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WDYT - To Doula or not to Doula?

21 replies to this topic

#1 noi'mnot

Posted 31 October 2012 - 07:21 PM

Good evening all,

I'm going to try for a VBAC next year. I'm about 18.5 weeks along now. After interviewing (and quite liking) a local doula and speaking to a few others, I've just found out that all of my nagging was successful and I've managed to get in to my hospital's one-on-one midwifery care. Love my midwife, she's super, looking forward to going through the pregnancy and birth with her.

But now I'm kind of stuck. Do I actually need a doula if I'm going to get the fantastic care available from a one-on-one midwife?

All I can really think of at the moment is that the doula could help at home (not sure if I need that...) and could help advocate in the hospital... but do I need that help with advocacy? I've got a super-dooper partner for help too. I'm not sure.

Any other pros/cons? I'd love some advice, as I'm a little lost as to what to do at the moment.

Thanks in advance! original.gif

#2 crankybee

Posted 31 October 2012 - 07:53 PM

I was in the Midwife Program at RNSH and my midwife wasn't on the weekend I went into labour so I had another one. And after 12 hours she went home.

My Doula was with me from 2am at home, to 11pm. 21 hours straight. And I needed her, trust me. Hire the Doula!

#3 Puggle

Posted 31 October 2012 - 08:22 PM

Doula, doula, doula.

#4 Leee

Posted 31 October 2012 - 11:14 PM

For me I would say no you don't need one. I have seen a couple of births in group practice and with doulas and from my experience it didn't work that well. Group practice midwives are as you know into natural birth and working with women to work towards a pregnancy and birth that they want. In the ones I have been a part of it has taken away a lot of the role of the midwife, and has then left her to deal with the only the medical side.

Even if you don't get your midwife on the day or if she leaves (they don't have shifts but can only work so many hours, which is usually a lot), you will have usually met your backup midwife who will be there.

I value doulas but that's just me opinion. But if you do want care at home, then maybe consider a doula.

#5 lucky 2

Posted 01 November 2012 - 08:20 AM

I wouldn't see the point of having a doula when you have a one on one mw relationship for pregnancy and birth.
Doubling up in that situation imo.
Perhaps for more intensive post natal care but I'd be finding out what was provided by mw in terms of home visits etc, it may be perfectly sufficient for you.
It's hard to know exactly in advance how you will feel and what you feel you will need when it is not upon you, but the reasons for birthing services providing the know your mw schemes is sound and it is designed to improve your experience and hopefully outcome.

#6 Eirinn

Posted 01 November 2012 - 08:30 AM

I thought I didn't need a doula for my VBAC attempt. I was having a homebirth, and I correctly assumed I could cope with contractions on my own.

Well, four days of labour ending in meconium stained waters and a hospital transfer later, I ended up with another caesar. I can't help but wonder if having a doula there for my entire labour would have made a difference - with helping to suggest positions, reflexology, even just the support to feel safe might have made a difference.

#7 Eirinn

Posted 01 November 2012 - 08:32 AM

QUOTE (lucky 2 @ 01/11/2012, 09:20 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I wouldn't see the point of having a doula when you have a one on one mw relationship for pregnancy and birth.
Doubling up in that situation imo.

No, not doubling up if you have a long labour. A midwife isn't a birth support person. Many homebirthers use both a midwife and a doula, and the midwives encourage them to do so.

#8 lucky 2

Posted 01 November 2012 - 09:00 AM

A midwife isn't a birth support person.

I would include birth support in the role of a MW, most definitely, but I get what you are saying.

#9 noi'mnot

Posted 01 November 2012 - 03:22 PM

Thanks so much everybody for your input.

Hmmm, there is an interesting mix of opinions here. I respect the role that a doula could play in a long labour, but am concerned about the doubling up aspect. I'm still up in the air about it.

I might have a chat to my midwife when I see her next week, to see what she says.

Any other experiences and ideas, I'm happy to hear! original.gif

#10 Rumina

Posted 01 November 2012 - 08:05 PM

Your midwife works for the hospital, your doula works for you - that is the difference!

#11 Mung bean

Posted 01 November 2012 - 08:13 PM

I had a very positive birth experience with DS using a doula. The next time I birth will be a homebirth, I will still use a doula.

#12 MrsHerty

Posted 18 November 2012 - 10:57 PM

Your midwife works for the hospital, your doula works for you - that is the difference!

Exactly!! Your Midwife can't be with you from 1st contractions at home through till hours after birth,especially if it's a long labour.Doulas also sometimes know more positions & effective management in other aspects that aren't medical,in my own experiences.
They support you emotionally,especially for a VBAC if your holding onto emotional trauma from a previous birth & are there to calm you if a tricky situation comes up & your Midwife is too busy in the medical side of things.
I am actually having 3 Doulas & my Midwife for my HBA2C.I am a Doula myself & having that support even just in the same house & that energy they bring will calm any worries that may come up.

Edited by MrsHerty, 18 November 2012 - 11:01 PM.

#13 Akeyo

Posted 10 December 2012 - 05:17 PM

Hi OP,

Just wondering what you decided? I am currently weighing up a similar decision (now 20 wks).


#14 Wildence

Posted 17 February 2013 - 01:03 AM


i am in the similar situation and would like to know too.

#15 Minxybug

Posted 17 February 2013 - 01:24 AM

I would hire a doula as well and have done for this pregnancy. Had one during my last pregnancy and she was the best thing ever. I had support from during my pregnancy to a couple of months after birth.

#16 Sunshiney

Posted 18 February 2013 - 06:58 PM

I'm also looking for advice on whether to use a doula.

Here are the basic details:
- first baby;
- going to a birth centre;
- have a team of 5 MWs who'll be there (in shifts) for the birth;
- will get to know all the MWs by meeting them at my apts over the next 22wks.

What do you think? Would it be helpful to have a doula as well as the midwives from my team, or is this doubling up?  What would a doula provide that the MWs wouldn't (other than staying with me the whole way thru)?  Does anyone have experience of going to a birth centre with no doula or with a doula?

#17 Wildence

Posted 19 February 2013 - 12:38 AM

QUOTE (Sunshiney @ 18/02/2013, 07:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm also looking for advice on whether to use a doula.

Here are the basic details:
- first baby;
- going to a birth centre;
- have a team of 5 MWs who'll be there (in shifts) for the birth;
- will get to know all the MWs by meeting them at my apts over the next 22wks.

What do you think? Would it be helpful to have a doula as well as the midwives from my team, or is this doubling up?  What would a doula provide that the MWs wouldn't (other than staying with me the whole way thru)?  Does anyone have experience of going to a birth centre with no doula or with a doula?

well I've decided against it, simply due to the fact that ill be receiving continuity of care from my current midwife (or her colleague, which I know and like a lot)
In your case, it might seem like doubling up? I would say the benefit of having a doula, is mainly for the first part while you are home.

#18 Alina0210

Posted 19 February 2013 - 01:12 AM

Doula doula doula...

#19 Corella

Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:43 AM

There are no situations that a doula doesn't improve original.gif.

#20 CherrySunday

Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:51 AM

Definitely get a Doula!

#21 noi'mnot

Posted 19 February 2013 - 09:07 AM

Hello again all, thanks for so much excellent input. I'm 34 weeks along now.

Coming in to update again. I have spoken to my midwife and the two others in her team (if mine isn't there at the birth I will have one of those other two) about it, and whilst they felt that they can fulfil the role of a doula and midwife, they were happy for me to have one as extra support.

So I interviewed doulas who were available around the time of my birth. And do you know what? I could not find a single one who I wanted to be there. The main problems that I was encountering was a very strong "us v them" attitude towards the hospital, which really grates with me as I'd rather take a collaborative approach with the hospital. I long ago looked at and researched the hospital's clinical guidelines for VBACs and have made it very clear to the hospital which aspects of these I will and will not be consenting to, and which I will be willing to reconsider as labour progresses.

But, even though I came into the discussion with the doulas that I met with this information I really felt like they were a little dismissive of my input on this, thinking that they were just more expert. Of course they're experts, I respect and acknowledge their training and expertise, but the ones that I met just didn't seem to respect that I had been doing all of this work and already had a good idea of what I want in the labour, they all seemed to come in saying "now you're going to refuse this and this and this, and you're not going to do X but you have to do Y and Z". They were also quite dismissive of my caesarian experience, and I was told by all of them "well if X hadn't happened, which by the way was the hospital's fault, then you wouldn't have needed a caesarian". Whilst I acknowledge that there were points in my labour where things could have gone either way, I don't believe that this attitude is particularly helpful at all, and we got a wonderful outcome at the end of a beautiful and healthy baby. They were all totally adversarial with their attitudes towards the hospital.

Truly, I was very disappointed with the 4 doulas that I met. I have read so much good stuff about doulas and was super keen to have this extra support, and I was committed to having one at this birth. But, I was quite disappointed to not find one who could respect my position regarding this birth and my feelings about it all. I really thought that they would be more respectful and understanding.

I'm pretty convinced that I just had really bad luck with the doulas that I interviewed, but I've decided now that I don't need this extra support - I went to a lot of trouble to find the ones that I did speak to, and I can't be bothered going through it all again - so will be going ahead with my VBAC without a doula to back me up. I'll let you all know the outcome once the new baby arrives.

#22 MoonPie

Posted 19 February 2013 - 09:17 AM

Good luck with your VBAC!

I'm also VBACing and have hired a fantastic independent midwife for a hospital birth. We are getting to know her very well during this pregnancy. I also have a student midwife but if it weren't for the student, I'd be hiring a doula (2 support people in the labour ward, SM and DP)

The way I see it, I only get one chance at a VBAC (as I don't think I would attempt a VBA2C), so I'm prepared to throw all the resources I need to at it.

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