I watched the Today Show this morning on Doula's asking if they are helpful or not. The segment didn't lean either way to me, but I don't think that the segment was long enough to present it well or give enough information. I did agree that you have to meet and interview a doula to find the right one for you. Not all personalities fit together. You can go to DONA.org to find out the requirements of a Doula and also find doula's in your area. They also have the article from the Today show on there too. http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/27808452/
The segment did mention some doula's being trained by nurses or midwives, and some being trained by people that have just been a doula. I want to state that there are SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS to become a trainer and a doula. It just isn't someone saying..."oh I think I will teach people how to be a doula" and they go out and do it. They are to be certified through DONA if they are to train other doula's that want to be certified. I was trained by a midwife/doula Kristi Ridd-Young who currently teaches and is the President at the Midwives College of Utah. I LOVE HER by the way! She was also my doula at my last birth.
While it is true that we can't and DON'T do anything clinical we are educated enough to know what the hospital procedures are and what the tests are. We are there to be an advocate for the mother AND father to help them have the most positive, gentle birth experience possible. We educate our clients to be an advocate for themselves too. To ask questions and to fully understand what the doctors and nurses are doing. To ask if it is completely necessary to have this procedure done. Women know their bodies, our bodies are meant to have babies. We just teach the mothers how to work with their bodies through labor. Not to be stuck in the bed, lying down and not having the option to help themselves and to work with the contractions. Which inhibits the process and can slow things down. When the nurses/dr see this they want to give you pit (pitocin) which makes the contractions stronger, then in turn making the pain sometimes unbearable, leading to epidurals which again slow things down, so they give you more pit, then the baby goes into fetal distress that sends you into a downward spiral of medical interventions that are sometimes unnecessary and can lead to C-sections. There are some instances when medical intervention is necessary so plan for that by talking to your doctor/midwife, study and be prepared for anything. Every labor/delivery is different. While childbirth isn't completely painless, doula's are the pain medication in a way. We are trained to know what the body is going through and help the mother with position changes, counter pressure, pressure points, and other methods of pain management. We not only help the mother, we help keep the father involved. Father's don't like to see their wives in pain, they are nervous and don't know what to do sometimes. We help them be a part of the process and make it a positive experience for him also.
I could go on and on about this subject. I just think that it takes one doula that has her own agenda to ruin it for the rest of us. Like the hospital in VA that has banned all doula's. I would be so sad to live in that area. We are in VA right now and women don't have a whole lot of choices for Dr's out here. There are two Dr's offices here where I am at. There are NO midwives here. The closest one is a little over an hour away. If we could educate people and get rid of all the fear that surrounds labor and birth; and let mothers know that there are other options for them to consider, more women would have more positive birth experiences.
I have had friends that have had one child with an epidural and one without(not by choice, but she went to fast). She told me that she liked the recovery process much more when she didn't have the epidural. I have had clients that have had it both ways and they say they will never get an epidural again. So for them, it must have made a difference to have that extra support person there. I can tell you from my own experience that I will never deliver another baby without a doula present. I had my first with a doula, my second without(didn't get on the ball fast enough). Even though I was a trained doula and I have been through it before, and had my husband there, I still felt like I needed that extra help. So for my third, as soon as I found out I was pregnant I called my doula trainer and asked her to be my doula. Just having her in the room although she might not have been doing anything was a comfort to me. I know I was much more relaxed and calm, knowing that if I needed her she was right there.
This is the reason I choose to labor and deliver as safely and naturally as I can...