Top 8 Doula Myths

by Brood

Top 8 Myths about Postpartum & Birth Doulas

When you think of a doula, what do you picture? A middle-aged person with long graying hair, birkenstock clad feet, wafting of patchouli as they move through the room? Homemade salves clinging around in their hand woven purse, bought at a local farmers market? You might assume these care workers only support people who have home births, under the stars, on their homesteads, with no drugs or painkillers in sight. There are certainly doulas who might fit this description, but the most common professional doula is not that. Doulas are incredible caregivers, care workers and birth workers — providing evidence based guidance and support to all types of families and babies. To learn more about all the different types of doulas (yes, there’s many!) read this post.

In the meantime, Brood is here to dispel some of the most common myths about birth and postpartum doulas.

Myth #1 → Doulas replace partners during labor, birth and postpartum

False! Although a doula is an integral part of your care team, they do not replace anyone. In fact, doulas are there to support the whole family, including the birthing person and their partner(s). During prenatal visits, they get to know your partner(s) (and their preferences and boundaries for how they’d like to show up for the upcoming birth), to then tailor their care to include this newfound knowledge. As Emma always says “We are the experts on birth, and you are the expert on your partner! This makes us the perfect team for the labor journey we have ahead of us.”

Myth #2 → Doulas only support home births, and unmedicated births. 

False! Doulas support all types of birth and birthing people, from home births to hospital, hands-on or off, medicated or unmedicated, through to planned cesarean sections. Brood doulas walk beside and support you through your journey without bias and with evidence based support. An experienced and professional doula will support you with your birth plan and goals, regardless of how it compares to their own ideals.

Myth #3 → Doulas only focus on alternative medicine and spiritual guidance, with little regard for the medical system.

False! Doulas provide evidence-based (or science-based), compassionate care.  Evidence-based means their approach to medicine, education, and other disciplines emphasize the practical application of the best available and most current research (learn more here!). At Brood, we support our doulas by offering them additional mentorship, education and the most-up-to-date protocols to keep their care informed with modern care practices and modalities.

Myth #4 → Doulas are free and/or volunteers.

False! Community doulas tend to offer low barrier services to more marginalized populations and their direct communities. These doulas may be able to offer low to no cost services due to being grant funded, practicing birth work alongside another career, and/or partner(s) who support them financially. At Brood, we believe that doulas deserve to be paid a living wage — to maintain their well-being, and receive stability from longstanding careers in care work. In addition to the fact that resourced and supported doulas provide more stable and balanced care.

Myth #5 → All the best doulas are parents themselves.

False! Doulas come in all shapes and sizes, with different levels of experience, education, training, and lived expertise. Just like a nurse or doctor doesn’t have to be a parent (or patient) to be a good care provider, doulas don’t either!

Myth #6 → Doula care ends as soon as babies are born, or right after birth.

False! Doula care can begin as soon as you know you’re pregnant, while you are planning your birth, during your 3rd trimester, and well into your postpartum period, often as late as 6 to 9 months. Not all birth doulas are postpartum doulas, but some do both. Learn more about what support doulas provide here.

Myth #7 → A doula can replace a midwife or OB-GYN.

False! A doula is not a trained medical provider and doesn’t provide medical care. They offer emotional, physical and educational support, while working alongside midwives and OB-GYNs in all settings. Learn more about the differences between them here.

Myth #8  → If you’re having a cesarean you don’t need a doula.

False! All births deserve a birth doula — whether you’re having a planned or unplanned c-section, a doula can continue being a part of your care team. Not only can they help prepare you prenatally, craft a postpartum healing plan with your (and your support team!), they can also support you in the hospital and then during your recovery at home. Navigating house management (and your healing!), lactation (plus feeding your new baby) can be challenging after a major abdominal surgery, so having a doula postpartum can be an incredible support.

Emma is doing hip squeezes for a birthing person in a birthing pool
Still feeling on the fence about hiring a doula for your own pregnancy, birth or postpartum journey? Read Emma’s Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Doula now! 

As our friend, LC and doula Allie Mennie says, “A doula is someone who is there for you. The medicine is out of our scope, so we are there as someone supporting you and your partner. We make sure you’re fed and hydrated, you’re remembering to pee, your room/environment is calm and supportive for the birth process. We normalise the birth process if you’re feeling nervous or if your partner has questions, and before you even see your midwife or doctor, we’re normally there and deciding when it’s about time to head in to the hospital. The selling point for me is that doulas hire doulas.

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We work and live on the unceded and occupied territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. Since time immemorial, the original peoples of these lands have cared for their families and communities. We are committed to honouring their teachings, legacy and their sovereignty.

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