10 Common Birth Doula Misconceptions | Northwest PA Doulas

We have heard some pretty whacky myths about doulas. 

We want to clear up some of these myths, read on! 

1.) We only support moms wanting a "natural birth".

No way!! Our labor doulas support moms during scheduled cesareans, emergency cesareans, epidurals, all types of pain medications, inductions and everything in between. In fact, most of our clients choose to get an epidural at some point during their labor. We have plenty of tricks up our sleeves to keep things moving, to get baby to come down the birth canal and to keep the mom and her partner happy & comfortable! 

2.) We advocate for you. 

According to Google, the definition of advocate is someone who speaks or writes in favor of another person or cause. Not Northwest PA Doulas. We provide you with information, unbiased support and confidence so that if you feel something isn't the way you want it, you have the power to speak for yourself. (Or your trusted partner has that power.) We work cohesively and collaboratively with your care provider and nurses. They would think it was pretty weird if we spoke for the amazing, educated, empowered clients that hire us! 

3.) We don't wear tie dye and long skirts and smell like patchouli. 

While we do probably all own a skirt or two, we strive to maintain professional standards. The most "dressed down" you will see #nwpadoulas is in a branded t-shirt and athletic or yoga pants at a birth. Sometimes (read, most of the time), births require us to be in weird positions. We really need that ability to move that yoga pants provide. At your interview, prenatal or postpartum visits, we show up professionally dressed and have little to no scent. (Because everyone hates their baby smelling like someone else, right?!) 

4.) We will always show up. 

This is important to us. We've heard of some doulas who don't answer their phones, don't provide backup doulas if they can't make it or don't show up to a prenatal or postpartum visit. The only time we won't show up is if you choose not to have us. Once you sign our contract, we are on call 24/7, ready for your birth. We always follow up and keep you feeling supported. 

5.) We do not leave if you have receive an epidural or have a cesarean birth. 

No, no, no, no, no. If anything, we find moms utilize us more in these instances. Perhaps their plan has changed or a complication arose. Regardless of how or why it happens, the only time we will leave is if you request us to leave. We are happy to support all kinds of birth and realize that each type of birth presents many different obstacles and considerations. 

6.) We are still useful, even if you have a great partner. 

Speaking from personal experience, I have a great husband when it comes to him supporting me during birth. (Minus that time he spent a few contractions updating family on my labor progress and I could have smashed him.) Even then, for our second birth we decided to still hire a doula. Why? Because my husband is not an expert. He does the best he can but he doesn't know all of the logistics of why things are happening to me. He also has a deep emotional connection to me. I really found that I need someone who is nonjudgmental and supportive without knowing how I'd react in a normal day to day occurrence. 

7.) If you have a midwife, you don't need a doula. 

We LOVE midwives but they have a huge job when it comes to birth. Their number one goal is a healthy mom and healthy baby, medically. They want each birth to transpire as safely as possible. To achieve this, they need to keep an eye on the entire picture. Baby's heart rate, moms vitals, cervical change and more. They may insert some emotional support here and there but they prioritize medically evaluating you and baby. 

8.) I didn't hire a doula for my first birth. 

Some parents aren't sure they need a doula. Since they aren't convinced of the benefits, they decide that maybe the money should be spent somewhere else. Maybe they ended up having a traumatic experience, maybe Dad was a little more freaked out than anticipated, maybe they ended up having a great experience, maybe the care provider they loved moved. All we know is that this second birth, they want something different. We're happy to support you during any pregnancy, no matter how many experiences you've had prior! 

9.) Doulas are free before they are certified. 

All of our doulas are trained through ProDoula. ProDoula's intensive workshop allows doulas to start out working immediately after they attend the workshop. They do not believe in "shadowing" other doulas or charging a lesser fee. We agree. My double hip squeeze is never going to magically get better from the day I did it in training. My philosophy (nonjudgmental support) is never going to change. I was prepared for any type of birth immediately after and I still am today. A plumber doesn't finish school and then go unclog 10 toilets for free or low cost before he starts charging. We believe that the crazy on call schedule, the time away from our families, the long hours, the educational investment, the un-pumped breasts and the hunger in our tummies is worth our full fee. 

10.) We come only when you get to the hospital. 

Our clients are usually shocked when we let them know that, if they choose, we can meet them at their home during labor. If you need support early during your labor, know that we will see you through it. 


What else have you heard about birth doulas? 

Pennsylvania Logo