsible for delivering your baby.)

I’ve really heard nothing but good things about doula’s. A friend of mine who’s mom is no longer living hired a doula got after birth and said it was like having a mom that she didn’t have around. Another one of my friends recently had a natural childbirth at a hospital and had two doulas she loved as well as a supportive husband. Reading about her experience was amazing. I told my husband about the experience… How my friend’s doula cooked her and her husband omelets during early labor, how she went on walks with her, and helped her and helped her husband help her every step of the way. My husband, while slightly amused, didn’t bite.

He had a few arguments I tried to take into consideration: 1. Doulas are for rich people. 2. I want to help, I want to be your doula (or my “dulla oblongata,” as he jokes).

The first argument, while I can see his point isn’t necessarily true. To him, if we can make it through labor like many of our family and friends have without one, why spend the money? “Having someone you pay there to help is something rich people do.” Well… Many doula’s I’ve found in my area don’t have rates on their sites because they work with people to set the right price on an individual basis. Most I’ve found prices for seem to range from the $200-$1500s but I hear some are in the $2000s, depending on location, experience, services, etc. Most of my friends seem to either have a friend and get one for free, or paid about $300-$600. Everyone has said it’s worth every penny.

Now, looking at those numbers my husband says no way. He’s rather use that money on things for the baby, or classes, books and material we can take together to be prepared for labor. But I heard you can get doula’s who are getting certified and need live births to help you for free! I wrote to my local DONA lady to get the list of women in my area who will be certifying over the next year so I can contact them about helping me out. I told my husband this and he was a little hurt that I was so insistent on this. Which brings me to the next point… Him wanting to help.

I’ve read great articles and posts here and there about doula’s helping husbands know how to help their wives, but he really wants to be the primary support. He really hasn’t had a strong opinion about too many things in this pregnancy process unless I pry, so having him out and tell me how he really feels about it made me think again. He told me he wants to take classes with me and learn how to help me through it, but he doesn’t want someone with us 24/7 and “taking his place.” I can even picture him shying away because there’s an extra woman there, and not wanting to help as much… If I had other help. I know nurses and OBs come and go, but from my understanding you’re alone most of the time until the end, under normal conditions. Then, I thought more about my labor situation and what I wanted out of it.
As usual, I did some more research, and really thought about why I wanted a natural labor… Then thought more about it realized an unmedicated birth not what I want. I am so inspired when I read the birth stories of friends and women who have done it, and I hear so many encouraging words that I too should do it, but it’s just not what I want for me. If I tried it it wouldn’t be wholeheartedly and with something like that I HAVE to go into it wholeheartedly… Go big or go home. And for me… I’m ending that game a little early. Of course if our training in Lamaze and/or hypnobirthing helps and the pain is tolerable, I won’t get an unnecessary epidural, but I’m NOT afraid to get one either. I’ve read the risks… And I’m willing to take them (don’t judge).

So… Then came the question of a doula again. Most often you seem them helping in the case of natural labors. I’m going into it knowing that’s not that I want. Most of the doula’s I read about are all there to support the woman and her decisions (they aren’t medical doctors or midwives and don’t deliver babies) but most of the bios I read are tailored towards homebirth, birth centers, or natural births. After finding a few doulas who make it pass your initial paper screening, you’re suppose to set up interview and find the perfect match. Looking at my “free list” is a little daunting, looking at my “will charge me” list is intimidating because I don’t want to waste my time if we decide not to do it.

Right now I’m thinking two things but I’m leaning towards the second:
1. Interview one or two doula’s with my husband. Pre-screen her before couple interview and prep her about my husband’s non-eagerness to have one beforehand, make sure she pumps up her services in front of him, and make sure her prices is low enough so hubby is more likely to agree. Also, make sure she’s VERY husband friendly and puts a lot of responsibility on him so he doesn’t feel replaced. Find a doula I like who is pro-epidural and preferably someone I/we meet in a childbirth class that maybe we’re more acquainted with and it’s not a “cold call”… Some arranging may need to be done to complete this task.

2. Find Lamaze ($20 and up) and/or Hypnobabies ($150)/ hypnobirthing ($300) classes, courses and materials around here and study up together… Make the next 6.5 months of our pregnancy about preparing for the next best day of our lives and live up the fact that we’re doing it “alone.” If we crash and burn… I can always say “I told you so” and we’ll hire a doula next time.

So, like I said I’m leaning towards #2 but I can still be persuaded. I’m so excited for the day Spawnie arrives and I’d love to have the epidural work right, a dim-lit room, and us hand in hand as I push the baby out of my vajayjay. That’s my dream as of now (it’s changed a few times) but I also understand things can change any time. I know passionate people who plan elaborate births and have things change… In fact, plans change for a LOT of people. But as of now, this is a blueprint for some of my plans, and I hope to follow through, and end up with a fun birth experience, and most of importantly to me, a healthy little mini-us!

As far as postpardum doula’s go, I think we’ll be good in that department with our moms and my lactation consultant I get to hire thanks to my awesome insurance!

Now, tell me! Did you have a doula? Why or why not? Was your husband supportive? Why or why not? I know A LOT of doula advocates but I’d love to hear from both sides! And for a quick visual, vote in my poll below!


Lucky Parazul bag winner says *drumroll please* #31!

FadHamburger said… 31

I subscribed to your email thingy :).

December 18, 2009 5:19 PM

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  1. Great post. I really need a doula for support so I am trying to find the most cost effective route. I will contact a local doula training/workshop to see if the trainer can give me a list. The first is a little nerve racking and I have a wonderful midwife but I am hoping I can labor at home as much as possible and all I really need is a labor doula. I have a GREAT deal of postpartum support.

    I’ll let you know how my search goes and I will do the same. Seeing as my due date is much sooner I plan on giving you all the gritty doula details πŸ™‚

  2. My husband was a great support to me before I went under for my c-section, and he’s learned more about handling doctors since we first started dating (having Marfan syndrome and an MPH, patient advocacy is my passion), but he was still at a loss for advocating for me and the baby postpartum. My c-section finished up in the early evening and I was not awake till 10 at night and I had no baby and no clue what was going on, and neither did he because he had been shuttled around.

    While I don’t think I’ll get a labor (?) doula next time around, since I just have a c-section under general anesthesia so there’s no labor to speak of, I definitely want to get a post-partum doula. Maybe that is where you can compromise with your husband. I’d like a doula to be at the hospital after I’d had my c-section to make sure that my and my baby’s best interests are being advocated for and to help me with breastfeeding. I think that will be a great help and give my husband a chance to relax and bond with the baby.

  3. Ok it won’t let me vote. I’ve never had a doula. My friend recently had her 2nd with a doula. Her first is 6 years old so it was a new game again. Her husband was similar to yours. but she found one that would work with her on payment. You know his issues with a doula and now you have to find one (if you really want one) that will do that. Write your expectations down of what you want from a doula. Their job is to be exactly that! If you want someone that will step back and only step up when DH needs to rest, do it! A doula will tell your DH that she is not there to be your primary support person. She could be there to tell the nurses and drs what is needed and take care of all the other stuff so that DH can be there for you instead. In my opinion, it would be GREAT to have someone like that for a first time parent. You can still do the classes and enjoy the pregnancy and the big day together. πŸ™‚

  4. There is a bargain-basement option, finding a doula trainee that can be as cheap as free. A girlfriend of mine just did DONA training to be my doula and before she is certified she needs to attend 4 homebirths. In that phase of attending 4 homebirths some doula trainees are willing to volunteer or do it dirt cheap. In my community where doulas are aplenty you can usually find a volunteer but you trade off experience. Just an idea. In my case I am paying for half of my friend’s/doula’s training weekend.

  5. My husband was definitely on board with having a doula, after we met with one and she assured him that she was not his replacement, rather she would be his guide. The second I went into labor, my husband was nervous and did not like seeing me in pain, but the doula was able to help him to help me. And because I went into labor at 6pm after he’d worked all day long, he was also able to get a little bit of sleep that night because the doula was with me while I labored! Even with an epidural, a doula will still be able to help during the pushing stage of labor, plus afterward. My husband had no idea what to do for me once labor began, so having a doula was a lifesaver for us.
    Oh, and tell your husband we’re both school teachers, so we are definitely far from rich.;)

  6. Also, you might want to mention to a prospective doula that although you can’t really budget paying right now, you could definitely give her publicity through your blog for others in your area searching for a doula!

  7. I think it’s extremely important for women to have a doula even if they can’t “afford” it. Something I tell my clients is to calculate how much they spend on clothes each year or shoes or eating out…all those little luxuries that if saved up, could help go towards hiring a doula. I don’t want to sound judgmental or diminish anyone’s reasons for spending their money how they choose, it just helps put things in perspective.

    In the end, a doula could help save money, by helping prevent unnecessary interventions, which may not be completely covered by insurance. If you think about it that way, a doula is priceless.

    While I truly believe that it is important for partners/husbands to be present & involved, a doula can be more objective and can help in stressful or scary situations whereas a husband may himself be too scared or nervous to think clearly.

    I think it is a good idea to look around for women who are in the process of getting their certifications and will assist you for free or at a very discounted rate. Other doulas will often barter, trade, or be fairly flexible with their fees if you are in severe financial difficulty.

    As a doula, I would advise not bargaining too strongly. Doulas spend a huge amount of time & effort doing something they love, but it is exhausting work (physically, mentally, & emotionally)…if someone bargains too hard, they may not feel appreciated or valued and may decline your business all together.

    That’s just my 2 cents. I hope it helps!! Good luck with everything!!

  8. I did have a doula – two actually. See, I did go the unmedicated in a birthing center route and I decided to bring Big Brother with me. The birth center insisted that I have an extra adult to help with him when necessary. So, I called the local Doula’s and had them give me the certifying list and had one of them come to be with him. She, however, was young and her mom who was a full doula decided to come for free. And in the end her mom was helpful. She was encouraging.

    Admitedly I did find them annoying at times when I wanted to be alone. It was a wash. If the birthing center had not insisted on it I would not have had them and things would have been just as wonderful. If I get pregnant again I will have the younger one back to look after the kids – I will not pay for someone to be there. But I sort of wish that was not necessary. My husband was my number one support person.

  9. My husband actually wanted me to get a doula and I refused! But we had our daughter at a free-standing birth center, so I was going all natural and he thought I would need a doula to help with the pain. But we decided to go with the Bradley Method, where your husband is basically your coach and then I would not need a doula, he was my support. If your planning on having an epidural, I really don’t see the point in getting a doula, but again, I have never had a doula or a hospital birth so I’m not sure how important they can be in those situations. But I do know if I was gonna to have an all natural birth in a hospital setting, I would FOR SURE get a doula to help me keep my birth plan and fight off unnecessary interventions.

  10. Great post. Sounds like you have your mind made up on what you want to do. This may stir up a lot of things for people, but I feel like if you have a strong, solid relationship with your husband, why not just have him as your ‘doula.’ My husband was wonderful with me and cooked for me whenever I needed/wanted him to. Massaged me when needed, etc. I realize you would get to know this person, but they would still somewhat be a stranger when you could have your baby’s father with you and no one else. I see where you are coming from, don’t get me wrong. I guess I just don’t really understand it.

  11. I didn’t have a doula. We went to Lamaze class. Lamaze included massage lessons for the dads to use on the moms. I bought a birthing ball.

    Once I went into labor, I didn’t want anyone talking to me or touching me, so all of that Lamaze/massage stuff we’d been working on went out the window. I got an epidural, and I could have kissed the anesthesiologist.

    This talk of postpartum doulas intrigues me. If I’d had one of those, my recovery might not have been so horrible. (My tear didn’t heal properly, and it had to be re-opened. I sat on a donut pillow for three months because I still hurt down there. This is NOT a common occurance, so don’t worry!) She might have also helped me identify that I had PPD. Hindsight is 20/20, though, right?

  12. I didn’t have a doula. We wouldn’t have been able to afford one, honestly. But my advice is that you both need to be on board. If your husband doesn’t want a doula, you need to ask what is more important: having a doula (which really isn’t a necessity, although, I’m sure, very nice) and your husband being uncomfortable or feeling not useful or having your husband be your primary support (as he is – or should be – in the rest of your life. If my husband wasn’t 100% committed to a doctor I had or a doula or anything else, I wasn’t going to do it.

  13. Hi there! What a great post. Your husband sounds fantastic and I think IS going to make a great partner/coach in the birthing process. I have two little girls. I gave birth to them both in the hospital. My husband was by my side the entire time. And their were also the labor/delivery nurse and the hospital provided a midwife. I never felt alone. Actually I felt very supported by the hospital and my husband.

    But I think the one thing I have learned with labor/delivery and pretty much everything parenting is it never goes as planned.. I think it is important to be prepared and educate yourself however know that things can change at any moment and most of the time (at least in my case) the books were always wrong ;).

    But good luck and I look forward to following your progress. Tammy

  14. I didn’t have a doula. I didn’t take any classes either. I think if you’re the type of person who needs to have something demonstrated to you, I’d look into some classes. Have you explored the Bradley method? This way your husband would be your support during labor. Here’s a link to a list of teachers in Texas:

    As far as my labor experience goes, I had it all planned out. I really don’t think you can prepare for it at all. You won’t know what kind of nurses you’ll get, if your labor won’t progress, or if you’ll just want to be left alone for most of it. It’s an extremely emotional experience with a fantastic outcome: your baby. I personally thought classes may be a waste of money. I figured it’d be better spent on frivolous baby stuff. Trust your body, but make sure your husband is your voice in the hospital.

  15. If you ask a doula, she’ll tell you that there are benefits to having a doula even with an epidural, even at a homebirth, even if ______ (whatever reason you think you don’t need one). I think they are probably right, there are benefits to having the RIGHT doula no matter who or where you are or what kind of birth you have. (One thing I’ve heard is that labors with doulas are usually shorter and with fewer complications, regardless of medication/baby size/anything else.)
    With that said, I don’t think that means that you NEED one. I think there are certain situations in which a doula makes a world of difference, and other situations in which the benefits would be much smaller.

    I have heard that lamaze isn’t much help, just FYI. Some people love the hypno methods, my sister said it didn’t do her any good. I prefer the ‘bag of tricks’ notion, study a lot of methods (I did this via reading the books rather than spending a fortune on classes), and have a whole list of options available, because what works for one woman may not work so well for another.

  16. I had a doula for my first birth–I am glad I had a doula, but in retrospect really wished I’d had someone different. We chose her based on her many years of experience, but in the long run our personalities did not mesh well at all, and actually I found her quite annoying during much of labor. Oops!! She was helpful for getting me to breathe more effectively (I was getting oxygen deprived because I was breathing too slowly in my efforts to relax LOL), and she was helpful for positioning and things like that…but just her personality and how she did things bugged me. So having the wrong doula (regardless of their experience, or how many recommendations they have, or what they cost) is not helpful. In my experience, having personalities that mesh–someone who could be your best girl friend–is far more important than how many births she’s attended.

    For my second birth I did not have a doula…and did not feel that anything was lacking. I had prepared for that birth in a very different way though, and I think that made a big difference too. I spent my pregnancy getting in touch with myself and my body, and so rather than needing attendants/support people to tell me what to do or how to do it, during that labor I was able to just listen to my body and follow what it told me, and it was thrilling and empowering in a whole other way. If you’re thinking you’d like to go with a medicated labor then your communication process with your body will be different than my (unmedicated) labor was, but I think it still really pays to get in touch with your body.

    Also, as I have mentioned before, PLEASE do at least some prep for an unmedicated labor, because sometimes the epidural doesn’t work, or only partly works, or wears off before the end, or it’s too early (or too late) to get it when you arrive at the hospital…I can’t tell you how many women I’ve known who planned for the epidural but still really needed to be able to handle labor without it for at least part of the time.

    In regards to what a doula does when you have a supportive husband there: she can direct him in how to better help you (pressure points, massage techniques, etc), and she can give him a break (if you can’t stand to be without pressure on your back and his hands are sore or he needs to go to the bathroom or get some food).
    Some husbands don’t feel comfortable being involved, and some husbands are just not very helpful (even though they want to help). Some women feel better about having a female support person–someone who has ‘been there done that’ with labor. My husband was present and supportive, and it sounds like your husband will be too, so you may be one of those people who would only get minimal benefit from a doula. For me all I wanted was my husband, even when my doula was there. That was the main reason I opted to not have a doula the second time–it wasn’t because I was having a midwife, or a homebirth, or because I’d done it before…it was because the first time all I’d wanted was my husband. πŸ™‚

  17. I definitely urge you to read the book Pushed, the painful truth about childbirth and modern maternity care.
    Childbirth is painful no matter what, INDUCED labor is incredibly painful and compared to torture without a epidural.
    Humans and other mammals are supposed to be able to move about during labor to help the child and prevent tears. I don’t judge you for choosing what you do because we all try and roll with the punches and find what works best for us.
    Doulas are great advocates for these reasons and help empower you as a woman to have the birth you want.

  18. I didn’t have a doula for my first labor this summer.

    I thought it would be really nice, but in the end, the nurse was also a big coach, too.

    The epi didn’t work. Or, it worked from like midnight til three AM, but the baby was born at 11 AM, so that was no fun!

    I actually didn’t realize I was in labor to use the breathing and the relaxation techniques because it HURT SO MUCH. Mostly I directed my anger towards the MIA anaesthes. doctor… every two or three minutes between contractions!

  19. I’ve never had a doula (even though my good friend is one). Just having my hubby in the room with me was good enough πŸ™‚ He was very supportive, and I had an awesome doctor!

    Happy Holidays! Following from MBC! I’d love for you to come visit me!


  20. I did not have a doula and I wish I had had one. My husband was very much against having a doula for the exact same reasons your husband specified. He felt having a doula would intrude on his role as the father and that he was all the support I needed. No matter how much our childbirth educator (a doula) or I explained to him that this was not the case, he remained unconvinced. I wish I would have gone with what I wanted, because I think having a doula might have helped me avoid my C-Section. His wishes are important and worth considering, but *I* was the one actually having the baby!

    I would still get a doula even if I was getting an epi. A doula could help explain what’s going on to you and make suggestions that could help if labor is not going the way you planned. My baby wasn’t descending and a doula would have suggested positions I could try to help the baby move even though I had an epidural at that point.

    Oh, and if you take HypnoBabies classes instead of the home study course your instructor will probably be a HypnoDoula! All of the instructors in my city did both. It might help convince hubby if he already “knows” the woman.

  21. I had a doula for my second child and went natural both times. The first time, I had no clue what labor was going to feel like and as time went on the contractions got worse and by the time I felt it was completely unbearable the time had passed that I was eligible to get the epidural anyway! The doula the second time around was a woman I trusted and so I was comfortable and she gave me space when it was needed and she really kept the room calm. Between my husband, my mom and her I was on easy street.

    My best, Lynn
    *You BOTH will know what is best for your situation. Some doulas can get too handsy and a bit bossy to the husbands I’ve heard though too. Get someone who is super flexible. Oh and I heard that new doulas starting out can’t charge a patient, so if you find a doula who is looking to get certified and getting her free labors in – you can so score a free doula!

  22. Hypnobabies/Hynobirthing is an extremely amazing technique. I used it with my last birth and was able to sleep til 8 cm without any pain, and then when I was in active labor, the pressure waves were always bearable.

    Here is my baby’s birth story using hynobabies:

    You can also check earlier posts to read as I “practiced” my hypnobirthing. It’s a program that empowers you and your husband, giving you a great deal of information and insight into childbirth.

    I must admit, I didnt think my birth experience would be as peaceful as it was, but, honestly, I had trained myself to believe that I could have the beautiful birth that I’d hoped for.

    I applaud your husband for wanting to be your rock, your partner, the only one you need to bring little Spawnie into this world, and yet I understand your desire to seek out a trained professional for help, but try to put more faith in your husband’s ability to get you through this.

    I had a midwife, midwife in training, or some may say doula, and my husband at my birth and when it came down to it, they were present with encouragement and love, but overall, I focused on the moment and brought my baby into the world.

    Lastly, I am so proud of you for planning all this ahead of time. What a great gift to give your family. You’ll make the right decision, and I look forward to reading all about it. πŸ™‚

  23. Giving birth helped me to realize that even the most organized person and the greatest planner can not prepare for labour and delivery. Things happen the way they happen, regardless of how much you plan. I’m glad I took the laid back approach when it came to the labour and delivery of my daughter, that way I was not disappointed if things didn’t go my way.

    I never planned for a natural, unmedicated birth, but I had one. There was no time for an epidural because things progressed too quickly. My husband and the nurses did a fabulous job of telling me what to do and getting the baby out. She was born healthy and that was all that mattered to me.

    I think it is wonderful to educate yourself, but try not to get too caught up in an actual plan, so as not to disappoint yourself if things go differently.

  24. I never had a doula. When our first child was born, my aunt was in the room with us, just because I really wanted a mom figure there. I was 19 though, so incredibly nervous and scared. With my other two children, it was just my husband and I, and I realized I really preferred it that way. He was an amazing support, giving me words of encouragement, drinks of water…Whatever I needed, he was there, 100%. We spent time in our labor room alone until the time came for me to push. It was nice, just us.

  25. I’m with your husband. I think they’re for rich people and are totally unnecessary. If you’re wanting to have a natural birth without an epidural, why not go all natural and do it yourself with the help of your husband? It was hard enough with multiple nurses and my husband, I would have lost my mind with yet another person in the room. That’s just my opinion.

  26. I’ve never had a doula. Our oldest is 22 & I had never heard of doulas until very recently. Hubby & I took Lamaze classes while I was pregnant with him & those techniques have worked for all 5 of our natural births. #6 was a planned c-section because she was 10lbs & footling breach.

    I would caution you against the epidural, mainly because with natural birth I was always up & moving within 10 to 15 minutes feeling better than I had in months, but with the epidural for my c-section I had to have a catheter & wasn’t able to get out of bed for HOURS. I didn’t have any complications from the epidural, but I will never have another one willingly….if you are a control freak, natural birth is totally the way to be in CONTROL!

    My husband is fabulous during labor, he knows me & he knows what I like & don’t like without me needing to say anything. I also think that each birth experience has made us that much more of a team.

  27. Hubby and I took childbirth classes and he had really strong feelings that he wanted it to be just us. I considered hiring a doula, but he prepared himself by taking classes with me and by reading quite a bit, so I felt very confident.

    My mom and sisters showed up at the hospital to wait out the early part of labor and – long story short – my husband ended up being ill and his mom and my mom ended up being there for me during the pushing phase.

    I was really glad our moms were there, but the primary reason I got the epidural was because my husband was too ill to support me the way only he could. Next time I’m looking forward to it really being just us.

    May look into a doula for next time, but now that I’ve labored naturally to 8cm before getting an epidural to combat the pitocin (and was assured by a nurse that I’ll probably be able to go naturally next time) will probably try to do it on our own. I’m more excited for that experience than I am for the pregnancy part!

  28. Great post!! My husband & I learned hypno-birthing techniques together. We attended 2 sessions with a hypnotherapist/Douala and I practiced at home with the CD and my own relaxing music. The breathing/relaxation techniques really helped me to calm down & somewhat control my high blood pressure. I was on bed rest for the last few weeks of my pg for hyper tension. When it came to the day of my daughter was born I was ready. I wasn’t scared, or anxious. I knew what to expect, I knew what I wanted and talked to the nurses. I labored in a chair which was awesome. My husband was an amazing support. He knew the right things to say and do. I was able to relax my way through every contraction and had an amazing birth experience. I had a very short labor – 12 hours – and only pushed for 20 minutes. I contribute this to the fact that I was totally relaxing my body, working with my body not against it. I HIGHLY recommend hypno birthing! Even if you plan to get an epidural these techniques WILL help you to relax and work with your body. The techniques also help after the baby is here. It helped me to relax to breast feed, cope with pain and it helped me to sleep when I had trouble relaxing. Please feel free to ask any questions. I REALLY want to have another baby to experience pregnancy, labor, and delivery again. It was a cinch compared to the first year. Our daughter has been very high maintenance. Sleep deprivation just about kicked my rear. If we do have another I will drive 5 hours to see the same gal, she is amazing. I will ask her to help me learn how to stay a little more relaxed all the time so I don’t feel like I am on edge of needing relief at the peak of the contraction.
    The best advice I have received since becoming a mom is to do what works best for your family. πŸ™‚ Enjoy your pregnancy!!

    dropcqueen at yahoo dot com

  29. Didn’t have a paid doula, but a good friend is a midwife and offered to be at the birth of my children. So I had her in addition to the hospital midwife who was in and out, and also my partner. I had a similar plan to you the first time around (natural would be nice, but I wasn’t averse to having an epi if I couldn’t handle it.)
    Unfortunately, my midwife friend wasn’t able to get there until pushing stage, and therefore wasn’t able to advocate for me. I was handling labour absolutely fine until I hit transition and as most women will tell you, transition is when when you go “omfgIcan’thandleitcan’tdoitanymore$%$^^” and all the best laid plans tend to go out of the window – so it’s really nice if someone can be there for you to coach you through that. My husband was there, but really couldn’t handle seeing me in that degree of pain. I got the epi then, but probably due to the fact that I couldn’t keep still as contrax were happening so hard and fast, they couldn’t get it to work right. So I felt the pain all down one side of my body, and by the time I came to push, it’d stopped working entirely. Also, it made pushing really difficult. If I could go back again I wish I could have had my friend there earlier and to have not had the epi at all, for all the good it did me! But I know people that have had them and LOVED them, so your experience may entirely vary of course! Totally respect your decision to have one having weighed up all the pros and cons.

    The second time though my friend was able to follow me to the hospital and I had an entirely unmedicated waterbirth. Again I lost the plot at transition and started yelling for drugs lol. This time though I had someone there who knew what I wanted and could get me through it. So, I can say that if you can afford to have someone with you like that, then go for it.

  30. I think that you should definitely do Hypnobabies, not Lamaze. Lamaze is a great CBE course, but is no longer a specific method so it doesn’t spend a lot of time on actual coping techniques. Hypnobabies is a complete CBE course and covers everything you need to know, plus it has you practice everyday. If your husband is into it and works with you, practices with you and does the birth rehearsal, it could be great. He doesn’t need to practice with you everyday, you do that on your own, but if he practices with you, he will be able to refocus you if you start to lose your hypnosis.

    Epidurals do not always work completely (very often they don’t). Planning to get an epidural and relying on it to work completely is a big mistake. Epidurals require you to have a cathetar, restricts your movement (moving around is one of the best ways to relieve pain and improve baby’s position in labor), almost always lead to Pitocin (makes contractions more painful), it can also cause fetal distress or slow labor so it increases your chance of c-section.

    That said, I am not trying to convince you not to get an epidural, but you should try to wait until you are 5-6 cm (or as long as you can) before you get it so you get the benefits and avoid a lot of the consequences.

    Even if you choose to get it early, it might not work. So, you need other coping techniques. Coping techniques will help you wait to get it, cope with pain if it doesn’t work or possibly avoid it altogether.

    Doulas can be very helpful even if you get an epidural because as I said before, epidurals don’t always work and it is better to wait until you have made some progress on your own before you get it.

    If you get a doula, you should choose someone who you connect with and who understands your wishes for your husband to be the primary support and for you to get an epidural once you make some progress on your own. Doulas can be really great to keep the husband focused and calm and supported so he can support you.

    I really loved Hypnobabies for relaxation during pregnancy and for keeping relaxed and mostly pain-free during labor and delivery. You might also want to look at the Pink Kit which helps you understand your own anatomy and how to help the baby work through your body. If your husband wants to be involved, this would be a good program as well. Both are home study (though you can do a live class with Hypnobabies in some areas) and both are pretty cheap.

    Bottomline, your experience is unpredictable whether you plan a natural birth or epidural so it is important to prepare to labor. You can choose an epidural at anytime if you birth in the hospital, but you can’t go back in time and practice pain coping techniques if you don’t prepare, get an epi and it doesn’t work.

    Two other points:

    1. You would never run a marathon without any preparation, and childbirth can be a physically intense event, so you should definitely prepare.

    2. Pain is your guide towards comfort. When your hand is on a hot stove, the pain tells you to take it away. In childbirth, if you listen to your body when feeling pain and move until you find a comfortable position, you will be helping baby get into the right position. Hypnobabies will keep your sensation very manageable (more like pressure most of the time) but keep your mobility so you can move in response and help baby out. Hypnobabies can help you avoid an epidural completely, help you wait to get it or help you if the epidural doesn’t work for you.

  31. I had never considered a doula (money!) and my husband probably wouldn’t have wanted one anyway… We haven’t taken any childbirth classes which we may end up regretting, but more mothers I’ve talked to than not said theirs were a waste of money. I figure childbirth is so unpredictable, there’s not really a good way to prepare for it so we’re planning on just rolling with the punches and doing the best we can.

    I may live to eat these words and may do things differently next time around… Ask me in a few weeks after I give birth, ha ha.

  32. I agree that Bradley is a better class if your husband wants to be the primary labor coach. There is a Bradley book that explains everything for coaches. This doesn’t mean a doula can’t be invaluable. My husband and I forgot everything we learned in our Bradley class and I wished we had a doula to help us with the mechanic of labor. The one thing that did stick was the stuff I learned in my birthing from within class (the spiritual exploration of giving birth). Giving birth is about letting go. I am a plan ahead, type-A, control freak, but Birthing from Within really helped me loosen up. I highly recommend it!

  33. If you have an epidural there is very little for a doula to do (or even your husband). You’re pretty much sitting on your bed the whole time (sleeping if it’s at night). All your husband does in that scenario is put in Dvd’s, plug in your laptop and get you drinks. You really don’t need a doula if you have an epidural.

    If you’re doing hypnobirth I would strongly suggest (insist!) that your husband record his hypnosis readings somehow. Otherwise he’s going to wear out his voice reading you your visualizations. And they read them to you for *hours*. That might be nice to have a doula for. Or you could just get a professional narrator (ha ha).

  34. I’ve never heard of a Doula, but what I do know is that there is no way I could go through labor with out an epidural…I’m not a hero! lol As far as the Doula, I’m sure it’s wonderful, but I personally think it sounds expensive for a person who coaches you…isn’t that what your husband does?? I’m not very sure I get it…

  35. I didn’t read through all of the comments, so this may have been said before, but I wouldn’t do Lamaze. If your hubby wants to be your support, you should use the Bradley Method. Get some Bradley books, they are geared toward husbands, because that’s what Bradley is: Husband coached birth! My husband is reading a Bradley book right now, and I love how much he is learning (even though I know I’ve told him all that stuff before!)

    I know it is your choice, and I don’t judge you, but you should really go for a natural birth. From reading your blog for quite a while now, I really think that you would appreciate being able to do it without medication. You are really good at weighing your options and researching different choices. Because of that, I (honestly) would be completely and utterly shocked if you end up getting an epidural!!!

  36. I had a doula and I am by no means rich, lol. But I have to say if your hubby is afraid the doula will be in the way more than likely she will not. She’ll actually be a support person for not only you but him too. I’ve been through labor 3 times and each and every time right towards the end I get “crazy”, having a doula there will help you to remember to stay calm and even help your hubby if he’s feeling a little overwhelmed at times.

    And depending on how long labor lasts, typically first time labors are long, he may become tired and if you have a doula he wouldn’t feel so bad about if he wanted to doze off a bit. Just a thought.

  37. Your husband sounds very much like mine on this subject. However, I DO want to pursue a drug-free childbirth, and he supports me on that. I think that little by little he is coming around, and though he feels that the doula would “replace him,” he will still agree to letting me hire one. I am hoping that once we start doing consultations with potential doulas, he will realize that a doula does not replace the husband, but enhances his support to me. I’m hoping to start the interview process in January. Good luck to you in whatever you decide!

  38. Gosh, as a doula I have heard so many dads say the exact same thing!!

    What I say to those dads is that as a doula, my goal is not to take the place of family or friends – there is no way I could possibly replace their familiar touch, voices, or shared history. They are so important. My goal as a doula is for the partner to MORE involved, MORE hands-on, and feel more confident about his primary role in supporting you, than he would if I was not there.

    I’ll give you an example from a birth I went to last year: I was a doula for first-time parents who wanted an unmedicated birth. I met up with them when they got to the hospital and mom was at 6 cm. The dad was doing a great job supporting her, but they were both getting anxious. He pulled me aside and asked how long it would be before she had the baby. I said no one knew, but she was doing great and progressing beautifully, and he was doing an excellent job supporting her. He went back to her with more confidence, whispering in her ear, rubbing her shoulders. I worked with her too for a little bit and then said, “Do you think getting in the bath might help?” She said maybe, so I went and got the bath ready, we got her in there, and I coached her through a few contractions in the tub while dad went and got some juice for her. She wanted to stay in the bath, so dad took over again and because the bathroom was so tiny, I just left them alone in there. Dad did a beautiful job coaching and the nurse & midwife & I just poked our heads in once in a while to make sure everything was OK and give encouragement.

    As a culture, we are not used to seeing women in labor or being in the sometimes stressful and unfamiliar environment of the hospital. It’s easy for even the most prepared birth partner to be overwhelmed by seeing someone he/she loves experiencing painful contractions, while being nervous about her health and the health of the baby. A doula is a reassuring presence, letting you and your partner know that things are proceeding normally, helping you think through decisions, and reminding your partner about comfort methods for you. This dad was nervous about the progress of labor; if someone had started pushing interventions earlier in labor to “speed things up”, he would have been less likely to help mom resist. He also might not have thought to suggest a bath, or not remembered a bath was a possibility, or felt shy about asking the nurse to get it ready. But he was a fantastic coach, and having a doula there just helped bring that out even more. My presence as a doula didn’t (I hope!) get in the way of their private time or his special role or their personal experience of having a baby, but enhanced it.

    Best of luck with you decisions and your birth! Many people have wonderful birth experiences with or without a doula, and it sounds like you are preparing yourself so well either way πŸ™‚

  39. I had a doula with my 3rd birth and my husband asked after, “why didn’t we have one each time?” I am now a doula and it is so often the Dads who also appreciate the doula after the birth. It takes the stress off of them.

    I also ask the couples I work with, what is the role you want me to take? For some I am more there for information and to give dad a break if he needs one. Dad is the main partner in almost all the births I attend, I take a back seat and fill in where needed. I am also a Hypno-Doula, so help with Hypnobabies stuff. Though dad is throuroughly trained with Hypnobabies as well.

    Here is a post I wrote about having a doula and there is a GREAT link to a chart comparing what doulas, dads and other support people do.

    Hopefully the link works, it wouldn’t let me paste it in, so I made a short link and typed it!

    Best of luck with your choice. You will love Hypnobabies if you go that route. There is a Hypnobabies Yahoo Group with great support. Just make sure you send your introduction to be approved.

    I have also gathered over 200 birth stories of moms using Hypnobabies at

    Enjoy your birth!

  40. I have never heard of a doula. I always learn something new when I come to visit you : ) I just wanted to check in and see how you are doing! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas! And most of all, I hope you got the camera you wanted! Remember? Your push present?

  41. First off, I think it’s cool that you are sort of planning no epidural but at the same time accepting that you might need one. That’s how I went into my first birth – I wanted to try and do it naturally, but I had NO IDEA what it was going to feel like or how much I’d be able to tolerate. I ended up having an epidural because the doctor wanted to give me pitocin and I was NOT taking that w/out the epidural. I’m planning a natural birth for my 2nd because I want a different experience for many reasons.

    Anywho, about the doula thing… I am not a huge fan. I guess that maybe I got lucky with my husband, but he was always there and we took birthing class together, he learned about labor positions and helping me focus, he was there supporting me through my labor. I never felt the need to have someone else there. Having a natural birth this time, maybe things will be different, but I’ll have a midwife to help me out. I think doulas are great for people like a friend of mine who didn’t have any other support – she didn’t want friends there and the baby’s dad wasn’t around. But for couples going through birth, I just don’t really see the point I guess. I’m not knocking anyone for having a doula, it’s obviously a personal choice just like having a natural or medicated birth. But in my opinion my husband did the job just fine and it was a wonderful experience for us to share – I needed HIM to be there with me.

  42. My husband supported me emotionally. He made me laugh, even during contractions. He was relaxed and fun.
    But I think this was possible because our doula was there, supporting me physically with ideas about how to reduce the pain, different positions, even ideas as simple as how to hold hands to help me relax better. Who would have thought there is a way to hold hands for better relaxation, but it worked!
    So I had one the first time in the hospital, and I had one the second time too. She knew I signed up for the epidural, just in case. And she was ok with that. I felt better having options- having her ideas, doing what felt right, and having the epidural as a back-up in case it hurt too much.
    Before you decide not to, talk to a few- at least on the phone. You’ll get a sense of whether you connect & get to talk about your dh’s ideas too. But don’t rule it out without having a conversation with someone who might be very, very helpful to both of you.
    My husband says it’s the best money we spent. If someone had to be left out next time, he’d kick the doctor out before the doula- his words!

  43. I initially wanted a doula, but ended up giving birth in Brasil where I had very little say in anything. The biggest blessing was my huband and the lamaze help he gave, and since we were so busy moving to South America, the only lamaze training we got was from one DVD I bought and he watched only once. But having him there counting with me was the best blessing (second only to the epidural!). We just had our second baby in the states, and it was the most amazing experience. He said that they have docs and nurses to take care of the baby, but HE’S there for me, so he didn’t leave my side. The counting and breathing REALLY helps, amazingly so. I hate those dads that are there watching the baby come out, telling their wife to push. My husband kept his hand in mine and his face next to mine focusing me the entire time. It was the most amazing experience both times, and very spiritual. I’m glad there was no one else there to distract us, and it made me love him even more. And I’m so thankful for the epidural. Once the pain stopped, I could focus much better, and enjoyed the time with my husband. Of course my labors were very fast, and everyone is different. But I’m so glad I didn’t have a doula. I know it sounds weird, since I’m not really the nurturing type AT ALL, but giving birth was in the top 5 experiences of my life – because of how much it brought my husband and I closer.

  44. We haven’t had a doula with any of ours. It might have been nice with the first, just because I was in labor for so long and it would have been nice for my husband to have a break. Also, even if you’re planning on an epidural, I would still prepare in case you have to go without one. For my first, there were so many woman delivering, that even though I asked for one the moment I arrived, it was almost 6 hours before I actually got one, at which point I was already 8 1/2 cm and for my last one, I kept getting bumped back due to other women needing c-sections. So just be prepared.

  45. Hey! I’m a doula, and gotta tell you, I suggest it. πŸ™‚ As for your husband, I ALWAYS say, if you two are in the groove, then I am in the background. I have attended MANY births, where most of what I do is sit, observe and offer encouragement, and help from the sidelines. I love dads. I LOVE them! I want them to walk away from the experience saying, “Man we rocked that!” And most of the time, even when I play a less active role, dads give me a HUGE hug and tell me, “We couldn’t have done it without you!” WHEN I’M JUST SITTING THERE! I love Dads. (I think I said that already). And in the cases where Dad needs help to be that primary support, I’m there too.

    On epidurals: I’d venture to say that 50% of my clients gets epidurals. I still stay, support, and help. Epidurals do not gurantee a quick, easy delivery and I get worked QUITE hard at those epidural births as well. Doulas are not just for unmedicated births. πŸ™‚

    On Cost: Don’t let it scare you. I charge $600 and assure you, most of my clients are NOT rich. It’s not about the money as a doula. It’s about covering our costs so people can have the support. Many doulas works on a fee scale,and if they don’t they can refer you to someone who does. I hope something from DONA comes through.

    On a Class: Most of my clients take classes and hire me. But truly if you had to pick one, I’d pick the doula. But that’s just me. πŸ™‚

    Good luck on your choice!

  46. Didn’t have a doula – but I’m neither pro or con, everyone should do what they feel comfortable with. Sounds like you are on the right path with choice number two. It seems really important to your husband and if he doesn’t usually ask for much you should strongly take that into consideration.

    How sweet he really wants to be so involved!

    Miss you, “Youngin'”

    Winks & Smiles,

  47. It’s good you are thinking about this early on, so you have time to prepare. I was so overwhelmed with the fact that I was pregnant, staying pregnant that I spaced it on the whole birth part of the process. I would recommend if you are going to do a natural birth, have a doula…just pay the money and get one. And here is where I will say, you’re husband is going to learn that sometimes paying money, or spending a little extra on something (dipaers for example) is worth the sanity it brings. I’m just sayin’! The other thing I would tell you is that, although you want a natural birth, don’t rule out medical interventions or pain managment either. You might get to a point where you need something. For me the epidural just helped me relax so I could concentrate on pushing and doing what the doctor needed me to do. It wasn’t bad and I don’t regret it, becaue honestly when they put your baby up on your chest, it doesn’t matter how it came out, just that he’s there. Good luck, I hope it all goes well for you πŸ™‚

  48. I’ve never had a doula, but really wish I had chosen one for my first baby back in 1991. That birth ended up being an unnecessary c-section and I really think that could have gone differently if I had had a doula by my side advocating for me and my baby.

    Since then I’ve had two homebirths – one with a CPM (certified professional midwife) and one UC (unassisted childbirth).

    Even though I prefer to birth alone – even without my husband until the very end – I always advocate that mothers hire doulas. I’m not talking about having a girlfriend or your mama with you, but hiring a trained doula. They do so much more than hold your hand or breath with you.

    As for finding a doula, there are many certification programs and doulas often have difference approaches depending upon the program they participated in and their own personal philosophies.

    Check out:


    Birthing from Within

    Birth Arts International


  49. I was thinking of your “pro-epidural doula” remark. It is true that probably most doulas have a personal philosophy of natural childbirth. I think that that is why many of us choose to become doulas, because we see that that is not supported in the usual birth place, the hospital, so we want to help with it. But the main professional goal of a doula no matter her personal beliefs is that a woman should be informed of her choices and supported in them as long as she understands the pros and cons. So there will be some who prefer to work with natural birthing mommas, sure, but I think by and large you will find support for your informed wishes. And that is why you interview before to make sure that you can work together. My trainer is cesarean doula, only working with planned section mommas. Every woman can benefit from a doula no matter how she imagines her labor will go. Even after an epi there are ways she can help with positioning, and if they are suggesting other procedures she can help you make sure you have the information you need to make your choice. I did so much research and was so prepared for labor and things did not go as I thought. And even as informed as I thought I was, in the heat of the moment you can kind of lose yourself in a way, so it could help to have someone to help ground you. And for a long labor it could be helpful for your husband to be able to at least grab a bite to eat or a 10 minute nap without you being left alone! Whatever you choose I wish you a wonderful birth experience, I just wanted to give you some more to think about. Like you probably don’t have enough on your mind already!

  50. I love your blog even though I don’t know you (in person) and you don’t know me but I love your posts on MMB and had to comment here when I read this… goes. I had a doula with my 2nd birth, which went so fast that it made going al natural no biggie (ya, it hurt and then I had a baby and didn’t care anymore…I’m hoping to do it at home next time, like many people I know). Anyway, my first birth started in a natural birthing center with midwives with the intent of doing a water birth. Because my water broke and I had a 29 hour labor I ended up in the hospital hooked up to everything. Bummer. I WISH I had had a doula that time. Why…because there was drama, there were decisions to be made and it would have been nice to have someone who is not too emotionally attached to me to have helped voice decisions. It would have been nice to not feel pressured by nurses, midwives, family, etc to make certain decisions. A doula who totally understands your birth plan or who you can look at and give an answer and know she will voice it appropriately is a huge burden off your and your husband’s shoulder. I’m glad I had one my second time around (she was free because she was our breathing class instructor and offered free doula services to students to keep up her certification) because she got me through transition. She knew when to talk to me and when not to talk to me to keep me from taking the drugs (which I did yell at the nurse to call the anesthesiologist at one point but baby was out before he even arrived). She was also there because I was so worried about my mother making comments that would upset me and I’d end up taking drugs out of “peer pressure” from my mom and then being angry after the birth. The doula was prepared to give my mom words if necessary, which it didn’t end up being necessary but I was glad the burden was off my shoulders. Here’s some thoughts for your hubby…since this is your first birth the chances of it being long are pretty high. He will be shocked at how draining just sitting around can be. He may feel completely and totally hopeless watching the love of his life going through something so intense and not being able to do a thing about it. A doula can help him as well. She can put him as the central “trainer” but can take over if he becomes too exhausted, too overwhelmed or is just shocked by all that goes on. My husband is extremely level headed and very calm in chaos but let me tell you, he was not prepared to see a child come out of me, despite the videos. It can be gross, beautiful, miraculous and weird all at the same time. It might be nice for him to have a fall back if he ends up being a bit shocked. Also, think about how you handle pain. Personally, I HATE being touched by my husband when I’m in pain. He knows not to give me a hug when I hit my head, stub my toe or am in labor. However, I LOVED having my doula hold my hand and gently rub the back of my hand during contractions. It’s weird but you just may not want his hands on you during contractions. Just a thought, maybe I’m just more cold hearted than most wives though. So, all in all and after this insanely long comment from a stranger, I just thought I’d let you know I think you should go with option 1. Just look into it, you can always say no thank you and feel better knowing you looked into all options before making a decision. And…pray about it. Oh…and CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  51. I am 26 weeks pregnant and I started taking prenatal yoga classes with the park district (nice and cheap – less than $10 per class) when I was about 11 weeks pregnant. My yoga teacher is not a certified doula but she offered to be a doula for free for anyone in the class. My husband was a little hesitant about thisbut when I explained to him that she will be there to make his life and my life easier during the labor, he agreed. I think the most importannt thing is to have a good relationship with your potential doula and make sure you’re all on the same page. I plan on getting an epidural so I am also in the minority of the type of woman (not having natural childbirth)who use a doula. Luckily my doula does not judge me for chossing an epidural and she has experienced giving birth natural and with an epidural so she knows what both feel like. I explained to my husband that the doula knows massage and positions for me that will minimize my pain during labor and I won’t have to yell at him “you’re doing it wrong” when I ask him to help me with something. I’d rather he be the one I get to smile at who holds my hand and the doula can be the one I scream at. You can also use statistics to argue your case because women who use doulas have a much lower (sorry I don’t remember the exact % but I’m sure it’s easy to find) amount of c-sections. Good luck!

  52. Wow. Lots of comments and advice. I’m a mother of 5, a fellow MMB contributor πŸ™‚

    I had a natural birth with my last baby ONLY because i wanted to experience the real thing before i was completely done having kids.

    You can read my birth story here…

    My Lover WAS supportive of the natural part but not the doula-ing type. i had a friend come with me to help…she was free πŸ™‚ *wink*

    my only advice to you is something you pretty much already said. go big or go home. if you KNOW you wanna have a natural birth then go in there with that mindset. There can’t be any what ifs…or maybes… Tell ur self you will do it no matter HOW bad the pain gets, no if ands or butts.

    and guess what? it’ll happen πŸ™‚ pray too!!!

  53. First of all, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! I haven’t been around for a while and I’m really chuffed for you.

    I love the idea of a doula but it wasn’t for me. I tend to go inward when dealing with huge life events and wanted my husband and just my husband; I didn’t even allow visitors to the hospital the first time (except immediate family of course).

    I can see your husband’s point of view totally but it is ultimately YOU going through the biggest part of this so you need to be comfortable. I’m sure you’ll make the best decision, you are one organised mother to be!

    I’ll be reading up to date with interest, now that I’m back.


  54. Bravo for doing your research, thinking and planning. I must caution though to be careful not to stick to too rigid of a plan. Have a contingency plan in your mind that you can embrace if things go slightly awry. I’ve given birth four times and although the image in my head was wonderful none of them quite met the image.

    I also have a friend who was preparing a home birth (and I’ll avoid the details here), but she really felt let down when it didn’t turn out as planned.

    In this situation, I hope that you and your husband will come to a decision that will be best for everyone involved especially you. I think having a doula would be wonderful, but maybe there’s an alternative he can get on board with. Good luck and happy pregnancy! πŸ™‚

    Happy New Year as well.

  55. I came to visit from Mormon Mommy Blogs and wanted to say that I have 5 kids- 3 drug free, 1 epidural, 1 knocked-out emergency C-Section (because I’m a neurotic freak and started screaming when they did the spinal for it.). I have 2 things maybe worth mentioning.

    1. A Doula is there to support you and to help you have the birth experience that you want. She is also the voice of reason and experience. If things go weird, your husband is swept up by the drama, the emergency, the fear, and all that. The Doula isn’t as emotionally involved and can tell you what your options are in a more rational way. She’s not there to replace your husband.

    2. If you plan to go drug free, do it on the first one because once you do the epidural, you’ll never labor without it!! I did it for my last birth, and there’s no way I’ll go natural again, although I am happy with the first 3 births that were natural. (My 2nd baby was the c-section and the last 3 births were VBACs)

  56. Aw, I think it’s really sweet that your husband wants to be so involved!

    And about the medicated birth… I think it’s great that you have the self-awareness to know what’s right for you. πŸ™‚

  57. A doula is beneficial even with an epidural. And although many doulas DO get into the business because of a fondness toward unmedicated, “natural” birth, this doesn’t mean they can’t/won’t support a woman who makes different choices than they would. After all, their work is about YOU not them and a good doula knows that.

    A doula is beneficial for all birthing women — particularly first timers. Just because you have an epidural, this doesn’t meant the birth will be easy and flawless. A doula is there to support both you and your husband and to help you make decisions along the way. These decisions can include consenting to various additional interventions other than pain relief, and during a moment of panic or emergency, an experienced doula can help you separate out the important info so that you can make a safe, informed decision that is right for you and your family.

    I highly recommend looking into a doula and at least interviewing a couple. She will in no way “take over” your husband’s job. He will remain you primary support if that’s what you want. The doula is truly there for both of you.

    “The Birth Partner” is a good read, whether you go the doula route or not. I suggest your husband give it a read, particularly if he wants to take an active role.

    I also second the recommendations to consider classes in the Bradley Method. It is marketed as “husband-coached childbirth.” My husband and I did it for our pregnancy last year and absolutely loved it. Though, do know up front that Bradley is heavy on the unmedicated stuff, though definitely not exclusive.

  58. Honestly I didn’t think I needed a doula. I had my first and second without. The first born in the hospital with a CNM and the second in the birth center with a CNM. My third baby, my homebirth midwife included a doula. I used her I told my dh after that I didn’t think we needed one for our last. He was the one who wanted her. He had to do so much work with the first two and wasn’t ever in positions to actually see the baby born because of all the work he did.
    When we had the doula, he could be in my face talking to me while the doula was doing the counter pressures. He got to actually see her born. With the fourth he helped pull the baby out and he loved it! He loved that while he was at work and I was at home laboring, the doula was able to set everything up and get everything ready. She also helped feed my other kids. Doulas are there to do what you need them to do.
    You should totally talk to a few who could be free because they’re certifying. I mean, seriously, why not?! If you start talking to them now, you’ll have plenty of time to get to know one. Also, if you do have an epidural, she needs that experience too.

  59. I didn’t have a doula, because I live in a semi-rural area. I couldn’t find anyone living in the area who was a doula!

    Even though I didn’t have one, I think they are invaluable! Going through labor and delivery is overwhelming. No matter how many classes you take or how many books you read, it’s not something you can anticipate. The benefit of having a doula there is someone who has been there and done that.

    Also, I see that you are not interested in a natural birth, but doulas can help you even if that’s not what you want. Did you know that something like 60% of women do not feel they received satisfactory pain relief from the methods they had available? Also, there is a time in labor for some women when you cannot have an epidural. Some hospitals won’t give them prior to 4 cm and some won’t give them after 7cm. I got to the hospital at 5.5cm, and I was 7.5 the next time I was checked with one of my labors, and with the other I got to the hospital at 10cm. I would have loved to have had a doula (especially with my first) to help me through the transition part of labor. I felt really overwhelmed and none of the stuff we learned in our childbirthing class felt good. It was all annoying. My poor husband was really no help, and he was as overwhelmed as I was.

    Also, there is research to show that having a doula results in a labor that is several hours shorter than women who don’t have them.

    Info on dads and doulas:

  60. It totally depends on your hubby, if he wants to be your whole hearted support system, well then that’s great. I’ve never had a doula. I like to be left alone. My last baby was just my husband and I. I think he would have liked a doula πŸ™‚

  61. Remember, a doula is support for BOTH of you. We provide emotional support for moms and dads. They can help remind hospital staff of your birth plan, fetch things so dad can focus on you, suggest positions for your husband to help support you in, be there when dad needs to run to the bathroom, etc. In one birth, while mom and dad were recovering, I ran across the street to pick up Frappuccinos for them. Doulas can see to the little extra details.

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