Doula Myths: BUSTED
So you've heard of the term doula - and since you made it to this blog post, you might have an idea about what a doula is. But there are many misconceptions about what a doula is and is not, who they are, and why some consider a doula essential to birth. Let's dive into some of these misconceptions and set the record straight.
MYTH#1: A doula is basically a midwife - just cheaper.
Although midwives and doulas both work with women who are pregnant and giving birth, they are actually two totally different fields. A midwife is a medical professional, performs clinical tasks and can offer medical advice. A doula is a support person for the parents and provides physical, emotional, and educational support. There is actually a lot of psychology behind the work of a doula, and they are NOT the same as a midwife, and should not be used in place of a midwife. A doula works best in conjunction with your chosen medical team (nurses, doctors, midwives, etc) to offer a holistic birth experience.
MYTH #2: You shouldn't have a doula if you're not having a home birth or an unmedicated birth.
You might have a stereotype of doulas that they only support women who choose to give birth completely unmedicated or at home, but the truth is that doulas are here for every birthing person regardless of how the birth goes. This means that doulas support every type of birth and offer support without judgement. Our job is to help you make the decisions that work best for you and your family. If that includes pain meds, cesarean section, or other interventions, then we are equipped to support you through that! You might think that because you're opting for an epidural that you don't need a doula, but doulas can offer support and pain relief while you're waiting for the epidural, keep communication smooth between you and the medical staff, and provide reliable support and education throughout your pregnancy. Doulas are for everyone!
MYTH #3: A doula will take over the role of my partner.
Let's first address this with a fact: A doula is just as helpful to the non-birthing partner as to the person in labor. Birth can be difficult and exhausting for both people, and a doula is ready to support the whole family throughout the pregnancy and birth. Doulas can help guide a non-birthing parent to support the birthing parent through touch, massage, acupressure, and more. A doula can also provide rest for the non-birthing parent and remind them to eat/drink/rest when necessary, and of course provides education and information regarding their options in birth and labor. A doula is not made to replace your partner, but to help your partner be an active participant in the birth.
MYTH #4: A doula will argue with my care providers.
First of all: yikes. The last thing a person needs in the middle of their labor is to have an argument in their room to increase their adrenaline, stall labor, and ruin the experience. Your doula should never get into an argument with care providers, contradict their advice, or cause unnecessary tension during your birth. Instead, your doula will work with you in prenatal sessions to understand what your birth wishes are, to educate you about scenarios that might require a change of plans, and how to effectively communicate these wishes with your care providers before your birth. If for some reason your wishes are not being respected by your care providers, your doula may remind you of your right to accept or deny interventions and facilitate a discussion to get everyone on the same page, but this should never result in an argument.
MYTH #5: A doula shows up for the labor and birth and then leaves.
Each doula-client relationship may be different, but doulas have much more to offer than labor and birth support. It is typical for doulas to have at least 2 prenatal sessions with their clients to discuss their wishes, options with risks and benefits, and any other information that might be relevant. Many doulas also offer continual support through email, text, or phone calls throughout your pregnancy and will also have at least one postpartum visit after your birth. Aside from the physical support, doulas offer non-stop emotional and educational support and can be a great resource for families throughout their pregnancy and after the birth.
FACT: The doula is an objective, trustworthy person who will do everything in their power to support you
During the life-altering events of pregnancy and childbirth, the doula can be your biggest champion, supporter, and advocate. Since a doula is hired by and works directly for YOU, you can be sure that we have your interests at the top of our priority list. While doctors, nurses, and midwives can also be incredibly supportive to you, ultimately they are employed by and accountable to your medical institution. Having a doula working directly to support you can make all the difference in your experience.