doctors and midwives and doulas - oh my!
April 1, 2015 7:44 PM   Subscribe

I'm pregnant - do I really need a midwife or doula?

5 weeks pregnant, yay! Hadn't been wanting to get too invested in it in case it took longer than I hoped, so I hadn't done a ton of investigating into every little detail, like prenatal care... still processing.

Speaking of which, my family doctor told me she's closing her practice in July (boo!). Major disappointment. She says she's trying to find a female doctor to take on her patients but who knows if that will work out. I've applied to get another family doctor already. There are other avenues to get prenatal care in my city if my GP situation falls through, too. I'm seeing her next week for my first prenatal checkup and to get the low-down on the situation there.

My work-friend has been lauding the awesomeness of midwives, and she told me to apply for a midwife right away, so I did last week (4 wks!). Heard back from two groups, which told me I'm on their wait list. One mentions if I haven't heard back from them by week 20 (!?!?) then I ain't gettin' a midwife. Looking into it, midwives are so in-demand here that there is a very strong probability I won't get one. I've also applied for a doula this week though I'm less interested in that (I would feel more reassured with the medical training of a midwife), but again the demand is high enough to not get my hopes up.

Really, I'm feeling pretty chill about the whole pregnancy thing (for now anyway). Read Expecting Better, I have some apps on my phone, I know they offer prenatal yoga classes at my local studio, and I'm taking care of myself. And things may work out with the midwife or a doula.

Thing is, I've applied because I have to do it NOW - yet I don't know if midwife or a doula is really for me, I don't know what the experience is actually like. I'm not sure where my needs lie on the spectrum of medical expert vs. mother-like caregiver. Maybe I'd prefer just a doctor after all.

Are midwives and doulas the be-all, end-all of pregnancy? Is having continuous care from your family doctor so very essential? Be honest, especially you people with multiple children who have experienced variety in your prenatal care. Thanks!
posted by lizbunny to Health & Fitness (33 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Spend some time reading the skeptical ob blog before making an investment. It usually has links to primary sources, references to medical journals.
posted by Sophont at 8:02 PM on April 1, 2015 [3 favorites]

We got a great Doula (was the teacher in one of our birthing classes), and she was a tremendous help to my wife and me. In the hospital the nurses (and at the very end, the doc), will be there, but they tend to be doing rounds of 1 or 2 other rooms, but the rest of your time, you are on your own. Ours was a regular at the hospital, and knew were everything was (towels, extra pillows, blankets, etc, etc.), coached us, could run to grab ice or something else. A big help to both of us, an experience hand. I didn't have to leave my wife's side.
posted by nickggully at 8:04 PM on April 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm in Australia so there may be differences with your health system but I didn't bother too much with any of this. I saw a GP for my first confirmation-of-pregnancy-and-get-the-system-rolling appointment, then had all my other appointments through the outpatient clinic at my (public) maternity hospital. These were with midwives but I saw a different one every time - mostly they just listen to the baby and take your blood pressure anyway. During the labour I was with a midwife and then at the action stations bit she was joined by a Obstetrician and another older midwife. I hadn't met any of them before but they were all lovely, professional and everything went to plan. Australian public hospitals really push for drug free, low intervention births anyway. Congratulations!
posted by Wantok at 8:05 PM on April 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Here's what the vast majority of pregnancy- and childbirth-related questions boil down to: Will it make you feel better to do X?

Want a midwife? Get one. Don't want one? Can't? Oh well. Billions of children have been successfully had without them.

Doulas can be great, if you want a doula. So meet with one and see whether she makes you feel better about the process. If so, great, go for it. If she ends up making you feel even more stressed, then she's not for you (but maybe some other doula would be better for you).
posted by Etrigan at 8:05 PM on April 1, 2015 [8 favorites]

We had neither and went to a big practice where we ended up seeing a lot of doctors. We chose a really great hospital and when we went there we got amazing care from a team of brilliant nurses who essentially did everything. We barely saw a doctor. It was great. We were also lucky to be mostly complication free.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:08 PM on April 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Find a practice (midwife, doula or OB) that will let you do things how you want them. The practices we've used included full nurse-midwife staffs, but the last couple of kids were with a regular OB - we moved, and there were no midwife groups closely any more. In all cases (also free of complications), we were fortunate to find folks who respected her plans and desires regarding interventions, natural childbirth, and whatnot. You should get to call most of the shots.
posted by jquinby at 8:11 PM on April 1, 2015

I didn't have a doula for either of my pregnancies, but I did have a wonderful OB who I trust with my life (because she literally saved it, along with my oldest daughter). Hopefully you will have an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery, but my best advice is to find someone you TRUST so that if they end up making recommendations that go against your wishes, you can believe that it's in your best interest. With my first pregnancy I thought I wanted a doula/midwife combo and all that, but when things got bad, my OB was perfect and I'm glad I didn't have anyone else trying to remind me of my birth plan or anything like that (not saying that a doula would have done that; it was pretty clear that a c-section needed to happen, but I'm glad I didn't have that concern as a distraction). For my second pregnancy, I didn't consider anyone else but her. Since you will be looking for a new provider no matter what, apply like crazy and interview a few (or a lot) and go with someone you really feel a connection with.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 8:17 PM on April 1, 2015 [4 favorites]

For my first pregnancy I had a midwife (though it was part of a doctor's group) and honestly it was fine, but as I had some appointments with some of the other midwives in the group, due to scheduling, I will say the most important lesson I learned was that it's most important to feel comfortable with the person/group you choose.

For my second pregnancy, health issues required seeing a doctor instead, and if I had any concerns I would have hired a doula to be there with me, but I was comfortable enough with my care that I didn't feel it was necessary. A doula can be good if you don't have good support from either your medical provider or family/friends. One final point, unless you have a scheduled c-section you may easily end up with a different provider (if it's a group) at your birth, so keep that in mind when meeting with people.

Due to difficulty scheduling appointments, I met with several different midwives as part of my first pregnancy and soon discovered there was one midwife I actively disliked and became convinced that would end up being the one on call when I gave birth. Silly me, I ended up with all of them, as I was in labor over 3 shifts! Anyway, my point is that I was sure before I ever got pregnant that it was important to have a midwife, but I agree with many of the above posters that trust and good, supportive care trumps everything else.

Oh, and congratulations!
posted by dawg-proud at 8:37 PM on April 1, 2015

We also hired our birth class instructor as a doula and she was worth every penny. As was the class, it really made a difference in our knowledge and expectations about labor. Having her there took pressure off my husband, he felt like it wasn't just on him to support me and make decisions, etc. In the end I had a stalled labor, had to throw out our birth plan and ended up in an emergency c-sect, but she was a wonderful advocate and it was great to have her guidance as we had to give up piece by piece on our hopes to have an intervention free birth. She had a strong relationship with the hospital and the nurses, and it was clear there was a lot of mutual respect. At the same time she knew what was hospital policy and what was the nurses discretion, and so she could provide information to us that we wouldn't have otherwise had. The biggest example of this was that she told my husband that she knew the hospital sometimes let babies be in the recovery room with mothers after c-section, even though we were being told it couldn't happen. She couldn't ask for it on our behalf, but she could give my otherwise confrontation avoiding husband the exact words to push back and get it. (At least that how I understand it all went down, I was too exhausted and once I knew I was having surgery, anxious, to really understand everything that was happening)
posted by snowymorninblues at 8:41 PM on April 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

two kids: no midwives, no doulas, no problems.
posted by MattD at 9:06 PM on April 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

I had a standard hospital birth, albeit in a very mother-centric and crunchy town. I hired a doula because I wanted someone to be there for my husband. He's the best support for me, and if he were to be tired or unsure or needed someone to translate something from medicalese or tell him how normal some sort of intervention was, that would be helpful.

Also, there was no guarantee that I would have my usual OB. They told me very early on that there was a pool of doctors who would be on call, of whom my OB was one. So having consistency was good.

Luckily, I had a very quick labor -- the doctor on call didn't even get into the room in time, and the baby was delivered by nurses. My doula of choice was actually booked with another patient, as was a second-choice doula, so I got a THIRD doula from the local doula collective who was more granola than I wanted but still very nice and responsive. But because labor was so quick (and early), my husband had to run home at 2 in the morning to pack bags and bring them back to the hospital. So having a doula there to just hang out with me, when the nurses and doctors and my baby were gone, was really key.

Did I need a doula in the end? No. But I was glad I had someone with whom I could just talk things through beforehand -- especially because I ended up not even having time to do a birth plan -- and who knows if things would have gone haywire.
posted by St. Hubbins at 9:31 PM on April 1, 2015

I've had three babies.

Second & third, crusty old white guy OB in a really high-performing group. I rotated through all the OBs during prenatal care with my second, but one, so of course she delivered him. With my third I was in preterm not-labour (since he did hold on until 34 wks, bless him) so I got to stay on the antenatal floor. Both were delivered vaginally, my older son I was going to get an epidural placed because we thought we might end up with a fast c-section but he came really fast, so no. With my third I had no drugs, thinking what with all the preterm stuff he'd just fall out and the guy was sunny-side up.

The highly high tech team totally supported all my goals. I did not have a doula and I didn't miss having one.

My first OB was really natural leaning and we totally were on board with low-intervention. So was her team and she was not there for the delivery, the OB on call was and the nurses supported me in avoiding a c-section, even delaying paging him so that I could keep labouring! They were totally on board with my beliefs. Which is one of the 20 reasons my daughter ended up dying. first. I'm not anti competent midwife or doula, just saying good care is the be-all, not a particular philosophy.

The chances that will happen to you are tiny, but when asked about birth experiences I do share because "don't scare the pregnant lady" is how we end up with a cultural narrative that intervention is unremittingly bad. I still chose as outlined above for my next two, but I had a team that first and foremost was there in case it went to heck.
posted by warriorqueen at 9:35 PM on April 1, 2015 [15 favorites]

Our first child was with our family doctor who transferred us over to an obstetrician as she didn't work at the hospital we'd be delivering at. The quality of care from the doctor was fine but afterwards the hospital didn't do a proper job of making sure that our daughter was actually feeding before we were discharged and she ended up losing a lot of weight as a result. We had to go to emergency care, and then a lactation consultant to get her weight back on track. This caused a lot of unnecessary stress and driving around.

We had a midwife for our second child and my wife enjoyed the whole process more. Delivery was still in the hospital but we came home a couple of hours after that and the midwife came over every day to check up on her and the baby.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 9:37 PM on April 1, 2015

My first, I had with my regular family practice doctor in the hospital, no doula. It was fine! We actually had a situation present during crowning that had the potential to be a no-shit emergency (occult cord prolapse), but the doc handled it no problem, my baby was born pink and perfect and screaming her head off, it was a great first birth.

My second, I had with a midwife and a doula, at home. (We planned on going to the local freestanding birth center, but it was full.) It was fine! I had thought my first labor was fast, 4.5 hours stem to stern, but this one was shrieking fast at less than 90 minutes. Emphasis on the shrieking, too; the hospital is where they keep all the drugs, so unlike my first labor, I didn't have an epidural. Because of the intensity of that kind of precipitous labor, I was very glad to have my doula; I was doing hypnosis for labor managment (which helped a lot, truly) and she was very effective at keeping me in the place where that was useful to me.

Go with whatever you're comfortable with. I would really recommend a doula if you're shooting for an unmedicated birth, because that can get crazy and it's good to have someone who is specially trained to help you through it. The midwives you're going to get in Canada are all very highly trained (the equivalent of US certified nurse-midwives), and if you're delivering in a hospital, it probably boils down more to how comfortable you are with the individual rather than what their specific credentials are. But it really can be nice to have a doula, just because there is no normal in childbirth, just a lot of things that are OK, and it's very reassuring to have someone to guide you through those uncharted waters.
posted by KathrynT at 9:42 PM on April 1, 2015

I've only witnessed one birth. The midwife had official authority, but at times the doctor on call played a role. Ultimately, the midwife talked the hospital out of one intervention, and the hospital's doc talked her out of another. Neither was there for more than 20 consecutive minutes at any point during the 36 hours in question. The doula checked in by phone in the early part, and then came and stayed for the last 12 hours. She helped manage the support team while the patient was basically passed out (e.g., she told friends and family "things will be slow for a bit but she'll need you after that; it's a really good idea to get a bit of sleep right now if you can"). She understood what the patient was going through better than most people there and could translate or help her advocate for what she wanted. The advice we got was, find a doula with experience, but to that I'd add, find one you like and trust enough to have them around for those intense 12 hours.
posted by slidell at 11:29 PM on April 1, 2015

If I could do it over again, especially for my first baby, I would get a postpartum doula. That's a person whose job it is to coach and help you through those first weeks with your newborn.

A birth doula would not have helped at all with my baby's actual birth, which turned out to be an emergency C to save her life. Those four days in the hospital everyone treated me like a queen, anyway. But once I got home, a professional, knowledgeable coach for me and my husband would have been a HUGE huge help. And I would have been able to get recs from her on community resources which I otherwise had to wait years to discover on my own.
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:29 PM on April 1, 2015 [4 favorites]

By the way, you probably have time. We signed up with the doula we used near the end of the second trimester.
posted by slidell at 11:34 PM on April 1, 2015

I didn't hire a doula. Partly because I'd studied up on the hospital where I planned to deliver and they seemed very attentive and very in line with what I wanted, and partly because doulas seemed like they were for the kind of women who had specific, written birth plans, and I was just kind of "whatever, as long as the baby gets out." As it turned out, everyone at the hospital was fantastic and I had a great birth experience, and there weren't any complications where I was at odds with the OB or nurses. But that could have easily gone differently. If you're not confident that you'll get enough personal attention at the hospital where you plan to give birth, or if you think you'll need someone to run interference, hiring a doula is a good bet.

If you do hire a doula, make sure you choose one who you like and communicate well with, and who has experience with the team at the hospital/birth center where you plan to go. Meet with a few if you can.

I second fingersandtoes' advice about considering a postpartum doula, even if you don't have a birth doula. The first few days home from the hospital were kind of hairy, and although we got through them fine (and called the hospital nurse line like a hundred times), having a dedicated, experienced coach would have been a good experience.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:01 AM on April 2, 2015

Currently cooking number 2. With number 1, I started off my care with an OB then switched to a midwife at 25 weeks because I had planned on using a birthing center. On my due date I was diagnosed with pre E and could no longer use the birthing center and was back to using an OB.
Both were about the same as far as pregnancy management (I peed in a few more cups with the OB). This time we went straight for the OB just in case I develop any complications again. We have hired a Doula this time just for labor support in case myself or my husband run out of steam and need an extra cheerleader.
posted by MayNicholas at 4:21 AM on April 2, 2015

I've been pregnant three times (two miscarriages, now in my 18th week of my third pregnancy), I've seen OBs, APNs, midwives in various situations. With my first pregnancy, I made an appointment with an OB because I didn't think I could get a midwife (NJ is not great for natural birth). I hated every second of that appointment and left almost in tears. The OB herself was okay, I liked her personally well enough. BUT. The way she wanted to managed my pregnancy and birth was SO FAR from what I was interested in, that I felt trapped. During our twenty minute meeting, she managed to hassle me about my weight, about hemorrhoids (!!!), about my age (WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT THAT NOW?!?!! TIME TRAVEL?), and about the fact that I was really ambivalent about genetic testing.

I switched to a practice of midwives who deliver in a local hospital. They managed both of my miscarriages with kindness and sensitivity. They've managed this pregnancy the same way, answering my panicked questions and concerns, and best of all, NOT treating me like a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. I had to make an appointment with a maternal-fetal medicine doctor to do my twenty week ultrasound (due to my history of miscarriage, I don't disagree that this is necessary) and was immediately reminded of why I hate the approach of OBs when the nurse told me after five minutes that I was "high risk" and just generally made everything sound really dire and dramatic.

I need things to be handled in a low key, relaxed manner (unless there's an emergency, of course) or my anxiety goes through the ROOF. I don't appreciate being treated like a liability waiting to happen. I've found this with midwives, NOT with doctors. That's me, though.
posted by Aquifer at 5:26 AM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

First births tend to take longer, and a doula can be very helpful if you don't have family around to help. Get one who is very familiar with your hospital and has a relationship with the nurses and knows who the good ones are for maximum benefit.

A midwife is a preference thing. There are low-intervention OBs if that's what you're looking for, and midwives generally work with an OB to back them up, so finding the the right person is more important than what their title is.

In my experience, a postpartum doula is there to take care of you, while a baby nurse is focused on taking care of the child.
posted by snickerdoodle at 5:33 AM on April 2, 2015

That skeptical OB has an axe and a half to grind doesn’t she?

You’re in Canada, which has a pretty good track record for quality of midwife care I believe. The latest Cochrane reviews suggest that there’s no good evidence to be had as to whether birth location really affects outcomes for pregnancies pre-assessed as low risk (complications mean hospital is the place to be of course), so go with whatever makes you least stressed. My partner chose homebirths both times on this basis, but the UK is fairly accommodating & we were a fifteen minute drive from a major teaching hospital. In a different place she might have chosen otherwise.

If you go looking you’ll find horror stories about whichever choice you make!
posted by pharm at 5:37 AM on April 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Had an OB who I'd been seeing for years chew me out for asking too many questions at an early visit, so I switched to a midwife group. They have been much more receptive to questions and helpful and it's been a better fit for me, and I'm almost at the end of my pregnancy. I have no complications, however.

I filmed the birth of a friend at a water birthing center where she had her OB and doula present. The doula took care of her "shoulders and up" needs and took some emotional pressure off her husband. The OB was there for "shoulders and down" but wasn't really needed til the baby shot out as the birth was uncomplicated and swift.

I'll have a doula at my hospital birth with a midwife just so my husband won't have to deal alone.

Of the midwives in my group, all are open to whatever my wishes are, so no judgement if I want an epidural or a c-section, which is great. I'm still giving birth in a hospital but it won't be the scheduled c-section at 39 weeks my old doctor was planning for her convenience. I agree with people who say find someone who makes you feel at ease, doctor or midwife, and don't feel like you are stuck with any provider if you're not liking the experience. I would have been miserable if I hadn't switched.
posted by Locative at 5:38 AM on April 2, 2015

I didn't hire a doula, and personally, would never want a stranger, even a really nice one, in the room while I'm giving birth, except for the medical professionals. Not for me. But I didn't have a birth plan other than "get both of us out of this alive" and didn't care at all about my birth experience, I was just happy that the birth meant that I wasn't pregnant anymore (I think I was the crankiest pregnant lady ever). If I were going to do it again, though, I would take the money I'd save by not having a doula and instead hire a night nurse for one night a week for a couple of the first weeks. The newborn sleep deprivation made me almost lose my mind.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 6:15 AM on April 2, 2015 [4 favorites]

I'm in LA, and tons of people here use doulas. In my experience it's usually people who are transplants here for the purposes of work and don't have family nearby, or if they do have family nearby they feel that their family is not the right support system for the delivery room.

I briefly considered hiring a doula for my first delivery, but then we found out that my favorite aunt would be able to travel here to be with us for the birth. Like someone mentioned above, I was more concerned about having someone available to support my husband, especially in the event that things went south and I would need someone to make medical decisions on my behalf. If that had happened, my husband would have been too emotional and would have had difficulty listening to the doctors and making a decision.

(Protip: Doulas know all the OB's in town, so if you are trying to find a good OB, ask a doula. If one, or, as in my case, several doulas refuse to work with your OB, that's a bad bad sign, and you should look for a new OB stat. You can have this conversation with the doulas without ultimately hiring them).

As for midwives, I don't have much advice there as I chose to have a straight medical birth, but for my friends who intended to have a completely un-medicated birth, they were all universally happy with their various midwives.
posted by vignettist at 8:06 AM on April 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Hey! I'm a doula. I noticed in your question that you said you'd feel more comfortable with the medical training of a midwife, so I wanted to clarify a bit. You're right, doulas don't have medical training, but we also don't need medical training because we don't do anything medical. As someone said above, we're there for "shoulders and up" psychological support, as well as purely comfort measures from shoulders and down. A doula is the person who runs to get you a glass of water, massages your back, encourages you when you're getting down, will explain what's going on when medical staff fail to tell you what they're doing, can give you tips on how to get what you want in the hospital, and just hangs out and chats if you have a long labour. We also help out with breastfeeding initiation if that's part of your plan. A good doula will not impose her beliefs about childbirth--it should be all about what YOU want, 100%.

Doulas do the most heavy lifting in a couple of cases: a) going to the hospital, but determined to have a natural birth; b) no partner or family/friend support available during labour--even if you're planning an epidural, it's really valuable to have someone with you during labour, because medical folks will be in and out and you'll barely see them 'til babytime; or c) stuck with a doctor you don't get along with. If you fall into any of these categories, definitely get a doula. If you don't, a doula can still be really useful, but is less of a Must in my opinion. If you go with a midwife, you probably won't need a doula as well (unless you don't have a support person).

I don't know your city, but in general I think you can probably wait on the decision to hire a doula or not. You will likely be able to find someone up until the 20something week mark if not even later. Good doulas offer free consultation meetings, so you can have a chat and see if you like this person and agree with her approach. If you're still not sure a bit later on in your pregnancy, you could always have a couple of consultations and see how you feel.
posted by snorkmaiden at 9:00 AM on April 2, 2015 [6 favorites]

The best part about having a doula is that they adapt the process to what you need. I need constant information on what the situation is right now. I need to feel that there is a pro on hand who has seen it all and will willingly answer any question I might have. I need to not be touched if possible. I need someone to occupy my husband and answer his questions and advise him what to do. I need someone who will try out all methods with me including water birth and settle on what feels best to me.

Other women want something completely different.
posted by Omnomnom at 9:26 AM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Here's a great article from that describes what a doula does and how they can help.

Our first born was a hospital birth and the second was a home birth with two midwives and a doula. The home birth was such a positive experience that my wife was inspired to become a doula herself.
posted by Otis at 9:42 AM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I had a planned homebirth that went real sideways. So, in the great hospital I used, my midwifery had no privilege, but my experienced doula came along. I had a real long, scary delivery and our doula was the bridge we needed between doctors who frightened us a little and our (admittedly naive) belief that we could get through this if the docs just got off our backs. In the last hour, out doula negotiated a little extra time for attempting delivery while simultaneously sternly lecturing me that a csection was nothing to fight. I got my delivery, and my doula led a team of nine nurses, three doctors and a childbirth chiropractor in a rousing cheer.

So, if I had to do it over I would skip the midwifery because they sort of missed my kid's weird position. But I would hire the best possible doula available, no doubt.
posted by Pardon Our Dust at 10:24 AM on April 2, 2015

I loved having a doula for an in-hospital birth with an ob. There were complications, and I was induced, and many different methods of induction were tried when 60 hours later we finally went ahead with a c-section. My husband was also sick on his own and had to keep leaving for doctor appts and so forth. Thank goodness my doula was there to keep me calm and smiling through all of the procedures and the c-section. She did not stay through the entire 60 hours, but came every time they tried a new procedure even if it was putting a new drug in my IV line. If you want more info, email me.

We later moved and I had a second baby, with a scheduled c-section. Despite my c-section being scheduled, I still considered a doula, until my new ob told me that a doula wouldn't be allowed in the OR at the new hospital anyway! Or rather, I'd have to choose between husband or doula. Anyway, none of the medical professionals (doctors, nurses, midwives) are probably going to be there with you for the entire birth process. It's nice to have the continuity of care of a doula. Also, your doula may think of asking questions of the doctor or midwife that you don't have the mindspace for in the moment, and neither will your partner (if you have one; you didn't mention).

Many people think of doulas as some sort of touchy-feely thing, there to help you set up your aromatherapy or something, and they can be. It is important to interview doulas to find one that fits your personality if you decide you want to have on.

I think all of these choices are deeply personal.
posted by freezer cake at 12:39 PM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I hired a doula because I planned to give birth in a hospital that doesn't have a great reputation in regards to laboring mothers (no other options in the area), so I wanted back-up - plus I was worried my husband would be anxious and not very helpful. Turns out the doula was a HUMONGOUS help when I had a really weird labor and ended up giving birth at home.

I also switched from an ob practice to midwifery around 28 weeks, because I changed my mind about what I wanted - the plan had been to go to the midwifery birthing center. There weren't any midwives who delivered at the local hospital at the time.

Do what feels right for you. Do you want to give birth in a hospital with an epidural? Don't need a midwife or doula. Do you want to labor at home for as long as possible and give birth at a hospital with low interventions, or think you'll need more labor support than your partner can give? A doula would be very helpful. Don't want to step foot in a hospital? Midwife.
posted by Safiya at 12:46 PM on April 3, 2015

Thanks everyone for your comments, I'm definitely more open to a doula if the option presents itself. Just realized that my husband could potentially be on shift when I go into labor, and it would be VERY nice to have a reliable support person on-call when the time comes.
posted by lizbunny at 10:58 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Additional update: I'm having twins! Totally given up on the "I can do it myself" mindset - the more help the better! Hired a doula for childbirth post-partum, with lactation expertise.
posted by lizbunny at 11:34 AM on June 3, 2015 [6 favorites]

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