This is often a big question parents ask when it comes to planning their birth.
Initially, having a doula may seem like an added accessory to a birth. Something all the celeberties are having, making it seem like a luxury.
Another thought is that a doula is somewhat a replacement for something. So perhaps a mother is giving birth without a partner, and needs “someone” there. Or maybe a woman feels her husband won’t cope well with labour, and therefore she needs a doula to help him support her, or to simply do the job of supporting her.
Then there are those who are facing a more challenging birth and feel they just need the extra support, someone who is with them and who will not stand in their way when the day comes. Perhaps they are having a VBAC, or are classed as “high risk” and therefore seek out and find the support of a doula.
In all these cases, it may seem easy to understand why people are hiring a doula, However what about the mother with a low risk pregnancy, an incredibly supportive tuned in partner, and supportive health care providers? Aside from the evidence for doulas, what difference will having a doula there on the day make?
Every doula has her own personality, skill set, and way of working, and a mother will likely choose her doula based on this. However the biggest part of what any doula does, regardless of her level of experience, who she is working for and the reasons they hired her, or her level of skill, is to be there.
There is also evidence to suggest doulas not only make a difference in the birth experience, but also afterwards, mothers have been found at six weeks after to birth to be less anxious or depressed, more confident with their babies, more satisfied with their partner, and more likely to be breastfeeding.
It can help to speak to other parents who have used a doula. Have a look at the various testimonials on a variety of doula websites and consider whether having a doula might make a difference for you.