When is a doula NOT the right choice?
I went to a “Meet the Doulas” event and have read plenty on why a doula is great. But there's little on why you'd opt out, so I’d love to understand why a doula could be LESS necessary / helpful / applicable, and NOT the right choice for me — want to make a decision with both sides in mind.
In considering positive data, I'm skeptical about studies on the benefits of doulas (lower Cesarean and unmedicated birth rates) b/c 1) studies often look at overall impact of having a SUPPORTIVE, FEMALE presence including hospital staff AND loved ones, which obviously muddies the data and makes attribution to just a doula impossible 2) self-selection; if you believe you need and want a doula, and have one, you’re likelier to report higher levels of satisfaction with the birth experience as a result of said doula. Also someone who has a holistic view on birth / invests in a doula is more likely to have other things contributing to a lower C-section rate, and probably leans toward wanting an unmedicated birth. True for me at least. ;) 3) positive anecdotes don't mention other support aside from the partner, so can’t get a full picture.
- I have a loving & even-keeled husband
- Strongly considering having my mother (who I'm close to, is a retired NICU RN, & would easily do the little things that people rave about in reviews e.g. repositioning, washcloths, etc.)
- Considering having my mother-in-law who we're close to
- Delivering at Alta Bates, whose nurses have a stellar reputation; one reviewer was more impressed by them than her doula
- I'm an introvert and love the idea of creating inner resiliency; planning to learn HypnoBirthing (with husband)
In a vacuum / with no consideration of cost, having the RIGHT doula seems better than no doula. But there’s no guarantee I could find the right doula in time. At that point, seems that no doula would be preferable to an “okay” doula, given the presence of my partner and mother(s).
- If you had partner + other loved ones AND a doula:
- What value did she deliver that was unique and not redundant?
- How was the dynamic of partner + family + doula?
- If you had partner + other loved ones and NO doula:
- How did it go / how supported did you feel?
- What, if anything, slipped through the cracks?
- What benefits - aka TRUE medical advocacy (which seems like a gray area given they are not medical professionals) - does a doula provide that neither husband nor my retired nurse mom could? Looking for beyond what I’ve come across in reviews (yes, partly because I feel $2k+ is a lot to pay for the below):
- “The little things” - setting up delivery room (candles, lighting, decor), fetching coffee, etc.
- Physical touch (one doula I met pitched “being loved on” both by her and my husband at the same time, and frankly that doesn’t appeal to me)
- Verbal support (one example was repeating what my husband says - sounds weird and annoying, not necessarily helpful)