Ok - in case you're here for real information - let me speak factually first:
Doula: also known as a labor coach, is a non-medical person who assists a woman before, during, and/or after childbirth, as well as her partner/family by providing information, physical assistance, and emotional support (wikipedia).
Although apparently the computer world doesn't recognize it (it is telling me I have a misspelled word) more and more women today are considering hiring a doula to support them in childbirth.
Births with doulas see:
- 50% reduction in the cesarean rate
- 25% shorter labor
- 60% reduction in epidural requests
- 40% reduction in oxytocin use
- 30% reduction in analgesia use
- 40% reduction in forceps delivery ( Mothering the Mother: How a Doula Can HelpYou Have a Shorter Easier and Healthier Birth)
Other than the statistics here are some of the reasons I wanted to have a doula for my second baby:
- Knowing that the odds said I would have a repeat c-section, I wanted someone who could be with me, at home, for a good part of my labor
- I wanted to know someone, who was a professional, assure me she would be at my labor - be on call all.the.time.
- I wanted someone who was going to stay with me - no matter how long or short my labor was <three days>
- I wanted someone who knew about every single medication the hospital may want to give me, the side effects of it, and the pros and cons of using it
- My sister seemed to think it was important
- Because the first time around things were unnecessarily complicated.
So with that said, I hired a doula. Doulas (at least in my world) are not covered by insurance. They charge a flat out of pocket fee for their services no matter how long or short your labor is. They also typically meet with you before and after you have the baby - and chat with you on the phone at all hours of the night.
Get a doula.
When I told my dad (Toppah - meet him here) that I was hiring a doula, he was dubious. He isn't ever surprised to see me spend money (I am really good at it) - but he thought this was an unnecessary expense, much like my $5 sbucks, that my sister had spent and therefore talked me into... Below is his changing view on doulas (note the flea market shirt)....
Me: Dad when LL hired a doula, what did you think it was?
Toppah: I thought a doula was a tribal witch doctor of sorts that you hired to sing and dance around the birthing bed and get in the way of the medical staff.
Me: What did you think when LL hired a doula?
Toppah: I thought LL had a lot of extra money and that she was hoodwinked into hiring a doula by her new earthy crunchy friends. Keep in mind this is the same group that was nearly arrested at Wegmans for group breastfeeding their babies in the Organic produce section of the store.
<maybe a stretch Toppah, I think an uninformed staff member made a snide remark... the store then apologized a few times to anyone who brought it up - and retrained their staff about MA breastfeeding law... no one was 'nearly arrested.' Also I would LOVE to know what 'group breastfeeding' looks like...>
Me: When LL hired a doula, what did you think about the price? After her labor - did your opinion change?
Toppah: I thought $1150 for 15 minutes of work was Colombian drug lord pay.
<LL is blessed with VERY short labors... it wasn't 15 minutes, but she almost gave birth in the parking lot... if she had... her doula would have been there.>
Me: When I hired a doula what did you think?
Toppah: I thought you and Adam had a lot of extra money, but it was probably getting to be what people did, kind of like spending extra money on 'organic' food. I thought LL's militant friends had pressured you also.
Me: When you met Alexis in the parking lot, at the chiropractor where you took me, when I was a week late and had broken my back, what did you think?
Toppah: Alexis seemed loving and caring and genuinely concerned about your well being. The $1150 didn't seem like that much anymore.
Me: After my labor, 3 days, 3 nights, 3 hours of pushing... and a broken back, what did you think of doulas?
Toppah: I think doulas are grossly underpaid.
Me: Who do you think should hire a doula?
Toppah: Everyone. It would be foolish not to. In fact, I am considering hiring a doula to go with me to have a wart removed from my palm, it can be really painful and I could use the 24 hour support and encouragement. Does Alexis travel? Can I send her $1150now? Do we get a family discount? Just asking...
Did we convince you? If not... you may need to read more about why I needed a doula in my VBAC/Birth post. It's not for the feint of heart. If you're in MA - here is the doula you should have!
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