Doulas are present at only 6% of all births. In recent years more people have been hiring a doula for their birth, but there are still a lot of uncertainties and myths surrounding what a doula does. Hopefully this post will help to set some things straight.
1. A doula is like a midwife
Wrong. A midwife has specialized medical training in the processes of pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum care, and women’s health. A doula does not have any medical training. I will not check your blood pressure, test you for gestational diabetes, or tell you how effaced you are. A doula is not a trained medical person and has no place performing any medical tasks. That is left to the competent doctors, midwives, and nurses.
2. A doula makes you follow a specific birth plan
Nope. At least, a good one doesn’t. As a doula I am not there to live out my perfect birth through you. I’m there to do my best to help YOU achieve YOUR best birth, regardless of what that looks like.
3. A doula is only for “natural” births.
False. Like mentioned in number 2 above, I don’t care what you’re birth plan looks like, or how it differs from mine. I care that you were respected and supported in your decisions. Doulas have unique tools and training to support women though unmedicated births, medicated births, inductions, and cesareans.
4. A doula won’t let you deviate from the birth plan.
Again, false. Birth is anything but predictable and having a doula present can help physically, mentally, and emotionally when labor doesn’t go quite as planned. Furthermore, a doula is there to support you, no matter what. That means that if YOU decide to go off course your doula will continue to offer non-judgmental support.
5. A doula takes the place of the husband.
No. No. No. A doula does not and will not take the place of the husband. Your husband is the person in the room who knows you best. Whether he believes it or not, he plays a vital role in the birth process. During labor, your husband is like you’re right hand…and your doula is like you’re left hand. Both work together, as a team, to help you experience a positive birth.
What other myths have you heard about doulas?