A Doula is certified to help women during their labor and delivery. They provide the woman with emotional and physical support. They are not medical professionals and cannot take the place of nurses, doctors or midwives. Doulas are there to help the mother with anything she might need to make her labor and delivery more comfortable. Many women choose to get Doulas if they will like additional support whether it is because they just want more people cheering them on, they want to take the pressure off their partner, or maybe the mother doesn't have a support person in their room with them.
Doulas do cost money will most likely not be covered by your insurance. Doulas can cost anywhere from $500-$1500 depending on the organization and the experience of the Doula. My sister-in-law is a Doula and she said her organization costs about $725 for their services. When considering a Doula you must also take in account that extra cost.
You will be able to pick your Doula and you will get to interview them before making your decision. You can make sure that you can get somebody who is a perfect match for you and your needs. Your Doula will meet with you during your second and third trimester and they will help answer any questions you might have about labor and delivery. They will practice breathing techniques, help you understands labor procedures, and they will even help you develop a birth plan. During labor they can provide you with any comfort and support you may need. They are there to serve the mom-to-be. They will help you to relax, find a comfortable position, bring you water, help communicate with the medical staff and be there with you to calm you down through your anxieties.
So, the question, is a Doula worth it? It all is based on your preference and your family dynamic. In my opinion, I would not need a Doula. I don't like people talking to me during labor pains. I kind of shut down during contractions and I get in my head. I would get really annoyed if somebody was touching me or talking to me while in that much pain. Some women, on the other hand, like when people talk to them to get their mind off of the pain and the discomfort. I consider my husband to be my Doula. He is very supportive, knows that I like to be left alone and he also is there if I do need something from him. However, some women do not have a partner in the room with them, or they might not have a spouse who is very supportive through the birthing process. I know one woman who hired her Doula because her husband was not helpful through her birthing process.
Ever woman is different and so in order to decide whether or not you would like a Doula, you just have to think about if you will need a person who is solely responsible to provide you with support.