Some expectant families wonder why they might need a doula. They expect that their doctor or midwife will check on them frequently and the rest of the time they will be attended by a caring, gentle nurse.
What they discover quickly is that the doctor or midwife will make two or three appearances before the baby is born, and the nurse is there to ask questions, adjust monitors, do medical checks, and then she leaves the room to do charting and care for other patients – and mom and partner are left completely alone.
This is where the doula comes in – she can be the support you wanted or maybe the support you didn’t even know you needed.
And research shows that the continuous support a doula provides has proven benefits , such as:
- Decreased risk of cesarean by 28%
- Decreased use of epidurals by 9%
- Decreased use of Pitocin to speed labor by 31%
- Increased likelihood of spontaneous vaginal birth by 12%
Doulas achieve these benefits in several different ways. They help the family get the information they need to understand any medical procedures that might be suggested. They assist the mother with physical comfort measures to help her cope with the intensity of labor. Doulas also give much needed emotional support during one of the most transformative experiences a woman will go through in her life. And perhaps most valuable, doulas are there to provide insight into normal labor and how it progresses, reassuring the family that everything is going as it should.
And a doula does these things in order to help the mother have the kind of birth she is hoping to have. The doula does not interject her own ideas of what a “good birth” is but, instead, understands that each mother has her own wishes and dreams. The doula knows that a mother remembers the day of her baby’s birth for the rest of her life – and she wants it to be the best day of her life!
1 – Hodnett, E.D., Gates, S., Hofmeyr, G.J., Sakala, C., (2013). Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Issue 7, Art. No. CD003766. DOI: 10. 1002/14651858. CD003766.pub.
2 – Dekker, R. (2013, March 27). The Evidence for Doulas. Retrieved from: http://evidencebasedbirth.com/the-evidence-for-doulas/
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
— Christopher Robin
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