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Cynthia FlynnAre Doulas Necessary?
by Cynthia Flynn, CNM, Ph.D.

Q. What is your opinion on doulas? I am 34 weeks pregnant, giving birth in a hospital in Northern California with a midwife. Doulas are gaining popularity and cost around $625. I'm trying to justify the cost; it is my second labor and my first was only 14 hours, no complications. I'm not sure about spending the money.

A. Do you have a midwife who will labor sit you (stay with you the whole time)? Do you have a supportive partner who has good labor support skills and who knows how to support you no matter how your labor/delivery goes? Are you giving birth in a place you know and which typically delivers babies the way you would like? Do you have someone to care for your other child if they want to be at the birth? Do you have a good photographer (not your partner) to take the pictures? If you can answer "yes" to all these questions, you may not need a doula. I train certified doulas in my area, and am one myself, so I am very supportive of doulas for most women. But some lucky women with supportive partners and good midwives, especially if they deliver in birth centers, don't need them.

And for those prices, I might quit paying malpractice insurance and come practice as a doula!

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