Should You Consider Using a Doula?
Congratulations on your pregnancy! This is an exciting but often scary time for both the mommy-to-be and daddy-to-be.
This is especially true when it’s your first pregnancy and are unsure what to expect from the birthing experience.
If you are have pregnancy questions, are anxious about labor, or want assistance with your first weeks with baby, then you may consider using a doula.
What is a Doula?
As explained by American Baby, doulas are women who are trained to provide comfort and support to women before, during and after labor.
There are three types of doulas—antepartum doula, labor doula, postpartum doula. The antepartum doula helps moms who are experiencing a high-risk pregnancy and may or may not have been put on bed rest. The labor doula provides support during the labor process. And the postpartum doula supports women in the first weeks of their new job as a mom.
Some doulas specialize in one area, while others offer services offered by antepartum, labor and postpartum doulas.
How a Doula can Help
Doulas provide a wide array of services during the pregnancy and labor process, including the following:
Explanations of procedures
Assistance with creating a birthing plan
Natural pain relief methods
Communication with medical staff
A written record of the birth
Women who have used a doula found that the services offered helped make a positive birth experience. In fact, according to American Pregnancy Association, a recent Cochrane Review titled Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth found that when a doula was participating in the birth, moms were less likely to need medications and less likely to have a cesarean section.
The American Pregnancy Association also reports that other studies found having a doula present decreased the c-section rate by 50 percent, the length of labor by 25 percent, and the request for an epidural by 60 percent.
Who can Benefit from a Doula?
Many women think doulas are just for moms who are looking for a natural, non-medicated birth. However, doulas are still able to provide support to women who plan on a medicated birth or have a scheduled cesarean. Doulas are able to work with the moms to deal with any side effects of the medication and discomfort that lingers even with the medication. With a cesarean, the doula often fills an emotional need by explaining each step in the procedure.
Regardless of your birthing plan, a postpartum doula is helpful for all moms. They can help you settle into the routines associated with caring for a new baby, while also helping you run your household. If you plan to breastfeed, they can also guide you through that process to ensure your baby gets a healthy start.
The Costs of a Doula
As you can imagine, the services of a doula can cost quite a bit (sometimes up to $1,500!). And, unfortunately, they often are not covered by medical insurance plans.
However, before you pull out your credit card to cover the expenses, you can consider utilizing your flexible spending account (FSA) to pay for the services.
Also, student doulas are available to assist moms; these students are fully trained but need the service hours in order to achieve certification. These students typically offer their services for free.
Daniela Baker is a social media advocate at the consumer credit card comparison website, CreditDonkey. She is also a mother of 2 and blogger.
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