Doulas can be a fabulous addition to any birth team. They aren’t just for moms planning unmedicated births. They can play a very useful role in all births, including epidural assisted births and Cesareans. Read on to consider how a doula might make a difference for you.
Doulas are a great resource throughout pregnancy. They will listen to you, make helpful suggestions, and offer evidence based educational support. Due to their personal experiences, they are able to give advice and offer invaluable information regarding the various area hospitals and providers. They ultimately will help guide you in making good decisions to help you achieve the birth experience and outcome you desire.
Less need for pain medication Whether offering a comforting massage or counter pressure, encouraging a laboring mom to get into the warm shower, or creating an environment conducive to a peaceful birth, a doula is focused on bringing comfort and relief from the intensity of labor.
Doulas are advocates. A great doula will always be looking out for the best interests of both you and your baby. She is familiar with frequently used medical terminology and can help to navigate you through the uncertainties of labor. She will protect and preserve the intimacy of the laboring space by keeping distractions to a minimum.
Decreased rate of interventions – Doulas are experienced in helping a laboring mom avoid the need for unnecessary interventions which can increase her risk for a C-section. Evidence based studies have shown that the use of a doula can decrease a mom’s need for a C-section by up to 50%.
Shorter labor – A doula is aware that tension and fear can stall or lengthen labor. She is experienced in keeping a mom relaxed and at peace. Through comfort measures, position changes, and movement she further encourages labor progress.
Dads need doulas too! Most dads are not birth professionals. It’s a lot of pressure to ask a dad to be the mom’s sole support and to anticipate her needs throughout labor. A great doula will never take the place of Dad. She is aware that his emotional support is just as valuable as her professional support. She will offer guidance and will help him be the best support he can be to the laboring mom. Hiring a doula takes the pressure off Dad enabling him to more fully enjoy the birth of his child.
Nurses come and go. Doulas stay. Doulas offer continuous support when nurses simply aren’t able. There are some fantastic nurses, and their role is very valuable. However, due to a nurse’s many duties and the task of caring for multiple patients, his/her time with you may be very limited. Studies have shown that the actual amount of time an obstetrical nurse spends with a patient offering physical and emotional comfort as well as advocacy is around 6%. The doula is with you throughout labor and is focused on you and your comfort until and beyond the time you birth your baby. She has gotten to know you and is very familiar with your birth preferences. Hiring a doula guarantees you will have 24/7 support.
To sum it up, evidence has shown that having continuous labor support from a doula makes you statistically more likely to have a better outcome and a more positive birth experience. The goal of a great doula will always be that her client feels happy, confident, and well supported before, during, and after the birth of her child.