Did you doula?

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Most women I know want a helping hand during birth -- a spouse, a partner, a mom, a sister, a friend -- someone who can hold a hand (or a leg), who's handy with a wet washcloth and ice chips, and who's an excellent cheerleader. Some women, though, want a person in the room who will take that role a step further and those women often turn to a doula for help.

A doula serves as an advocate for a laboring woman and helps her communicate with medical staff. She also may have the role of keeping a mother's birth plan on track, since it's easy to lose sight of your goals when the contractions set in. But according to this article from the NYT, having a doula in the room can occasionally cause discord and confusion over what medical interventions are actually necessary.

The problem seems to be when women choose a doula whose principles don't closely match their own. For instance, if you like the idea of a natural birth but aren't opposed to an epidural, you don't want to hire a doula whose life goal is for every woman to have a medication-free birth. It's an interesting read if you're considering hiring a doula, and may spark some questions that you want to ask while going through the hiring process.

Though I never hired a doula, I've heard many positive stories from women who did. Did you hire a doula? Was your experience a positive one? Would you do it again? Doulas -- what do you think about this NYT article?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.