Expectant mothers all over are considering a new addition in the delivery room. The idea of hiring a doula (pronounced doo-lah) to help parents through the labor and delivery process is becoming a popular option. More than 5% of pregnant women are choosing to hire a doula and that number is growing.
When first hearing of a labor doula many do not fully understand their purpose in the delivery room. Doulas are not usually medically trained like midwives and obstetricians, nor are they technically considered labor coaches. Most women who hire a doula will already have the position of labor coach filled by a partner or family member.
Doulas are present to provide emotional and knowledgeable support as well as being advocates for the parents. The doula is there to make sure the doctor or midwife is aware of and follows the parent’s birth plan as accurately as possible. She can take care of the details while the parents focus solely on the birthing experience.
Studies are now proving that women who hire doulas need a great deal less medical intervention such as; cesarean, pain relieving and labor inducing drugs, forceps delivery, and so on. Women are also experiencing shorter labors and report feeling more satisfied with the delivery process than mothers who did not use a doula.
There are many different kinds of doulas, ranging from those that will stay with a woman throughout labor and delivery and those that help a woman through the post partum period. Some have gone through vigorous training and have been certified while others are self-starters, but have been working in the delivery room for many years.
Labor doulas usually stay by a woman’s side throughout her entire labor and delivery, whereas nurses, midwives, and doctors may not have that sort of time to give. Some labor doulas will even provide photographs and video of the birth in their fee.
Hiring a doula may sound like a luxury that most expectant parents cannot afford. Surprisingly though, a lot of insurance companies now cover the cost of a doula and some hospitals even have doula programs set up for women who qualify.
The average cost of a doula’s services is around $500, though it can range from $200-$1000 (and sometimes more in large metropolitan areas.) However, most doulas make it clear that they are willing to set a sliding scale or payment plan for families that can’t afford their price quotes.
What do you think of the growing popularity of doulas in the delivery room?
Do you have a personal story about a doula-assisted birth that you would like to share?
I am considering a doula. I have to research and find a good one.
I used a midwife for all 3 of my kids. The 1st two were in a birth center, the 3rd in the hospital. My midwife and nurses were all I needed (go Birthing Inn, Tacoma, WA!!!)--they were so supportive and helpful. All three times they helped me achieve the birth I wanted...and deliver three beautiful, perfectly healthy babies. I would say, with a good midwife and nurse, you don't necessarily need a doula. With a doctor, 100% I would hire a doula.
I have had 3 children and on my last I had a doula, she was more than wonderful she helped the whole pregnancy run smoothly, she assisted me a doctors visits and even to go grocery shopping when I had no one else to go with, she kept a journal of my pregnancy and visits that I did not even no about and presented to me and my husband 5 days after our daughter was born, the most amazing part is that I was traveling in Florida, when I had to go to the hospital for an emergency c-section, we had called and let my doula know and we were so scared already and then disappointed that she could not be there, and that my husband could not come in to the operating room with me as we were traveling and had no one to watch our children. Next thing we knew she was there before they even started operating as she had jumped a last minute flight, she was able to sit with my boys well my husband stayed with me during the surgery and she stayed with us in Florida and flew back with us, she helped straight threw the 3 month period and now I consider her a genuine friend. I can not express how much I recommend a Doula...I am sorry for all that have had less then perfect experiences and must say like anything else check their references as in other moms!!!! I hope this helps and I am glad I could tell my wonderful experience.
I had a doula for my second child. The problem was that she lived an hour away, and I had a very fast labor! It was great except, she was there for all of 20 minutes. I was sooo looking forward to having a doula as my first labor was 32 hours long. In my last birth the nurses seemed to help me breath and labor more then my doula did. She was almost in the way. It was kind of dissapointing after spending all that money on it...
I found an awesome doula who really helped me to relax and understand the birthing process - on the birth day my doula stepped aside and my husband coached me through the delivery. She reassured us all and was an amazing support during the first few weeks of post-partum.