6 Reasons to hire a doula if you plan to have an epidural
1. Labor support before you get to the hospital Most women spend some time laboring at home, be that pre-labor or early labor when you are still preparing to go to the hospital or before you have determined that it really is labor. If you plan on getting an epidural when you arrive to the hospital it may still take some time and the transition from home to hospital can be an exciting busy time. Your doula will help you transition from home to hospital, get checked in and admitted and then help keep you comfortable until your epidural arrives.
2. Support measures prior to, during, and after the epidural
It is a common misconception that “pain management in labor is the only reason to have a doula. A Doula also provides emotional and informational support throughout your entire pregnancy and birth. Before the epidural it is comforting to have someone there to explain the procedure and answer all of your questions. During the epidural administration can be difficult for some mothers as you have to stay completely still and still get through contractions during the administration. Your doula can help keep you comfortable during. Once the epidural is in place your doula will be there to keep you comfortable and able to rest, she can help you move when your position must change, and you may still need upper body massage during your epidural to stay rested and relieve emotional discomfort.
3. Support relaxing
An epidural is one of the many tools a mother can use during her labor and birth, it does provide excellent pain relief, however, it cannot take away the anxiety you may be feeling as the final stage of birth draws near. Your Doula will help keep you mentally relaxed and focused on having a positive, safe birth.
4. Positioning during labor and pushing
When you do not have an epidural you can follow your body’s lead about which position might be more comfortable. When you have an epidural this is much harder to do due to loss of feeling in your lower body. Doulas are knowledgeable in knowing how to help position you as well as using a peanut ball to help keep your labor progressing. When it comes time to push is when extra support is needed the most. A Doula can help hold one of your legs, help you as you learn how to direct your pushes and encourage you during this process.
5. Informational support
Your doula has experience in all things childbirth related. She can help you understand what is going on and explain everything as it happens to you. She can also help communicate your wishes to the nursing and medical staff as well as help you understand potential procedures your provider may suggest to help your labor and birth. You can ask your doula for help as you decide what decisions are best for you and your baby.
6. Support immediately postpartum
A lot goes on immediately after the baby has arrived. Sometimes it feels like all the attention goes right to baby, and sometimes it does. However, your doula will keep her focus on you and your needs. She can help you with skin-to-skin, if your plan is to breastfeed, she can help you initiate breastfeeding, she will explain all that is going on as it happens so that you know what is happening.