Here they are in all their over-sharing glory. Real reasons parents might not want to hire a doula.
1) "I already have a midwife, I don't need a doula."
While doulas and midwives may have similar approaches to labor and delivery, their roles are very different. Your midwife's goal and main focus is the health and safety of you and your baby. An excellent midwife may certainly have some of the same skills in her toolbox that a doula does, but often times she is too busy to use them. Her job is very important and requires all of her attention. Your midwife will be paying attention to many things at once, all centered around the health and safety of you and your baby. Most midwives cannot provide the care that a doula can- rubbing your back, holding ice packs for you, bringing you food, etc.. Additionally, a midwife may not arrive until you are well into your labor. A doula can arrive at any point in labor, even before you begin to dilate. Doulas provide a continuity of care for you throughout your pregnancy. She provides support in many ways even long before labor begins.
2) "I've done this before; I don't need one this time."
Sometimes moms may feel they understand birth after being through it once and assume that a birth team isn’t as necessary for subsequent pregnancies. Every birth has its own flow and personality though, as well as challenges or complications. It is my belief that you can never have too much support, and every woman deserves the care of a loving, educated doula.
3) "A doula will try to talk me out of drugs or judge me for getting any."
It is possible that your aunt's friend's mom's cousin had a doula who made her feel guilty for receiving pain meds. This is extremely unfortunate and frustrating for any doula to hear. As a doula, I support women with all types of labors. My personal goal is to provide care that is nonjudgmental and supportive of your needs and desires, whatever they may be. Sometimes this might mean reading your personal labor goals and mantras to you during labor and reminding you what your pre-determined values are. Other times this might mean holding your hand while you get an epidural the moment we step in the door to the hospital. I have absolutely no opinions about what your labor should look like, other than a happy mom and family. Which brings me to another common thought...
4) "I'm getting an epidural so there's nothing for a doula to do."
It is a common misconception that there is no support left to be done when a woman uses an epidural for pain relief. Doulas can be very helpful for women who receive pain relief! Doulas can help maintain a calm, quiet, atmosphere in the birth room allowing mom to relax and even sleep. She can recommend positions to speed up labor since epidurals often times slow down progress and she can provide tools to help this (such as a peanut ball). Women who have epidurals often times have little to no feeling, which can be hindering for the pushing stage of labor; a doula can offer encouragement to mom in pushing. The doula might offer ideas to help mom push more effectively such as holding a mirror so mom can see her progress.
5) "I'm having a planned C-section so I don't need a doula."
It is a common misconception that you do not need a doula for a cesarean birth. A doula can be a great help for all types of births. If you are having a planned C-section your doula will help you be as informed as possible about the surgery and the post-partum recovery. She can help you prepare by helping you write a birth plan especially designed for a cesarean. She can also answer questions or suggest ones to ask your caregiver about. Inside the operating room a doula will assist you by giving details of whatever you may wish to know. Once the baby is born a doula can stay with you during the long repair portion of the surgery which allows your partner to go with baby if he/she is taken to the warmer or nursery. A doula's presence can be very comforting at this time.
6) "My mom/sister/best friend is my doula."
I fully believe that having a trusting partner (who isn't your spouse) at your birth can be very helpful! For some women, it is even completely necessary. But your loved one is not your doula. Your doula has specialized training in birth and labor beyond what you may receive at a labor or birthing class. Additionally, your loved ones cannot be your doula simply because they love you; they cannot provide the same objective care that a doula can. A doula will ideally establish a strong, loving relationship with you but she will not be in love with you. Your doula will be able to see your pain as the normal process of labor, whereas your loved ones may not. Furthermore, a doula is there to serve you and your birth team. Many labors last between 24-48 hours- a long time for one or two people to take care of you. A doula can join your birth team to create a unified support system.
7) "Doulas don't come to hospital births."
Doulas help women birthing in all types of settings! The majority of my clients birth in hospital; I am very comfortable and confident providing support there. Doulas do not interfere with the medical team and are still there to support you and your family.
8) "A doula will take over the role of my husband."
The most important thing a woman needs during labor is continuous support. This means that you have someone by your side from start to finish. For very long or hard labors it is not realistic to expect one person to provide this continuous support. This is where doulas come in; when your husband is tired a doula can take his place for a bit while he naps. If he is hungry a doula can bring him food so he wont need to step away from you. If either of you need water or pillows or blankets a doula is there to help. Doulas help mom and dad. The role of the doula is never to take the place of husbands or partners in labor, but to compliment and enhance their experience. A doula can help remind Dad of pain coping techniques or other types of support. This takes a lot of pressure off of Dad. Dads and doulas work together! I encourage all expecting parents, including dads, to read about the doulas role and what it is like to have one at your birth.
9) "We’re taking a really good childbirth education class so we don't need a doula."
I usually recommend a childbirth education class to clients and think they can be a great help! But they don't take the place of a doula. Sometimes, in the midst of labor, it is easy to forget the things you learned in class. This is especially true for Dad who has a lot of responsibilities and worries at the time. A doula can help remind you of the things you learned in class and provide a small refresher if necessary.
10) "A doula will be overly peppy and annoying the whole time."
This a very serious concern with many families. The role of a doula is to provide support in whatever way you desire. Doulas have specialized training to know what to expect in childbirth. We have seen all types of labors. Some women enjoy active, vocal company while other moms prefer a quiet, serene room. Before your birth your doula will discuss what type of birth you think you will want and during the actual birth she will read social cues to know what kind of support you need. Doulas have been called "birthing cheerleaders" but I think the term is a bit vague seeing that cheerleaders don't physically help the players. I promise doulas are more helpful and less peppy than most cheerleaders, unless that is the support you need. ;)