Has anyone here used/been a doula?

I’m thinking of taking a training course and becoming a certified doula (a person who acts as a pregnancy/labor advocate and sometimes coach), and I wondered what experiences people here have had with doulas. Are they useful? In the way? If you used one once, would you again? Did your insurance pay for it? If not, did that influence your decision to use or not to use a doula? If you’re a dad, did the doula interefere with your vision of your role within the labor, or was she helpful and calming?

I don’t really want to get into the medical training needed to become a midwife (plus, from what I understand, midwifery is technically illegal here in Illinois, though nurse-midwives are legal, but that means getting a nursing license first.) I really want to help women by being an social/emotional support during pregnancy and labor, and want to be an interface between them and the often threatening and unfamiliar medical community. I don’t have a particular agenda about natural vs. medicated labors - I think each woman should be free to define her own ideal, and I’d do everything I can to make sure that her birth plan is honored as much as medically possible. I’m already a massage therapist, so there’s that bonus: I can give trained massages to mom (and dad and anyone else who needs it) during the labor.

If you are a doula, do my reasons seem in-line with doulas’ goals and identity? Do you work privately or through a hospital or OB? Is it a full time job for you or a supplemental income or hobby? What advice would you give a doula wannabe?

Thanks for any thoughts or advice you can give! :slight_smile:

You might want to check out this earlier thread

Thanks so much for doing that search for me. (Wish Guests could search…) :slight_smile:

Ach! Give in, send your money, it’s well worth it!

Hi there! I didn’t post to the earlier thread and I don’t want to “bump” it, so I will post here.

I had a doula (M.) for both of my births. I recommend a doula to everyone who asks, as does my husband. She was such a help to both of us.

Our insurance didn’t pay for it. For our first birth, M. did not charge us since it was for her certification (she had attended many births before us but had just recently decided to become a doula), although we paid her anyway. For our second birth we gladly paid her $300. It was the best money we spent during the whole process IMO.

Our first birth was a very long labor that ended in a csection, a very tough experience. M. was with us through the entire thing. The first thing my husband said after it was over was “We are definitely hiring M. for our next kid!” It really helped him to have someone who could explain that no, I didn’t hate him, I just didn’t want to have my neck rubbed (or whatever) right then. It also helped that he could take a break and get a cup of coffee or make a phone call without leaving me all alone. And there were also a few times where M. left us alone when we needed it.

For our second birth, we planned a csection and planned for M. to be there. I know it might not seem like you would need a doula for a scheduled csection, but I really needed someone who could stay with me and talk with me during the surgery while my husband stayed with the baby. We were all looking forward to a good night’s sleep before the 9:00 AM csection after my first sleepless birth experience :slight_smile:

But Baby #2 had other plans. My water broke at 11 PM the night before my scheduled Csection. I called M. and she met us at the hospital, which was a great thing because Baby #2 was not going to wait and we decided since everything was progressing so well that we would try a VBAC. We were SOOOO glad M. was there. I had a short, painful labor with no time for meds. She helped keep me focused during pushing rather than getting mentally “stuck” on my first birth experience. And she would have gladly gone with us to surgery if it had gone that way. Instead she was there to help with an unmed, unplanned VBAC.

We really feel like she’s a part of our family. She shared our ups and downs and I don’t know how I would have done either birth without her. We send her pictures of the girls and share email updates with her from time to time. I have recommended her to several local moms (she only works by word-of-mouth referrals).

I say go for it. I think it would be a very rewarding, empowering job (although the hours will be pretty crazy). See if there’s a local birthing/doula group in your area so you can connect with doulas in your area (if there isn’t, try La Leche League). I think the best thing to do is find a local mentor who can help you through your training.

Take care,

Sounds to me like you’d be great, WhyNot.

Didn’t use one when I had my daughter, as I’d never heard of a doula. I wish I had, though, and probably will if I ever get around to having kid #2.

A friend of mine is one (in WV it’s mostly putting in your hours, rather than bookwork although that’s part of it too). I’m not sure what she charges but she’ll go to the hospital for free when a girl is there and doesn’t have anyone with her.

A friend of mine is a doula.

To me, it appears to be a calling profession - and almost a hobby (although hobby sounds so unmeaningful, and its more meaningful than that) and not a job. She doesn’t make much money at it (she charges a few hundred dollars, but has to have her clients spaced out so their labors don’t have a chance to overlap - since what they pay her for is sitting through labor with them). But finds it very rewarding. Its a lot of effort for the money she gets paid - several pre-birth meetings and then labor might be 35 hours - fortuatately her “real job” has flex hours, its easy for her just to call in with “I won’t be in today, I’ll make up my time tomorrow.”

I love the idea of a doula. I was supposed to have an “amateur doula” - my sister, an RN, was supposed to be my backup labor coach. But my daughter arrived a little early when she was out of town.

My wife and I used the Bradley method when our two children were born. With the Bradley method the husband plays a big role during the birth so we also had a doula with us to kind of support me while I was supporting my wife. It worked out very well both times. Having an unrelated pair of hands there to help was key to two smooth drug-free births. The most important thing our doula provided was an understanding of our goals and the ability to help us remained focused on those goals when we needed the extra push.

We employed a doula when my wife gave birth to our little monster. Mrs C did a lot of reading about pregnancy and childbirth, so what our doula offered that was helpful was mainly practical suggestion and guidance. She was very helpful to me (the dad) during the childbirth process as it was my first time. Mrs C had trained with the Bradley Method which I found did not adequately prepare her for the real possibility of having a medical need for induction, but militant natural childbirth indoctrination is a different thread. Anyway, it really helped to have someone around who was not working for the hospital and had lots of experience with childbirth, both routine and abnormal. If we did it again, we’d definitely hire a doula. We’d seriously consider doing the midwife thing.