Is One Right for You?
To decide whether you should use a doula, first discuss with your husband how he feels about having another person around at this intimate time. "If spouses think they won't be able to handle labor well, they might want to consider a doula," says Lisa Masterson, MD, an obstetrician at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in Los Angeles, who works regularly with doulas. "When my daughter was born, my partner was there, but he didn't know what to do," says Angela Ferin, a mom from Brooklyn and a doula for five years. "The nurses were busy, and I needed some emotional support. I realized after the fact, 'Wow, that was hard.' Not only did I use a doula with my second child, but I became one as well."
If your partner wants to be involved during your labor, a doula can show him massage techniques and reassure him that everything's all right. If he doesn't think birth will be his time to shine, then the doula will take over, freeing him to encourage and comfort you.