So what is a doula?
A doula is on your team.
She is there to massage your feet, help you maintain breathing techniques through contractions, answer all your questions, answer your partner’s questions, and bring you tea or water or ice chips.
She is on call to help you decipher whether those are Braxton-Hicks contractions or the real thing.
She can translate the medical terminology from your last OB visit that wasn’t quite clear, or explain to you in greater depth the reasons for, and processes of screening tests and your options therein.
Doulas support the hospital nursing staff by attending you non-stop to allow the nurses to perform their check-ins, tests, and charting tasks during labor. A doula helps your partner know how to best support you, and can help your partner know what kinds of questions to ask hospital staff if the unexpected arises. Doulas help to create an atmosphere of calm and encouragement for you, daddy, and baby to labor in.
A doula does not provide medical advice, perform physical exams, make decisions for you, negotiate with hospital staff, or catch your baby.
Benefits of doula support
Studies have shown that with doula support
Labor is often shortened by up to 25%
Cesarean rates are reduced by 45%
Synthetic Oxytocin (Pitocin) use is reduced by 40%
Instrumental deliveries are reduced by 41%
Pain medication (such as an Epidural) use is reduced by 28-30%
Women’s dissatisfaction with their birth experiences are decreased by 33%
Significantly less instance of Post-partum Depression and Anxiety, as well as higher self-esteem and greater parenting confidence.
Breastfeeding rates are significantly increased
Of course every mom, baby, and birth are different, and the above list is by no means a checklist of requirements for a successful birth. But if you have specific hopes for your birth, or would like to explore all the options for your birth, then a doula can be an incredibly valuable member of the team.
Humans thrive in communities where we are encouraged, supported, loved, and inspired. A doula brings an atmosphere of love, encouragement, support, peace, inspiration and joy into the home, hospital, or birthing center.