Why your nurse can’t be your doula

Printing of cardiogram report coming out from Electrocardiograph

Labor and delivery nurses are incredible people. They care for you during the most intimate time of your life- the day you birth your baby. While labor and delivery nurses are supportive and well trained, it’s important to understand that they aren’t your doula.. and here’s why.

  1. They are medical professionals tasked with taking care of more than one laboring patient, in most cases. They are in charge of fetal monitoring, checking your vitals, charting, and a slew of other things. Of course, they are supporting you, but it’s a different support than the continuous non-medical support of a doula.
  2. Nurses work in shifts, typically 8-12 hours long. In many cases, this means that you will have more than one nurse during your labor, birth, and immediate postpartum. We know that continuous labor support is in the best interest of the mother-baby dyad. Staying for your entire labor is usually not possible for nurses working shifts.
  3. The connection that you form with a doula is very different than the connection you’re able to form with a labor and delivery nurse. Most often, you won’t meet your labor nurse until the day you go in to birth your baby. You trust your nurse because she’s a trained medical professional, but you trust your doula because you’ve formed a trusting relationship with them.

The labor and delivery nurse is invaluable. Even the best nurses with labor support training usually can’t provide the level of emotional and physical support that a doula dedicated solely to you can provide. The role of a doula is different than the nurse’s role, and they certainly compliment each other.

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