I get this question all of the time and I would honestly say that the answer is definitely, yes, you would still benefit by having a doula at your birth. While it's true that you'll have the "hang of it" second time around, no two births are alike.
You'll know the difference between a contraction and a cramp. You'll know when you're in active labor and if you've given birth vaginally, you'll know what those sensations feel like. But, you're not guaranteed to have the same exact birth you had round two, three or four.
A doula's function for second (and third and fourth) births definitely shifts a bit, and perhaps on baby #2 a doula is more of a want rather than a need. That said, sometimes you do need a support person who will be by your side throughout the entire process. Your partner may need another person to help hold you while they catch some zzz's, grab a bite to eat, or pee. You may be faced with interventions that you didn't encounter the first time around and you'll need someone in your corner who is clear-headed and can explain things that can, in the heights of labor, seem scary and foreign. Not to mention that your OB or midwife may be different the second time around or perhaps you're birthing in a different hospital or birthing center than you did at your first birth.
Lastly, the benefits of having a doula don't go away after the first birth. Having a doula still decreases your the likelihood have having an unplanned c-section and increases the likelihood that you have delayed cord clamping, immediate skin-to-skin with your newborn, higher nursing rates and all of the other proven feel goods that having a doula brings.
Hi there! I'm Erika Davis and I'm a doula working in the Seattle and South Puget Sound area.