What Doulas Do and Don't Do

What Doulas Don't Do

While it may sound like doulas do it all, it's important to understand what doulas don't do. Some of these things include:
  • They are not medical professionals and do not give medical advice or diagnose conditions
  • They will not perform physical exams or monitor fetal heart rates
  • They do not judge or criticize your decisions for your birth plan
  • They should not let their personal biases come in the way of caring for you -- don't let them pressure you into a decision
  • They do not replace the role of your husband or partner
  • They do not change shifts -- they are there by the mother's side continuously
  • They do not deliver the baby.
Although doulas do not provide the same services as a midwife or delivery nurse, they can provide that continuous emotional support that the healthcare team might not provide.

How Is a Doula Different From a Delivery Nurse?

The doula's job is to be continuously by the mother. The mother won't get any breaks during labor, and neither does the doula. The doula's primary role is to bring you continuous support during your labor. They should not leave your side.
Although delivery nurses are important in the birth of your child, they are different from doulas in several ways. The job of the delivery nurse is to communicate with your healthcare provider and help provide the proper care for your situation. However, these nurses usually have several other moms in labor, so they may be juggling several deliveries at once. And when the nurse's shift is up, so is their care for you.

I Don't Need a Doula -- I Have a Partner

Some women simply dismiss the thought of having a doula because they have a spouse or significant other who will be there with them during the delivery and postpartum time. While your partner is a vital part of your support system, they will also need to take breaks and eat or use the bathroom.
They may also only have limited knowledge of the whole process and what you are about to go through with childbirth. Doulas are not there to replace your partner, but to help everyone work together to give you the optimal care and support you need.
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