Back to the basics: Are Doulas only for Natural Birth?

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Back in March during World Doula Week, we addressed one of the most common questions that we get as doulas: What is a doula? Is it like a midwife? 

Now that we've covered what a doula is and what a doula does, let's hone in a little on another common question:

Who should hire a doula? Are doulas only for natural birth?

A few other ways I've seen it asked is:

"Are doulas just for hippies?" 
"Do doulas only do homebirths?"

To put it simply, the answer is no.

At Louisville Area Doulas, and with any modern doula worth their salt, you'll find that we support any birth choice that parents make.

Period. No "only if"s. No "but"s. 

Many people are surprised to find out that the majority of our clients at Louisville Area Doulas choose to give birth in a hospital setting. Many have OBGYNs instead of midwives. Some have epidurals as a planned part of their birth experience. Some have c-sections.

We support them all. 

I've said it before on this blog: I don't really love the phrase "natural birth". It's vague and means different things depending on who you ask, plus it sets up a dichotomy that there's a right, correct, natural way to do things, and a wrong, incorrect, unnatural way to do things. 

So, no. Our doulas don't just support natural births, hippie births, or homebirths.

We support your birth. 

"Can doulas help if I want an epidural? Will my doula judge me if I change my mind?"

Doulas can support you whether you know for certain that you want an epidural, whether you're open to the possibility, or if you start off dead set against them and change your mind at some point.

We support you at home before you head to the hospital, and help you physically to get through contractions before the anesthesiologist arrives. 

We support you emotionally after the epidural is placed because you're having a baby and with that comes a lot of big emotions, feelings, and decisions.

We support you if getting an epidural is a change in plans, reminding you that your birth plan isn't etched in stone and it's not a failure to change course. 

"Can doulas help if I have a c-section? How can doulas help with me planned cesarean?"

Doulas can support you through your cesarean birth, whether it's planned, or decided on later electively or in an emergency.

Your doula can help you plan for your c-section throughout your pregnancy or in the moments before had.

Your doula can help you know you options for your c-section, from a clear drape to skin-to-skin in the OR.

Depending on your hospital's and doctor's policies and the situation, your doula may be able to go back to the operating room with you as a support person. She can stay with you while your partner attends to the baby if that's what you want.

Your doula can support you in your recovery from your c-section, both immediately in the hospital and after you return home. 

Doulas support you, and your birth choices. Period.