I see and hear this question all the time: “I only have enough money for a doula or a childbirth class – which should I choose?” Easy answer: BOTH!
This is not my answer because I’m both a doula and a childbirth educator. It’s my answer because I truly believe you will have a better birth if you invest the time (and money) in BOTH a doula and an independent class. Here’s why:
1. An in-depth childbirth class (like a Birth Boot Camp class) gives you LOTS of information – much more than a doula can cover in one or two prenatal appointments. Your doula helps you remember all the information during the intensity of labor.
2. You’ll practice many comfort techniques in your childbirth class. BUT, your doula helps you personalize each one for you and your partner and helps you decide which ones do or don’t work for you.
3. Your class covers the importance of chiropractic care and exercise. Your doula can refer you to great chiropractors and will remind you to keep moving for you and your baby.
4. By taking a class, you and your partner learn the same information at the same time! (Instead of you reading all the books and highlighting a few paragraphs for him.) Your doula knows all that information (and more) and helps you work it into your preferences for your birth.
5. Your class gives your partner a clearly defined role with specific “how-tos” for labor and birth. Your doula supports him in his role (and helps him remember all.the.things) so he can support you even better!
6. Your class gives you provider and birth location “best practices” so you know what to look for in your care. Your doula has experience with MANY different providers and birth locations and can help you find one that matches your philosophy.
7. Your class prepares you for newborn care and breastfeeding. Your doula can give you hands-on support and guidance in those first moments and days of parenthood.
8. A class prepares your brain with knowledge and your heart with courage. Your doula reminds you of all the things you know when you can’t remember and bolsters your spirit when your courage seems spent.
Independent childbirth classes and doulas both improve your birth experience in completely different ways. Work a little overtime, sell some stuff you don’t use anymore, cut out the fancy coffees and get both! The investment in your birth will be worth it!