Doula and Epidural – Can you have both?

There is a preconceived expectation of what Doulas are.

Spend even a little bit of time on Google and mommy bloggers will try to convince you that doulas are ‘Crunchier than thou’, ‘Hippies‘, and ‘Natural Birth Advocates’ that hate Epidurals.

Here’s the deal.

We don’t.

At Mid Kansas Doula Services, we don’t hate Epidurals at all. We actually appreciate the fact that many women are given the choice to have one. Whether you’ve already decided you want one, you’re on the fence, or you have a ‘wait and see’ mentality, we will support you.

Yes, you can have an Epidural and a doula at the same time! After all, doulas are your personal pregnancy and birth assistant.

Here is how we’ll help you if your birth plan includes an Epidural (or even if you never planned for one, but it ended up being the best option for you)

Before labor:

We will meet with you to discuss your expectations of this birth. How do you see everything unfolding? Do you have any questions about the process? Are there any last minute questions for the anesthesiologist that you want to jot down so you remember during labor?

Early labor:

We would LOVE to promise you that your hero in a white coat will arrive soon after the first contraction, but sadly that’s not usually the case. If you’re delivering in a hospital in Kansas, chances are your anesthesiologist will be driving upwards of an hour to get to you. It might be a great idea to ask your Doctor if the hospital you’ll be delivering at has an anesthesiologist on staff and if one is available 24/7. If not, find out about how much time it takes, on average for one to arrive. Also, ask your doctor beforehand if your hospital has any other requirements before placing the Epidural. Trust us, you’ll thank us for that bit of information later!

During early labor and while waiting on the Epidural to be given, your doula will help you with relaxation techniques. She can remind you to go pee often, keep moving (or rest, depending on Dr’s orders), and will help you and your husband through each contraction.

After the Epidural:

Once the Epidural catheter is placed, there is still so much that your doula can help you with! Chances are you won’t be able to get out of bed. Your doula will be there to help keep the tension in the room down (we are naturals at that). We will remind your partner to get something to eat and drink, and we’ll help keep the room quiet and peaceful enough for both of you to get some rest.

When you feel like you want to be doing something to help with the process, your doula can show you some pressure point tricks and we can even give you a few Oxytocin secrets. 😉

Time for Baby!

Once your cervix has dilated to 10 centimeters (roughly the size of a bagel) then you are ready to push!

Right before ‘push time’ your doula will ask you if you’re ready. What she means is are you mentally ready to start pushing? You can always ask for a little bit more time if mentally you’re just not there yet. Once your body and your head are ready, your partner and your doula will assume their positions. Typically you’ll have one support person on each side unless the nurses need to move your doula out of the way (totally ok with us if that happens, btw!).

Sometimes babies are born in a few pushes and sometimes it takes periods of pushing and resting to get your bundle here. The nurses will monitor you and baby closely to make sure everyone is handling pushing well. Your doula will be watching your partner for signs of fatigue and we’ll run and grab you anything you might need. Washcloths, ice chips, sheets to use for leverage, chap stick, hot packs, this list can go on for a while.

During the entire process, your doula will remind you that you are strong, you are beautiful and you are capable.

A doula is like having your own personal birth cheerleader, coach and kudos talker all wrapped into one. Whether you choose to labor with or without an Epidural, we will support you and we will be there.

Good luck on your upcoming labor, we know you’ll be amazing.