I wrote this list for a friend the other day, and I thought others might benefit from reading it. Our doula was wonderful, and I have no regrets about hiring her.
1) Being able to contact her (an extremely knowledgeable source for all things pregnancy and childbirth related) whenever. I know Andrew texted with her a lot when I was in early labor and she helped him to understand what kind of progress I was probably making.
2) The prenatal meetings. I honestly was stressed out about scheduling these at the time because it just felt like more to do, but in retrospect they were great. We had two and I liked getting to know her and having her reassure us that things were normal and help us think of things we hadn’t considered.
3) The help she gave us to think through our birth plan.
4) That she came to our house to be with me while Andrew went to the grocery store and installed the car seat so that I wouldn’t labor alone and helped us decide when we should go to the birth center. Again her vast experience of birth came into play here.
5) The position and comfort measure suggestions she made during labor (more of us using her knowledge!). She also made sure I stayed hydrated and nourished. And I think she cleaned out my puke bucket.
6) Having her help breastfeeding after Plum was born.
7) The postnatal visit. She brought curry and it was really awesome to have someone a little bit emotionally removed from the birth who could help us remember things and process and also reassure us that things were normal (like the baby refusing to sleep anywhere but on us)
8) The very positive feelings that I have about Plum’s birth. I can’t 100 percent credit the doula with this, but there is evidence that continuous labor support makes a birthing woman less likely to have negative feelings about childbirth.