Busted!: The Top 5 Doula Myths

The scent of patchouli. Birkenstocks and long flowy skirts. The mind-set that doctors are money-hungry and cesarean-happy, that intervention-free births are the only “real” births, and that it is our job to save clients from themselves. While these descriptions do apply to some doulas, they don’t apply to our doulas. We’re not midwives. We don’t replace your spouse or partner, or nurse. We aren’t just for “natural” births. And we’re not your advocate.

Myth 1: Doulas are like midwives.

Perhaps the biggest misconception about doulas is that they “catch babies” or help deliver babies. The truth is that doulas are not medical professionals and the role of the midwife and the role of the doula are distinctly different. A midwife’s number one priority will always be the health of the birthing parent and baby. While some midwives do provide additional support, such as emotional and physical, their focus shifts to medical when needed. A doula’s role is always focused on providing emotional, physical, and mental support to the birthing parent and their partner, and it never shifts to medical. 

Myth 2: Doulas replace husbands/partners/family members. 

No. Nope. Never. Doulas can never replace husbands, partners, or family. The role of a professional doula is unique and complimentary. We know birth, and your husbands/partner knows you on a personal, intimate, and emotional level. We can show your husband/partner the best way to squeeze your hips during contractions, or the precise moment to start encouraging you to breathe, or give them a much needed break when labor is taking longer than expected. We support them too!

Myth 3: My labor and delivery nurse (or midwife) can be my doula.

While L&D nurses can—and sometimes do—provide emotional, physical, and mental support to laboring patients, their number one role is medical; the safety and health of their patients. Nurses are in and out of your room, and can rarely stay with one patient for the duration of their labor and often have several patients to tend to. Their focus is medical. Your doula is a constant support professional whose singular role is supporting you.

Myth 4: Doulas are only useful for natural births.

Having an unbiased, judgement free sounding board can be priceless when it comes to making decisions such as whether or not to schedule a cesarean or induction, or deciding to utilize other medical interventions such as pain medication. We provide the same level of continuous professional support no matter the birth. Doulas also provide support during pregnancy and postpartum recovery—we’re not just for for labor. 

Myth 5: Doulas are advocates.

Professional doulas do not speak on behalf of clients. We cannot be your voice. We will encourage you to speak for yourself by creating an environment you feel comfortable in, and by helping you figure out and formulate appropriate questions to ask providers. We can gently remind you of your goals and help you decide the best way to reach them, and help you understand your options so you can make your own choices. We want you to feel listened to. Supported. In control. Respected. 

Our professional doulas are ready to support you throughout your pregnancy, labor and postpartum recovery. Give us a call to schedule a time to discuss how we can support you!

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