As a Doula I am often asked many questions in regards to the benefits of having a doula. The question I receive the most is, “I am planning to have an epidural; do I still need a doula? If so,what are the benefits/what can you do for me?”
Absolutely! If you are planning to have an epidural you can have a doula. Many people believe that doulas are only helpful for unmedicated births. That is far from the truth. Doulas provide support before, during, & after the birth. An epidural is just one of many tools offered to a mother for pain relief, but an epidural cannot provide the same support that a doula can. I am going to share with you 6 ways a doula can still provide support.
A doula can help a mom change position in bed for comfort & labor progress. Lying in bed in the same position can not only become uncomfortable, but it can also cause labor progression to stall. Many doulas use a peanut ball placed between mom’s legs to help keep her pelvis open.
• Comfort Measures:
A doula can help manage the laboring mom’s environment (ex. lighting, temperature, music, etc.). A doula can bring mom a cool washcloth, ice chips, extra pillows, and more. Doulas can also provide massage.
• Pain Management:
Break through pain is fairly common with an epidural. A doula can provide pain management techniques before the epidural, during the procedure, and after the epidural if it doesn’t adequately cover the pain.
• Continuous Support:
When a mom has a doula it also allows her partner and other support system to be able to take breaks and get some rest knowing that mom is being taken care of.
• Communication with Care Providers:
A doula can help facilitate discussions with care providers. They are a bridge between the medical system and their clients. They may help clients formulate questions, determine options, and provide information so the laboring woman can make an informed decision. Doulas work to convey your goals and desires to the medical staff. A doula CAN NOT speak for or make decisions for a mom and her partner.
• Help with Pushing:
When it is time for mom to push, doulas can suggest techniques and provide coaching to help make the process easier.
There are many other benefits to having a doula even if you plan to have an epidural. Using doulas has been shown to have some very positive effects on labor and birth outcomes. If you are interested in a doula and are not sure if one can be helpful in your birth plan please contact us and let us explain how we can help you.
Written By: Terry R.
We are a team of doulas working together to serve clients and provide a wide variety of support and education.