Numerous celebs have recently endorsed hiring a doula and have been delighted with the results. Indeed, in a recent Irish publication it was found that mothers who hired a doula had a better outcome in birth than mothers who didn’t. It also showed specifically that having a doula can reduce caesarean rates and length of labour. You can read about that here.
But what does a doula really do? And how do they differ from what a doctor, midwife, and birth partner can provide you during pregnancy and labour?
A whole lot actually.
Loosely translated from the Greek ‘doula’ means handmaiden, and traditionally women trained in childbirth have formed part of a team that is present during and directly after childbirth. The aim of a doula is to provide emotional and psychological support through the pregnancy and birthing process. And as the de-medicalisation of childbirth continues to grow in popularity, having a doula there to help you ‘just try one more thing’ before succumbing to an epidural seems to be a no brainer.
Some doulas specialise in providing assistance during pregnancy and birth, while others may provide care in the postpartum period. Some do both of these things and it’s important to find someone that fits your specific needs. Whatever your birth plan or circumstances your doula is there to encourage you and provide you with sound advice and help every step of the way.
Where do you find a doula?
Often doulas are recommended through the hospital you will be giving birth in by your consultant and/or midwife. If not, you can check out the Irish websites to learn more about doulas in your area.
Does a doula take the place of my birth partner?
In no way will a doula take the place of your birth partner. A doula is there to support both of you (mainly mum) through the birthing process. And that doesn’t mean that your partner won’t be able to help you through it too.
How much will a doula cost?
Though expensive, doulas have recently become more and more popular in Ireland, with celebrities like Sile Seoige recently citing the benefits of her doula during the birth of her first child. Doulas can typically cost approximately €900 full whack, which adds up to approximately €10 – €15 an hour. Often described as ‘worth their weight in gold’ doulas provide mums with hands on experience and guidance during birth.
Why hire a doula?
Unlike a doctor or a midwife, a doulas ‘shift’ only ends once the baby is born and the parents are happy and ready to be on their own. As well as this, a doula’s attention is always with the mother. She doesn’t leave your side during the labour process be that one hour, 12 hours or 24 hours.
What should I ask my potential doula?
When hiring anyone you have to be prepared to ask a few questions and know what kind of answers you’re looking for. Here’s a rough guide for when you interview your potential doulas.
- What training do you have?
- How many clients do you take at one time?
- Are you available around my due date?
- How do you most often provide support to women in labour?
- How many births have you been present for?
- Do you have any references?
- Why did you become a doula?
- What are your fees?
If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact your medical care team, consultant or GP.