What The Heck Is A Doula Anyway?

Doula article

These were the words my husband spoke to me when I suggested hiring a doula. Many people have no idea what a doula is or the role they play in your labor. We met with our doula one night a couple of weeks ago, she came over and proceeded to tell us stories and give us advice on labor and how we as a couple could get through this experience with confidence. My husband was overjoyed, he no longer felt alone in this process, he had someone who would be at the birth of our daughter who was not screaming in pain and throwing up. Hooray!

For anyone who is considering a doula for their birth, let me give some of my own observations.

  • I think that a Doula is the single most important person other than you to attend your labor and birth. Forget mom or your BFF since high school, they have got nothing on this lady.
  • Doulas have usually attended hundreds of births and have seen it all, they have birthed with midwives and doctors alike and are usually welcome in a hospital enviroment. For example, I am giving birth with a doctor at a hospital and I also have my doula attending.
  • Your doula will be not only your birthing coach but also your advocate once you are in the hospital setting. She brings massage oils and birthing balls to help you with pain managment, she will also be another pair of hands in case your partner needs to pee or eat or breath ( not like you are going to care about them.. but someone should).
  • You can decide the exact role of your Doula with her but usually they will have one pre natal visit with you at your home and will be available by phone day or night until you go into labor. They will come to your home when you go into labor and accompany you to the hospital. After birth she will see you one more time for a post natal visit.
  • Doulas cost anywhere from $500 – $2500 depending on their experience. In my mind it is the best money you can spend toward your birthing experience.

Here are some resources for women considering Doulas:

DONA – Doulas of North America. Have more info on doulas and a list of certified doulas in your area.

Doula.com – Has some good FAQ’s about Doulas

The American Pregnancy Association – This is their page on Doula info

Childbirth.Org – Information on Doulas and other forms of childbirth, FAQ’s and forums.

There are also local alliances of Doulas especially in the NYC area. I did a Google search and found hundreds. It is a bit like finding a needle in a haystack but you can interview as many as you want in order to find the right one for