A doula is a woman who supports another woman and her birth partner during the birth process. She is there to support a woman physically and emotionally, collaborate with the healthcare team, and encourage and support the birth partner. She gives undivided attention to the mother, thus never leaving her side, while providing educated answers throughout the labor process. She is there to help with positioning, pain relief, massage and many other techniques such as hypnotherapy and aromatherapy.
There is a lot of great studies done on the outcomes of those who choose to hire a doula and this is why more and more women are choosing to work with a doula today.
- 50% reduction in the cesarean rate
- 25% shorter labor
- 60% reduction in epidural requests
- 40% reduction in oxytocin use
- 30% reduction in analgesia use
- 40% reduction in forceps delivery
I considered hiring a doula when I was pregnant with Paige but i had this notion that I only wanted my husband and I to be present during this special time. We looked into it but eventually decided against it as financially it wasn't feasible. Looking back I would have to say that my birth experience was amazing and went exactly how I wanted it to. I contribute that to several different factors. The main factor being that I was assigned a midwife and she never left my side. I didn't have to worry about getting a new midwife half way through as I wasn't laboring during a change of shift. She gave me her undivided attention and my mother-in-law (whom I invited to join us late in the game) reminded me that I focused on my midwife intently. She was my doula. I was also very fortunate to have a husband who was very actively involved. He felt every contraction with me, catered to my every need, breathed alongside me and even joined me in the tub for the entire 2 hours of pushing. Without all of these factors, the birth of my daughter could have very well been a different outcome.
I decided to become a doula because childbirth has always fascinated me. As a nurse I get to work with infants and their families, but it's often a very different situation when the babies are ill or premature. Being there to support a woman during one of her most vulnerable, fragile, life changing moments is a gift. Each birth I attend continues to amaze me as I see the transformation of a woman to a mother. To witness life firsthand is such a miracle and I look forward to many other lives that I hope to embrace.
All in all, I encourage everyone to research what a doula is and to explore the benefits to you and your family. It's important to get the laboring woman and her birth partner involved in the decision making as having everyone on board will reduce the amount of stress in the labor room and won't impede on the pending labor.
Women have been supporting women during childbirth since the beginning of time, it isn't until within the last half century that our current practices have started to take place. There is something to be said about having someone there who knows what you are experiencing and can lend a hand through her experience.
Below is a POWERFUL message from One World Birth!!!