Natural Birth

Doula at homebirth?

Do you think its worth it to have a doula for a homebirth? Isn't that kind of the midwife's job?

I am thinking about having all my bases covered but I also wonder if it's a waste of money/would be a slap in the face to the midwife if we had a doula.

Re: Doula at homebirth?

  • I know of someone who had a doula at their home birth. Her MW worked with mostly Amish women so she had a very hands off approach. My friend wanted someone to go through all of labor with her and they had a great relationship.

    For me, my last birth I had one MW and one apprentice attend. The apprentice was a doula already so she was awesome. If she wasn't there I could have used a doula to help through the contractions. My MW was more interested in charting and the medical part. This time she has 3!! apprentices who will probably all be attending my birth. If they can't provide support between the total 4 of them, there is a serious problem!

    I don't think it would be a slap in the face to a MW if you wanted a doula. I wanted someone by my side constantly because it made me feel like they were "helping" me through contractions. I think my MW would have been fine with me having a doula present.

    Married to the love of my life 8/14/09
    Our sweet little Easton was born at home 3/15/12
    Suprise BFP! 09/20/12 natural m/c 10/09/12
    Baby Heidi was born at home (picture perfect homebirth!) 7/28/13

  • I don't have one specifically, but my midwife's apprentice will act as one.  She's also my Bradley instructor and has become a close friend.  I think it depends on your midwife and her approach.  
    They call me the lightly toasted mama.

  • CelynCelyn
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 5 Love Its
    It depends on what kind of doula you're looking for -- everyone practices differently.  Some hold the space and provide mostly mostly emotional comfort, some are body workers who are doing a lot of physical support, and some do both.  Generally though, she's with you a lot longer than a midwife either way.  Rarely do I see homebirth midwives with the time or energy to devote to a client's early/active labor the way a doula does.  She needs to be well rested for the delivery, so she's on her best game.  She might check in and give advice and do some support, but it's not often continuous.  Sometimes the assistant fills the role of the doula, some times she's too busy assisting the midwife.  
  • I don't think it would be a slap in the face.  You could always ask if she has any doulas she's enjoyed working with in the past.

    The midwife's job is to ensure a safe and healthy delivery for you and the baby.  Doula approaches vary (especially in different settings), but generally their focus is to help the mother stay focused, on track and comfortable (more of a mental/emotional focus), and often to help the father support the mother (offer suggestions such as how to massage, or things to say, etc.). 

    Boy 10.6.13
    Labored at freestanding birth center using hypnobirthing techniques
    Delivered via csection
  • Everyone I know who has had a homebirth has used a doula as well as a midwife. They have different jobs. The doula can show up earlier and help you decide when to call the midwife, etc. Most doulas also offer prenatal and post-partum visits and just a different kind of support. 

    I'm having a doula along w midwife at my hospital birth and my relationship with my doula is much more relaxed and casual, in a good way. She's more like a friend while my midwife feels more matronly. 

    Alternative Housewife - Mama style on a budget

    Mama to Sebastian, born 9/2010 BabyFetus Ticker

  • I think it depends on your midwife. Some come early and provide labor support all through out. Mine would if I asked, but her main interest is to come around the time that I would otherwise go to the hospital (established active labor).  We rehired our doula from our first home birth (and the same midwives) and it's kinda fun to have the same team of 3 ladies coming.  This is my third, and the main reason we hired her again was the chance that I'd have a long or confusing labor pattern since they say your third tends to be a wild card.  In addition, we got a little extra financial support this time to pay for one.

    Looking back though, we had switched to a home birth with my daughter, from a hospital birth.   We had already hired our doula, and she was helpful to us as we assessed options. If we had started out with a home birth from the get-go, I'm not sure we would have hired one, because I hired her for the hospital to have more support in achieving a VBAC. Then I decided to just stay home and had a two hour labor that everyone barely made. Stick out tongue

    So, I think it can go either way. If it's your first baby, a doula could be helpful because I wouldn't expect a midwife to come during early labor, which can last several hours and support can be very helpful then for both mom and dad.   I think a doula can be an especially good support emotionally and mentally for the dad, to not be the only one helping his wife through labor and perhaps sometimes wondering if things are going the way they "should" (in the way that men can worry for their women).  It was also great to have our doula focused on getting me food and drink and making sure DH drinks and eats, since my midwife was focused on assessing progress and tending to me and the baby right after birth.


    My third child and second VBAC baby!
    First VBAC birth story - a 2 hr homebirth
    Second VBAC birth story
    - unattended hospital water birth
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • I never heard of a midwife being offended by a doula. I think most work with them a lot! It really is two different roles. The midwife is more focused directly on the birth, whereas a doula is more like your personal servantgirl [which is the actual meaning of "doula" in Greek], taking care of you: getting you food, helping you to where you want to go, helping you through contractions, making it so your husband doesn't have to try take care of you all by himself when he's a worried excited mess himself...
  • I have photographed many home births, and there is almost always a doula there (and I will have my doula at my home birth). A lot of times, the midwife doesn't show up until around transition (in my experience) so a doula is really helpful.

    Ask your midwife what they think! :)

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