So, you say, 'doula' to some people and they look at you blankly. I was one of those people, before I embarked on this birthy journey. Questions that nearly everyone has are, 'what on earth is a doula?' and 'why would I need one?' Well evidence suggests there are many reasons, but my one question back is, why wouldn't you want your own cheerleader there throughout your antenatal, birth and postnatal period?
Once you get into it, it just makes sense.
To begin with, what does doula mean?
Doula (doo-la) comes from a Greek word, meaning, 'to serve the woman,' and that is exactly what we are there to do. We are professional birth workers who can provide the, 'three pillars of support,' physical, emotional and informational. Although we are not medical professionals and do not operate in a medical capacity, we are trained in childbirth, which enables us to support you to make informed decisions about the pregnancy and birth you desire. Doulas make a commitment to continous professional training, so, we can support you.
Doulas have no shift changes, no agenda to adhere to company policy or please providers. Our only prioirty is you and your family. We will be there, continually, from the moment you inform us, you are in labuor, until baby is earthside, and you are all settled.
Why would you want a doula?
Firstly, I would like to quote a pedeatrician resposible for researching the vital, 'Maternal-Infant bonding process,' straight after birth, "If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it" John H. Kennell, MD
We are a form of pain relief! Studies by (Hofmeyr, 1991), show that people with doula presence, during birth, request fewer epidurals. We can, 'buffer' you from the harshness of the medicalised environment, to allow your primal brain birth your baby, the way your body has always known how.
Research conducted for the Cochrane Report, suggests that continous support, during birth, found the folllowing outcomes:
- more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births;
- less likely to have any pain medication, including epidurals;
- less likely to have negative feelings about childbirth;
- less likely to require vacuum or forceps-assisted births;
- reduced need for cesarean section;
- average labours were shorter by about 40 minutes;
- babies were less likely to have low Apgar scores at birth.
If you are a numbers person, take a look at the following precentage outcomes; all found with the continous presence of a doula.
- 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin;
- 28% decrease in the risk of Cesarean;
- 12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth;
- 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience. (Bohren et al., 2017, Cochrane Report)
Why would you need a doula, if you have your partner?
Doulas are not there to take the place of your chosen birth partners. We are as much a support for them, as we are for you. Working with your birth partners, we want to empower them to feel conifdent, relaxed and informed in their ability to support for you. Reports suggest, partners feel more positive and satisified about birth outocmes, with the presence of a doula.
I am passionate that every woman should be entitled to the support of a doula, the evidence says it is worth it! First time mum, to seventh time mum; mum of twins; going for that VBAC/HBAC or electing a cesarean, my main priority is that you are empowered to make the decisions to birth and parent how you want- fully medicalised, by a river, under the moon, or anything in between- birth is your gig and on your terms!
If you think having a doula present during your pregnancy, birth and beyond, would be great for you, read a bit about me, and drop me a message, if you like the sound of it all.
Further research, on the effect of doulas, can be found here: https://evidencebasedbirth.com/the-evidence-for-doulas/