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When I went in to be induced with my second daughter, I was calm.  I had been here previously in a sort of deja-vu fashion when delivering my first daughter. Except this time my husband couldn’t spend the first night of labor with me.  We needed him to be at home with our oldest child.  He tried to convince me otherwise, but I insisted, and when he left for the night, I was all alone.  I think this is one aspect that first-time moms don’t realize about hospital births.  The nurses and staff don’t stay with you the entire time.  They can’t.  This is when I realized that having a doula would have been so valuable.

Doulas are there to support you physically and emotionally.

A doula’s role is to support the mother through the labor and birth process.  Most people immediately think of this as helping with pain management.  Doula’s do help in this way, but they also provide emotional support.  It truly is special to have someone guiding you through your labor and delivery and remaining present for support.

Doulas are familiar with the birth process.

When you are deciding on who to have present in the delivery room, you probably first think about people in your immediate family or your friends.  This is wonderful to be able to include people who are close to you during this time, but have your friends and family ever experienced a birth? Do they know how to support you through each specific stage of labor? And if your family and friends are busy helping and supporting you, who will help and support them? A doula is a wonderful asset not only to a laboring mother but also to those closest to her.

A doula helps and supports. She doesn’t replace your partner or spouse.

Sometimes when a woman brings up wanting to hire a doula for her labor and delivery the spouse’s first reaction is to become defensive or to feel hurt.  It may seem like the doula would be replacing them as the main source of support during such a personal experience, but in fact a doula would most likely enhance the support system that’s already in place.  She can suggest ways that your partner can best support you and together they can help you have an even better birth experience.

You are more likely to have fewer medical interventions when you have a doula present for your labor and delivery.

If one of your goals is to have as few medical interventions as possible during your birth, then having a doula may help. There is evidence to suggest that the presence of a doula may shorten the length of your labor and lower the likelihood that you have a Cesarean birth or other medical interventions.

A doula can act as your advocate.

An advocate is someone who supports your decisions and helps facilitate positive communication between you and your care provider. This is important for families if they need time to discuss parts of the decision making process without feeling pressured.  A doula is also extremely helpful to patients who may feel ignored or misunderstood.  Having someone who helps you feel like your voice is being heard and that you are being supported will only make your birth experience that much better.