Do I need a doula if... I take a childbirth class?
Welcome to the first of a blog series, "Do I need a doula if...?" As a doula, I highly encourage you to take a childbirth class. You will learn the normal process of birth, the choices and options you have, and some about interventions and birth support. Doulas often do not have time in prenatals to cover all that you will learn in a childbirth class. So why do you still need a doula?
* Childbirth classes can not cover every aspect or situation that may arise during birth. As prepared as you might feel from a class, often unexpected things occur. Each birth unfolds in a unique way and there is just no way to cover every possibility in a class. Doulas are trained in helping you navigate through process of labor and anything that may come up. We help you know the questions to ask or if there may be other options. If necessary, we listen and help you accept when a change of plan is needed.
* As much as you learn or read in pregnancy, sometimes that is hard to translate into birth while you are experiencing it. Mom's only concern should be coping with labor and typically moms do this best when they are not in their "thinking mind". This can even be hard for dads who are emotionally involved in the process as well. It helps to have someone who has a clear mind and supported many births to offer a suggestion or remind them of a position or technique. Doulas are also great at protecting the space for Mom and Dad to figure out how to cope with labor. A doulas calming presence and attention to detail helps create the optimal environment for birthing.
* It takes the pressure off Dad. Dad doesn't have to remember everything they were taught in class or recognize when the mom needs specific things. Dads are amazing and vital support, but it is hard for them to physically & emotionally support mom, keep an eye on and listen to what the nurses and doctors are doing or suggesting, and advocate for their desires and needs. This is more than a one person job. Doulas free the Dad to be completely available to mom, while the doula is aware of what is going on in the room or use her experience to know what might best comfort mom in that moment, as well as giving Dad much needed breaks!
For these reasons, and many more, childbirth classes do not replace the value of a doula's support!