If you are pregnant, you probably have a good doctor already. This begs the question, why should you also hire a doula? Think about it. As labor and delivery are far from a piece of cake, having some extra support can be incredibly reassuring. A birth doula can really help you during this important moment in your life, especially if you’re going to become a parent for the first time.

What is a doula?

A doula’s job differs from that of a midwife or doctor. She is a professional labor coach who provides you with support at the end of your pregnancy and throughout your labor and delivery. Her role is to be by your side during childbirth, help you to manage pain via relaxation techniques and provide you with all the emotional care you will need. A doula’s purpose is also to answer all of your questions about pregnancy and the big day, as well as to help you to create your birth plan.

Why should you hire a birth doula?

If you are a first-time, inexperienced mom, you might find the support of a doula really beneficial. As we all know, giving birth can be scary and painful. Thanks to her knowledge and experience, your doula is able to provide you with much needed advice and reassurance before the big day. For instance, she can answer your questions about pregnancy and how to prepare for labor and delivery, as well as calm your doubts and fears.

Her role is also to help you make your birth plan by discussing together the different alternatives available to you. The purpose of this document is to make your wishes clear regarding labor and delivery, for instance, if you want an epidural or a C-section.

Your doula will stay by your side all throughout the process of labor and delivery, to support you and give you guidance, so that you feel as comfortable as possible with what’s happening. She can, for instance, recommend you positions that will help with pain release, or teach you techniques to relax. She may also treat you with a massage to reduce the pain. Additionally, she is there to help you understand what’s going on, what the doctors are doing, etc.

After birth, you may also consider hiring a postpartum doula whose role is to help you take care of your baby during his or her first days at home.

Can a doula help reduce the pain related to labor and delivery?

What with all the doubts and worries associated with labor and delivery, as well those related to becoming a mom, many women find having a doula really useful. When your partner feels a little overwhelmed in the room, the presence of a doula can also be quite reassuring.

Unlike midwives and doctors who may be forced to attend to other patients and may not always communicate effectively with you, the doula stays in the room with you the whole time and explains anything that the medical staff might have forgotten to tell you.

Moreover, studies show that having continuous support during labor may help reduce any associated pain and, therefore, women are less likely to require pain-relief medication. Being with a doula also tends to shorten the duration of labor and reduces the need for a cesarean section. Additionally, women who receive the support of a doula report having a more satisfying childbirth experience.

If you’re thinking of giving birth naturally and without medication, you might consider hiring a doula.

How much does hiring a doula cost?

You may need to spend between several hundred to more than two thousand dollars, depending on the doula you are getting and the services that she provides (discussions before birth, full-time labor and delivery support, postpartum support).

However, whereas hiring a doula is often recommended by doctors, these expenses are rarely covered by health insurance.

Don’t worry though, as hiring a doula can be affordable. For example, you may be able to spend less by hiring a doula in training who is in need of experience. Others are also willing to reduce their rates to cater to those with lesser means.