One of the things I kept seeing during my initial research on how to have a natural hospital birth is that doulas are an amazing resource. I honestly had no idea what a doula was, but quickly learned that they are super helpful to moms (and their partner) during labor. I also found out that there are different types of doulas! Intrigued? I was too. Keep reading to find out more about what a doula is and to see my top tips on how to find a doula and why you might want one.
How to Find a Doula and Why You Might Want One
WHAT IS A DOULA?
A doula is someone who is trained to assist a woman during labor and childbirth. They are trained in things like laboring techniques if you desire a natural birth, and offer support for the woman and her partner. Many pregnant women seek doulas because they typically lessen the need for unnecessary medical intervention, and provide encouragement for moms who choose to deliver naturally.
One of the biggest benefits of having a doula at your birth is that they typically come to your home and help you labor there as long as possible, which is super amazing! Because if you’re anything like I was as a first time mom, you think you’re super far along in labor, but actually have no idea when it’s time to go to the hospital! Having a doula there for support so you can stay at home as long as possible is a huge plus, and a big part of the reason we decided to hire one.
WHY MIGHT WANT ONE
There are several reasons a family might want to hire a doula. For us, it’s because we have to give birth in a hospital setting, so I wanted extra support and an advocate there for me during that time.
Here’s a mini list of all of the services a doula may provide:
-help you discuss and formulate your birth plan
-massage and other comfort techniques
-offer a plethora of positions for comfort during labor
-help keep you focused emotionally/physically
-provide support and encouragement to you and your birth partner
-birth photography and/or videos
-act as an advocate in situations where intervention isn’t necessary
-postpartum help/support to mom and family
The cesarean rate is now almost 30% in America. That means that 1 out of every 3 babies that are delivered are born via c-section. Unfortunately, many of those are unnecessary c-sections. It’s horribly depressing, but having someone there to advocate for you and your family’s birth choices is almost essential if you are going to deliver in a hospital.
The good news is, though, that many people have doulas there for emotional support during home births and birth center births, which is great! My birth partner didn’t take it upon himself to train in massage or labor techniques (haha) but my doula knows all of that stuff, so I’m thankful that I have her there for the support I’ll need, in addition to all of the research and notes I’ve taken on natural birth.
HOW TO FIND A DOULA
This one was rough for me, initially. I wasn’t sure how I should go about finding a doula since I don’t know very many people where I live. I also don’t know very many moms who used doulas and also wanted natural births (which might explain my feeling like I didn’t need to research much the first time around) but all that to say, finding a doula isn’t REALLY that hard. Here’s how to do it.
Start by asking around. Asking friends and family who may have used a doula for their birth is the best place to begin, because they will have a firsthand experience and review of the person they used! I know several mamas who used the same doula their sister had, etc., so start by asking your friends and family.
Ask friends on social media. I’m in a few local mom groups, so I after I asked my in real life friends I went online and asked those local mom groups. I got a great response from this and was able to look at the doula’s websites based on the local mom’s recommendations. I actually ended up choosing one that several moms in my area had used, so yay! Success!
Use DoulaMatch.com. If you still aren’t having any luck, you can always look at yelp and/or other websites like Doula Match because they have reviews, and answers to all of the certification questions you may have as well. I like Doula Match because it also lists services the doula may provide. It’s super easy to search by city and state too. I ended up looking up the doula I chose on Doula Match just because I was curious, and I was glad to see that she had wonderful reviews on there.
So that concludes my lengthy post on doulas. I definitely wish I had known about them before I got pregnant, but oh well! At least this post is here to help someone else who may want a doula but doesn’t know it yet 🙂
I hope this blog post on how to find a doula and why you might want one was helpful to you! Thank you so much for reading!