Should you use a doula to give birth?

Why should I hire a doula? This is why you need someone to support you through labor and delivery, and what to check to ensure she will assist you.

 Pregnant woman (illustrative) (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Pregnant woman (illustrative)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Why should you hire someone who will help you as labor progresses through childbirth? Chen Ackerman Elbaz, maternity mentor and doula, provides guidance for undecided mothers.

All pregnant women think about what it will be like to give birth. 

Some women are afraid and don’t want to think about how painful it will be, while other women organize everything in advance down to the last detail, and plan what the experience will look like. 

What all women know upfront is who, besides their partners, will be with them during the contractions and pain. Most often it will be the spouse, sometimes her mom, and sometimes a close friend. Recently, many women are also choosing to use doula services.

 What’s a doula?

Chen Ackerman Elbaz, a childbirth mentor and a doula, explains that a doula receives training on how to help women during pregnancy and childbirth. Doulas give emotional and physical support, and studies show that women who gave birth with a doula used less painkillers, needed fewer cesareans or forceps births, and labor was shorter. Women using doulas also reported having less anxiety during labor and believed they would cope better with the birth process.

In real time, that is, in the delivery room, the doula provides physical support, gives all the information the laboring mom needs and therefore helps the couple make informed decisions about the birth. Also, a doula can prevent the need for induction by using oils and pressure points, which can change and promote childbirth.

(Credit: Ingimage)(Credit: Ingimage)

What to check when choosing a doula?

Chemistry:

It’s very important to meet in person with the doula and see that you connect with and feel comfortable with her since birth is an intimate and vulnerable process. Bring your partner and anyone else you want with you during labor to also meet the doula.

What’s the process?:

Talk with the doula about the process. If she helps you prepare for labor, how long she’ll stay with you after the birth, her training, what services she offers, in which hospitals she works and of course - price.

Treatment methods:

Ask the doula if she uses aromatherapy oils, reflexology, shiatsu to speed up childbirth, guided imagery, other massage techniques, breathing, movement and more. You need to know which methods she uses.

Availability:

Ask how many clients she has around your due date,  how close she lives to the hospital you want to deliver in, is she available 24/7 and if she has a back-up. Take time to meet her substitute to be sure you are also comfortable with her.

Approach:

Ask the doula how she handles various issues. Does she include your partner and other support people as a team or does she sideline them?

Coordinating expectations:

Some time before your due date, tell the doula what you expect from her at your birth and be in sync with all processes.