What is a doula?

Until about a year ago, I had no idea what a doula was until my friend Kathleen told me she was going to interview a doula for her birth. The concept seemed so foreign to me at the time, but after hearing the benefits of what a doula would provide for her, I was intrigued. Did you know that doula’s or childbirth professionals/attendants have been around for centuries? I sure didn’t.

Now that I’m pregnant it has been my quest to gain more information on the birthing process. In that quest I have come across through my reading a new understanding of the birthing process, exercises, breathing techniques, positions, medication warnings as well as the benefits of having a birthing attendant as well as a doula. A doula is a childbirth professional who assists the mother before and during the labor process. I have also found that talking to moms that have already experienced childbirth to be very helpful (keep in mind that advice shouldn’t be taken too literally and should be researched on your own before taking their word for it. Everyone has different experiences with births and your birth will most likely differ from their). I love hearing what they went through as what they have learned from it all. The best advice that I’ve learned so far is to always ask the doctor if there are alternative treatments (saying no is not always the best) and to also bring the childbirth book that was most helpful and informative with you to the hospital and have certain pages tagged so you can quickly flip for a quick reference when doctors are wanting you to make important decisions on your birth such as a C-section or taking pain medictaion. Another comment I have been hearing more and more women wanting and looking for are doula’s for their births.

Doula’s sure seem to be becoming more and more popular and I can understand why now that I’ve read more about them as well as heard stories of women who have been assisted by one. Doula’s don’t come cheap though. If you are interested in finding a doula, you may want to check out an online website called San Diego Doula Services or check out the Birth Resource Network. They do a great job explaining what the benefits of hiring a doula are and may help you make that choice. As for me, my husband and I are still weighing the cost and the importance and comfort of having extra support while laboring. It’s sad, but it’s the truth. You can easily spend $600 or more on a doula, but as many women I know that have had the help of a doula, say it is well worth every penny and some.

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