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Why Hire a Doula?

I get this question a lot and it deserves a lot of attention. You already

have your Ob/gyn, your husband is “all in” and even your mother and

mother in law have volunteered to help, so why a doula? I think the

best way to answer this question is to understand what a doula really


A doula is not a midwife nor does she provide medical care. What a

good doula does, however, is fill in all the gaps missing with the team

listed above. A doula is a birthing expert. She knows the mother-to-

be personally and somewhat intimately, since she has been a part of

the whole process, and is there to assist her and advise her about the

nuances of birthing and her rights as a patient.

Some mothers-to-be have very strong opinions about how they wish

to deliver their new born. They want the surroundings a certain way or

an all natural birth if possible. For others, it is their very first time and

have no idea what to expect. A doula supports her client, provides

timely information about what to expect next and is her constant

advocate. An expectant mother should be aware that her doctor is

there to deliver a healthy baby in a timely manner for all involved. He

or she is there for the delivery but cannot be there for the “process”

which can be 10, 20, or even 30 hours. They have hundreds of other

patients to treat. This is where the doula comes in. A good doula helps

the prospective mother through this process.

A doula is a powerful advocate for the mother. A doula will help focus

attention on what the patient wants, not just what the doctor or nurses

desire. Sometimes the medical team will suggest certain things like a

cesarean section because of protocol and convenience when the birth

mother really wants to go the natural path. A doula is an advocate for

the mother’s wishes. A doula will never, however,

dictate medical procedures or endanger the mother’s well being if the

medical team is adamant about the mother’s or infants condition or a

certain course of treatment.

A large part of a doula’s role is to provide education and comfort to the

expecting couple. When things get tense, sometimes all those things

you practiced and learned in your prenatal classes just go out the

window. Contractions are intense, the husband who was “all in”

before is now in free fall and the last person you want in the room

during this very private time is your mother or mother-in-law. A doula

is the trained professional that has walked many mothers through this

gauntlet and can hold hands, give advise on what is next, help with

labor positions to relieve pain and even massage backs when help is


But a doula’s role isn’t limited to the birthing process. She is there

before you go into labor and is there helping with postpartum issues.

She can advise on nursing procedures, postpartum pain, even be in

the home after the birth to help care for the mother and infant.

It would be nice if giving birth was the end of a mother’s needs.

Usually, this is just the beginning. Babies don’t come out with all skills

needed to thrive nor does mom get an instruction book on how to care

for her newborn. Things as basic as nursing can be a major problem;

and unfortunately, not a rare one but rather common. A doula can

help with this challenge also.

As you can see, the gamut of her skills is broad and invaluable. Pre

and postpartum education: delivery, nursing, hormonal changes,

adjusting to life with a new baby as well as the mothers emotional

health are all part of the role of a doula. Numerous studies have

statistically shown the hugely positive birthing experience with the help

of a professional doula.

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