Should I Have My Mom or A Doula With Me For Labour?

Feeling deeply supported during labour is one of the hallmarks of a satisfying birth experience.  Choosing who is going to provide that support is an important process.

I ALWAYS advocate for what I call a “Plus One” which is one extra female in the room beside your partner.  Traditionally women have always given birth surrounded by other supportive women who they know and trust.  It’s only within our modern birth era that much of this has been lost.

Happily the days of husbands dropping wives off at the hospital and women birthing alone, have come to an end.  Increasing women are asking for and find the support they need to have the most positive birth experience possible.

My guidelines for choosing a “Plus One” are that they should be someone who makes you feel calm, and someone who believes in birth and believes in your ability to bring a baby into the world.

If you are trying to decide between having your mom or a doula be that “Plus One” here are some considerations.

The main question to ask is “What kind of energy will my mom bring to this birth?  Does my mom have strong opinions?  Will she be able to let things flow without her intervening?  Does she believe in the style of birthing that I’m preparing for?

I think it depends upon the mom (aka soon to be grandmother) and how willing she is to educate herself and open her mind to birthing gently.  This is especially true if you are using hypnobirthing techniques in your labour.  I know one grandmother whose own labours had been medicated, extremely long and ended with a forceps “delivery”.  So not those most positive experience.  Yet when this grandmother’s her daughter found herself pregnant with her second child, it was the grandmother who saw the Dateline program on hypnosis for birth and found HypnoBirthing online.  The daughter jumped on the idea of hypnobirthing, bought the book and CD and set about planning for a wonderful birth.  The grandma was more than happy to read the book, learn the language and be there as a support to her daughter and son-in-law.  It worked out beautifully.

Mothers are wonderful in labour and birth but only if they can stay calm and focused and not bring their own baggage into the room. Sometimes that is difficult for some Mothers to do with their daughters in labour, which can make the daughter tense, anxious and irritable, which is the last thing you need.

So if your mother can not be relied upon to be 100% onboard with the hypnobirthing and educated in how best to assist, then a doula will be a far better choice.  A grandmother might come with her own agenda.  The only agenda the doula should have is meeting the laboring mom’s needs.  Plus a doula has the advantage of being trained to provide labour support and the experience of been at many births.

Another nice option is to have both your mom and a doula as well.  Though you’ll need to check with your local hospital to be sure that they allow this.  Most do, but it’s good to check ahead of time.  If this is the case, then it’s important to make sure mom will feel comfortable with a doula as well.  The doula will have good intentions about birth, but if for some reason mom just doesn’t like the doula it can create a tense or strain environment in the labour room.

While you are making up your mind, have your mom read the HypnoBirthing book, and while she is doing that, you can interview some doulas. Then you will have a strong feeling about your mom’s commitment to supporting your birth choices as well as knowing if you’ve really clicked with a doula.

For any member of your birthing team, it is most important to have the chemistry right with the person you work with.  Doulas usually spend 2-4 hrs with the couples weeks before the birthing time so know the couple’s desires for birthing and how they want to be supported. Interviews are about 1/2 to one hr.  Once you have interviewed about 3 doulas you will know exactly which doula will be a special support for you. You may have a doula that has HypnoBirthing training.  Doula also make one or two visits postpartum to help with breastfeeding and postpartum needs.

My final piece of advice is go with your heart.  Find a quiet place and ask yourself these questions, listen to your body and go with your gut and instincts.  Trust yourself you’ll find the best answer for you.

Wishing you a very wonderful birthing day,


If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also like these two blog posts.

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No matter what type of birth you desire whether it be home, hospital, birth center, with or without medication….it is a common goal to want to labor less. Karen Bannan in the most recent issue of Parents Magazine (May 2009) wrote an article “Labor Less”. These various steps help pregnant mothers labor more smoothly. Coincidentally, these are all things that we teach about in HypnoBirthing® Childbirth Education Classes. I have listed the points and some others for consideration.  Keep Reading

Yoga Postures for Labour and Birth

In my prenatal yoga class, I am often asked if there are specific yoga postures that would be good to do use during labour.   The answer is a resounding yes.  There are quite a few really great yoga postures and movements that bring more comfort and ease to the birthing process.  Keep Reading

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