Do I need a doula if I have a great birth partner (husband, sister, girlfriend, BFF, etc.)? This might be our most common question! You have a supportive, awesome husband, or a partner who can’t wait to be there for you. Your mom has had 8 kids and is over the moon to be at the birth of her first grandchild. Your sister is your best friend and she’s ready! That’s so wonderful – there is nothing we love more than for you to have enthusiastic, loving support, and we still have plenty to do! Chances are your birth partner hasn’t had a lot of
You might not realize that most of the time in a hospital, the two of you will be alone; your partner is going to need to eat, use the bathroom, maybe take a breather. Nurses will be in and out as they have several patients. Doctors come in for a brief check every few hours. Midwives at birth centers may have more than one laboring mom to attend. A doula can answer questions, help determine when it is time to call a nurse, or do little things like getting juice and ice while the birth partner stays. If the birth partner does need to leave, for food or a break, a doula suggests the right timing for them to be out of the room so you’re not alone and they don’t miss anything crucial.
As much as we like you, we’re not in love with you. We keep a clear head, and help you make decisions that are best for you. A husband may have a hard time seeing his wife struggle, and suggest pain medication before the mom really needs or wants it. Your friend might think you should birth the same way she did, or your mother might panic if a doctor is just suggesting an intervention and try to insist you have it. A doula never has a dog in the fight; we want you to have what you want. We provide information and impartial suggestions, but no decision-making or persuading. Sometimes just having a cool head in the room changes the game.
If you have a birth partner who usually is awesome but sometimes gets on your nerves, talk to your doula. She can be looking for the actions or words that bother you and help steer your birth partner away from those. In extreme cases, we can even suggest something “helpful” your partner can be doing elsewhere, to give you a breather from their company!
So, do you need a doula even if your husband, sister, best friend, or whoever is fantastic? Maybe you don’t need one, but you may find you really do want one!