How Can a Doula Help Me if I'm Getting an Epidural?

How Can a Doula Help Me if I'm Getting an Epidural? Authored by Sara Skiles


Maybe you have a physical condition that makes natural labor impossible. Maybe you are having a high-risk pregnancy. Or...maybe you just flat-out aren't interested in giving birth without an epidural.


Since you aren't going to do the whole birthing-with-the-dolphins-in-an-essential-oil-haze thing, you may be thinking that a doula isn't for you.


Get excited because: that's not true!


At Wichita Doula, we believe that everyone – not just one type of parent – can relish the magic of a doula. At the foundation of what we do is the knowledge that parents know best, that parents are smart, capable adults who can make good decisions for themselves and deserve to have support without being shamed or judged. With that being said, here are a few totally practical reasons why YOU totally want a doula at your epidural-supported birth.


1. You still deserve to be pampered in the way only a doula can.


It sometimes surprises people to hear that my job honestly doesn't change a whole lot when my client has an epidural. I still keep you hydrated. I still massage your hands, shoulders, and brush your hair. I still fetch cool cloths for your forehead. I still assure your partner that you're doing great and this is normal. I still do position changes with you in the bed. I still provide emotional support and verbal coaching and encouragement. I still bring a lighthearted, positive, energized feel to the room.


2. It might take some time for you to get your epidural.


Depending on the situation, you may not necessarily be able to order an epidural and get it placed immediately. You may wish to wait until the contractions become more painful. There may be emergency Cesareans going on where the staff is needed. You may not be dilated enough to be considered in active labor. It takes time to bring in the equipment and set it up. In any of these cases, you will enjoy gentle coaching, relaxation techniques, and physical support to help you manage the contractions until the anesthesiology team arrives.


3. Your spouse can still enjoy support.


We love to doula dads too. Giving him suggestions of ways to support you, and keeping him feeling informed and relaxed, help him feel totally confident in his role. Plus, he knows he never has to feel guilty for stepping out to eat or go to the bathroom because we'll be there with you the whole time.


4. Sometimes epidurals don't work.


I hate to even tell you this! It's not super common, but it can happen – epidurals sometimes fail and don't provide the promised relief. Or, they only provide pain relief on one side of your body. We don't want this to happen to you (and it probably won't), but on the off chance it does, we can help you.


The moral of the story? We love that you've picked an option that's right for you, and we're here to help fill your big day full of positive memories for both you and your partner.