We often hear that doulas are only for a certain type of woman wanting a certain type of birth, but thankfully that just isn’t true! As doulas we offer support to a wide variety of women and families; women from different communities, with different needs, and planning all kinds of births. We thought we would bust some myths about doulas, what we do and who we support…
1. Isn’t a doula just like a midwife?! I don’t need both.
In short no! A doula is not just like a midwife. Each role is very distinct, and has a different place in a woman’s birthing journey.
A midwife’s job is focused on the physical well being of a woman and her baby, centred around the clinical aspects of pregnancy and birth.
Doulas on the other hand are not clinically trained, so we don’t perform clinical tasks or give medical advice – that’s where your doctor or midwife might come in! Instead we give you emotional, physical, and practical support, and signpost to relevant information, so that you can make informed choices yourself.
2. I have a birth partner already, I wouldn’t want a doula to replace them!
We love that you have a supportive birth partner, and we would never want to replace them, or interfere with the relationship you have with them. We imagine they know you better than we ever could, and that is so special and valuable – especially in the birth space.
As doulas we want to work with birth partners; supporting them to be a confident support for you. Sometimes this will look like reassurance and guidance for them, or we might take on more practical tasks so your birth partner can focus on giving you all the emotional and physical support you need. We are there to step in so they can take a break: during labour your body is flooded with all kinds of good hormones so you can stay in your birthing bubble – but it is always the cold light of day for your birth partner. It can be a huge comfort to know they are able to step out to eat, sleep, use the toilet etc. and be in the best place possible to support you.
We would hope to get to know your birth partner antenatally, and we even offer a separate meeting with them so we can really work together as a team to give you the very best support.
3. Doulas are only for women who are having a natural home birth.
Doulas are for all women and every birth! We want to support you to have whatever kind of birth you want, be that a hospital birth with pain relief, a caesarean birth, a home water birth, or anything in between.
We support your birth choices with compassion and without judgement. We want to help ensure that you feel respected throughout your pregnancy and birth, and supported in the choices you make so you can look back on your experience positively, with warmth and pride.
4. I can’t have a doula because I’m having a caesarean.
A doula can still provide invaluable support if you have a caesarean birth. Here are just some of the ways we can give support:
- Support you to be informed about what to expect and what your options are
- Guide you in writing your birth preferences
- Be an advocate for you and support you in your birth choices
- Support you pre-theatre, practically and emotionally, so you feel as relaxed as possible and looking forward to the birth of your baby
- Be present for you, your birth partner and your baby throughout, and hold space for whatever is going on for you at the time
- Help to facilitate skin-to-skin, bonding, and breastfeeding after birth
- Give you practical and emotional support after your caesarean, helping with self-care and giving you the opportunity to reflect back on your birthing experience with us.
5. Doulas are too expensive!
We know that hiring a doula can be a big investment for some, but is your birth experience worth investing in?
Women who choose to invest in doula support are less likely to need an epidural, less likely to have a caesarean birth, and more likely to birth at home, with better rates of exclusive breastfeeding at six weeks compared with national average.*
Saying that, we know that the cost of doula support can be a barrier for lots of women. Whilst we still have bills to pay, and families of our own to support, we are not in this for the money – we love what we do and are passionate about supporting women. We want to be as accessible as possible for all women, so if you want our support please don’t let finances stop you from getting in touch!