Alright, you know you want a doula but you still have some questions and misconceptions about what a doula does and the services they can provide at your birth. Also, side bar… did you know it is World Doula Week? Here is my list of five of the top myths I would like to bust about birth doulas.
Myth #1: Birth Doulas only help and support an out of hospital unmedicated birth.
The misconception is that all birth doulas are “crunchy” or only support unmedicated births and not surgical birth or the use of an epidural. This is just not true and even if you have a scheduled cesarean birth you should still have a birth doula present with you and your partner! I would even argue to say that if you have a high-risk or complicated pregnancy and plan to use medical intervention it will be very useful to have a birth doula present at your birth to help you navigate your options. The birth doula’s job is to help you in no matter birth you have “planned” or receive.
Myth #2: A Birth Doula will replace your partner.
Maybe you are telling yourself, “I have a supportive partner. I won’t need a birth doula.” Well, the reality is even if you have a supportive partner they are NOT a birth doula. And if they are, well cool! You might still want a birth doula there though. It is really the job for two people. It is nice to have a break and know that the birthing parent as continuous labor support. The Birth doula really helps to step in and assist the partner in assisting you the birthing parent. It only helps to enhance your connection and bond through the birthing process.
Myth #3: My Birth Doula will only be there at the hospital and at the birth.
Birth Doulas provide continuous labor support for the birthing family. Which usually includes a couple prenatal visits, maybe birth education, text or email support, an on call period where they will support you, they will come to your home and help you labor at home and know when to go into your birthing place, continuous labor support at your birthing place AND THEN on top of all of this they typically will stay after for a couple hours to make sure baby feeds, the birthing parent stabilizes and feels supported and eats her first meal. Plus some birth doulas have maybe one or two postpartum visits after the birth where they come to your house and help you process your birth and provide support. You get your money’s worth with their packages let me tell you! They are with you longer than any doctor, midwife, nurse, whoever… they are your go-to!
Myth #4: A Birth Doula ONLY provides back rubs and hip squeezes.
Birth Doulas do provide back rubs and hip squeezes but they also provide so much more than that too! Providing tools and resources for comfort measures for your birthing experience is an expertise of a birth doula for sure and some maybe provide more specific comfort measures than others. Like, cranial sacral massage, acupressure, chiropractic care, massage, etc. Some other things that birth doulas provide but are not limited to are, mental support, helping you navigate the medical system, supporting education and decision making, advocating, controlling your environment, helping you hydrate, go potty, eat and feel supported in your labor. If you want a better birth outcome, the stats are proving that you need to hire a doula.
Myth #5: All Doulas provide the same services and advocate for my birth plan.
Nope. Just like any other profession, each doula has their strengths, expertise and style of support. It is important to interview different doulas and find one that is a good fit for both the birthing parent and your partner! I would say interview about five doulas and go with the one you feel most comfy with. Like right then and there you could hug them and you want to see them again. It is kind of like dating! When searching for a doula, search within values of yours.. if you are a black birthing family, find a black doula and provider. Other examples could be christian doula, queer doula, hypnobirthing doula, sibling doula, vbac speciality doula, full spectrum doula or a doula that also offers extended postpartum support.
If you are curious on learning more about what a Birth Doula is and does check out these two resources available on the Mavens of Motherhood Podcast and our membership platform. On the membership platform there is a “Doula Panel” where I interview a collective of Doulas in the Twin Cities area. On the Podcast there is an interview with Sarah Auna an experienced birth doula in the Twin Cities all about what Doula care is all about and what to look for in your own care when hiring a doula!
“Okay, I am in Ella.” I’m ready to start interviewing Birth Doulas. (Yes, you should interview a couple!) “How do I get connected with a Birth Doula?”
How to Find a Birth Doula near you
- CAPPA: Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association www.cappa.net
- DONA: www.dona.org
- International Childbirth Education Association: www.icea.org
- Childbirth International www.childbirthinternational.com
- ICTC: International Center for Traditional Childbearing www.ictcmidwives.org
- HealthConnect One: Learn about community-based doula programs www.healthconnectone.org
- DTI: Doula Trainings International www.doulatrainingsinternational.com/
- Ask a mom friend for a referral
- Ask your midwife or doctor for their list of doula contacts that they can refer to you
- Ask me for a referral! Book a 1-1 coaching call today.