It’s awesome that you’ve got someone ready and willing to support you through your birth but why have just one person when you can have a whole team?! As a doula I never try to or want to replace the important role of a birth partner, if anything I’m there to support you both. Someone to hold your hand when your birth partner needs a break, someone to make sure you know all of your options and rights, someone to help create the right birthing environment or fetch tea and snacks during your birth! A birth doula is your advocate, a continuous support from the first call to the last, another supporter on your team.
That’s great too, even more supporters on your team! However, although the roles of birth doulas and midwives might seem similar, they are really quite different. For a start a midwife is a trained medical professional, a doula is not. A midwife is responsible for the clinical wellbeing of you and your baby, a doula is not. Doula’s don’t do that. My focus is providing physical, emotional and informational support rather than clinical. Of course a midwife can do that too but it is not their only focus; they may not be able to support you in early labour, you may not have had a chance to get to know the midwife that attends your birth, you may not be the only woman your midwife is supporting. So why not have both? Your doula and midwife can work together to give you the top-rate support that you deserve.
A doula can still provide invaluable support if you have a caesarean birth, planned or emergency and can help to facilitate a positive birth experience. Even if I cannot physically be present during the birth (although this is sometimes an option!), I can support you practically and emotionally before surgery so you feel as relaxed as possible and be your advocate, supporting you in your choices. I can support you during your pregnancy; inform you of your options and help you to understand what to expect and guide you in writing your birth wish list. After the birth, I can help to facilitate skin-to-skin, bonding and breastfeeding and support with self-care and debriefing your birth. A caesarean birth certainly does not mean that you can’t benefit from the support of a doula.
When you’re facing all of the costs that seem to come with having a baby, the clothes, the bugaboo, the cot… a doula can seem like an expensive addition. But can you afford not to have one? Of course, the presence of a doula at your birth cannot guarantee the birth you want but studies do suggest that doula supported births lead to better birth and breastfeeding outcomes. If you really can’t afford the cost of a doula there may still be a way so chat with your preferred doula to see what she can do. I offer payment plans so you can spread out the cost and I fully support the Doula UK access fund for families who are on a low income and unable to afford a doula.
In truth, women probably don’t need doulas, they are strong and capable, their bodies already knowing how to bring their babies into the world. I don’t doubt that you know what you’re doing and it’s fantastic that you are already brimming with confidence leading up to your birth. Perhaps though you could still benefit from a sounding board as your pregnancy progresses and you develop your plan, perhaps you could still benefit from the continuity of care a doula can provide, perhaps you could still benefit from having another advocate by your side, on your team.
A doula wants to support the birth you imagine, whatever that may be. Whether it's your first or fourth baby, whether you are staying at home or going to hospital. I will be your sounding board, your advocate, your continuous support. So maybe you do want a doula on your team after all? Check out Doula UK, the Nurturing Birth Directory and Abuela Doulas to find the right doula for you and have a gander around my site to read more about me and how I might support you.
Much love x