Doing It Without A Doula

In this economy, many of us are doing without.

Scenario:  You’re planning a hospital birth and all the literature you read suggests that you hire a doula.  The research confirms that using a doula may reduce your interventions, may help you avoid a cesarean, and may increase your satisfaction with your birth.  Even a prominent obstetrics journal rated doula care as “one of the most effective interventions.”  Ok.  You believe it.  But resources are tight.  How will you hire a doula?

Before taking the suggestion I’m about to make, first talk to every doula you can find.  Ask about sliding scales, payment plans, or bartering.  See if there is a student doula who needs a few free births to complete her certification.  Student doulas can be wonderful assets to a laboring family.  And often, the mere presence of a doula sends a message to caregivers that you are serious about your birth experience.  Contact Upstate BirthNetwork and see if they have recommendations for free or low-cost doulas.

If you find yourself in the final countdown without a doula, consider taking my “Doing it without a doula” crash course.  I’ve put together a 2 hour crash course for couples who plan to go it alone at the hospital.  I pack in a whole lot of information into 2 hours; though I will customize it to your unique situation.  I’ll talk to you about:

  • Getting your body and your baby favorable for birth
  • Staying low risk and avoiding pitfalls in the final weeks
  • How to labor at home and recognize when to go to the hospital
  • What to expect at the hospital
  • Common interventions
  • And if we have time, postpartum and breastfeeding

I’ve also offered on-call phone support packages for couples who lived in a different region or could not/did not want a in-person doula.

Part of me cringes even offering this crash course because my hope is that couples find great resources for doula care and complete childbirth education.  But I also know that time and money are often scarce these days.

So keep this last-ditch option in mind if you find yourself doing it without a doula!