One of the best choices I ever made was to have the support of a doula during my first childbirth experience. I hadn’t initially planned on the idea, but after attending some prenatal classes that were taught by a doula, I began to consider it and we found a wonderful woman in the area who was available.
My labour was horrid: after 38 hours I was still only four centimeters dilated, but I credit our doula with helping me hobble through every single contraction. When the contractions first began, my body’s natural urge was to brace myself against the pain and just hold my breath until the pain passed. But once she showed up she coached me on how to breathe through the waves and work with my body instead of against it.
Having another woman present was so empowering, too. Someone who had been through this herself, who was telling me that I was doing a great job, who was there with a variety of pain relief techniques and suggestions. Especially with such a long labour, having two people present (my husband and our doula) was invaluable because they could spell each other off.
With my second pregnancy we booked the same doula since our experience with her had been so positive, but the labour progressed so quickly (thank you, Cervidil!) that we didn’t have time to call her. And you know what? My husband did such a great job as my support person. He was there to offer massages, ice chips, words of encouragement. I think he learned a lot watching our doula in action the first time around and I was so pleased with how he handled the birth of our second daughter.
This time around we are not planning on having a doula. I feel confident in my husband’s capabilities as a support person, I am familiar with the childbirth experience, and my body has done this before.
I would so recommend any first-time moms to consider having a doula for their labour.
Who did you have as a support person when you were in labour? Did they live up to your expectations?