There are common ideas regarding the kind of woman who should hire a doula. Some think doulas are only for hippy, crunchy moms. Some think doulas are only for those without a partner. Perhaps you think doulas are only for those seeking unmedicated birth. So that leaves the question, are you the kind of woman who should hire a doula?
1.) A woman who is planning a medicated OR unmedicated birth should consider a hiring a doula. Doula support is about so much more than pain management. The prenatal support of a doula is invaluable. In addition to that, a doula can help with comfort measures prior to the administration of pain medication (sometimes it can take time for the anesthesiologist to be available, and sometimes the doctor will not allow an epidural until a certain dilation is reached). There are also times when pain medication is ineffective, and times when labor progresses too quickly for an epidural. Doulas can also help with position changes to encourage labor progress in women with and without epidurals. Even if you have an epidural, that does not mean you must labor on your back! Hire a doula with knowledge of comfort measures and different positions for labor and birth regardless of your plans regarding pain management.
2.) A woman who has a partner, family member, or friend present to support her in birth OR a woman who is birthing alone should consider hiring a doula. Studies show that the presence of a doula yields different results than just having friends and/or family present. Your friends and family bring an intimate knowledge of and love for you, and your doula brings knowledge and experience in birth support.
3.) A woman who is birthing with an obstetrician OR a woman who is birthing with a midwife should consider hiring a doula. Obstetricians and midwives oversee the clinical aspects of labor and birth. Their primary responsibility lies in the well being of you and your baby. A doula does not carry this responsibility, which frees her to focus on supporting you physically and emotionally during labor and birth. While your medical care provider might come and go throughout your labor, your doula will remain with you throughout your labor and into the immediate postpartum period.
4.) A woman who is hippy, crunchy, conservative, liberal, traditional, eclectic, OR anywhere in between should consider hiring a doula. All women should be supported in pregnancy and birth. Doulas themselves come from different backgrounds and different personalities and styles. Interview until you find the right fit!
5.) A woman planning a spontaneous labor, induced labor, OR planned cesarean should consider hiring a doula. While the support needs might look different depending on the circumstances of your birth, a doula is able to offer customized support to meet those needs.
6.) A woman having her first child OR her second, third, fourth, etc child should consider hiring a doula. Every birth is different! I have had five children myself, and I can tell you that not one birth was like any other. While consecutive pregnancies and births might not carry the same uncertainty as the first, each and every pregnancy and birth is unique and benefits from the support of a trained professional.
I could keep going but I'll bet you have noticed a pattern here. There is no set type of woman who should hire a doula. The right doula for you is out there, and I would love to chat with you further to share how I can support you in your birth, no matter which of the above categories you might fall into.